Launched in May 2023, the LGBTQ+ Index is a groundbreaking tool that measures charitable giving to U.S. organizations serving the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ Index tracks the landscape of charitable organizations in the U.S. serving the LGBTQ+ community, including the amount of philanthropic support they receive from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
This page includes a link to a searchable database of organizations included in the LGBTQ+ Index; a research report, infographic, and case studies of LGBTQ+ organizations; key statistics from the research; a link to download the full list of LGBTQ+ Index organizations; and FAQs about the Index.
You can search the LGBTQ+ Index for organizations based on criteria like keyword, focus area, and geographic location.
LGBTQ+ organizations received approximately $560 million in philanthropic support in 2019, which made up 0.13% of overall charitable giving.
The LGBTQ+ Index contains 2,773 U.S. charitable organizations, which made up 0.20% of total registered charities in 2019.
Philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ organizations grew 46.3% from 2015 to 2019, nearly double the rate of non-LGBTQ+ organizations (24.9%).
LGBTQ+ organizations are smaller than non-LGBTQ+ organizations across several financial measures. For example, LGBTQ+ organizations held 14.7% of the average assets held by non-LGBTQ+ organizations in 2019.
Government grants made up a larger portion of total contributions to LGBTQ+ organizations (39.9%) compared with non-LGBTQ+ organizations (33.5%) in 2019.
LGBTQ+ organizations are diverse and widespread. LGBTQ+ organizations appear in every nonprofit subsector and at least four LGBTQ+ organizations exist in every U.S. state.
About half (52.8%) of philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ organizations goes to nonprofits whose missions include civil rights and advocacy.
Transgender-specific organizations saw some of the fastest growth in philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ organizations from 2015 to 2019, increasing by nearly 200% (194.4%) .
Held on June 7, 2023, this event included a brief presentation of the findings from the Index, followed by a panel discussion with funders and leaders of LGBTQ+ organizations.
The LGBTQ+ Index was developed by the the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. The school is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create lasting and positive change.
The LGBTQ+ Index was developed with funding from Google.org, as part of the Equitable Giving Lab.
The LGBTQ+ Index includes LGBTQ+ organizations identifiable from available IRS data on public charities. It focuses on being comprehensive of nonprofits active from 2012 to 2019, the most recent year for which more than 99% of finalized IRS data on charitable organizations was available as of December 2022. Previous or subsequent fiscal year information was used when 2019 data was unavailable.
Several data sources form the basis of the LGBTQ+ Index, the most important of which are e-file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data available on Amazon Web Services and irs.gov that provide details for 339,129 501(c)(3) public charities filing IRS Forms 990 and 990-EZ electronically for circa fiscal year 2019. These data were supplemented with 30,788 digitized Form 990 paper returns provided by Candid (formerly GuideStar) and 62,204 Form 990 and 990-EZ returns from IRS Return Transaction Files (RTF). For organizations not filing an IRS Form 990 or Form 990-EZ, a combination of 575,757 charitable organizations filing Form 990-N and 407,604 “non-filing” registered charitable organizations were used to gather further information on typically smaller and religious organizations, for a total population of 1,415,482 registered 501(c)(3) domestic charitable organizations. Non-filing organizations are defined as registered tax-exempt organizations that did not file any type of Form 990 between the fiscal years ending in 2017 and 2019, most of which are religion-related charitable organizations exempt from annual 990 filing requirements.
The LGBTQ+ Index includes data from eight years—2012 to 2019. Analyses in the inaugural LGBTQ+ Index report are based on the most recent five-year period from 2015 to 2019.
When data collection for the LGBTQ+ Index began in December 2022, 2019 was the most recent year for which more than 99% of finalized IRS data on charitable organizations was available.
To be included in the LGBTQ+ Index, nonprofits must be primarily dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community (with approximately 80% or more of program expenses serving this purpose for organizations that do not exclusively focus on the LGBTQ+ community).
This definition may seem straightforward, but measuring giving to the LGBTQ+ community is quite challenging since many charitable organizations have multiple programs that serve different populations. As such, the researchers exercised a certain degree of judgment in creating the LGBTQ+ Index. For example, to the extent possible, the researchers tried to target HIV/AIDS organizations that specifically serve the LGBTQ+ community for inclusion in the Index. However, available information on these organizations often made it challenging to make this distinction.
Informed by a review of the relevant literature and published organization listings, the researchers developed initial sets of inclusionary words and phrases (key words), exclusionary words and phrases (stop words), and other criteria to establish logical “rules” to identify potential organizations for the LGBTQ+ Index. Generating the final set of nearly 50 rules (from nearly 100 tested) was an iterative process. Initial rules were applied to organization names, mission statements, and other identifiers. Manual verification of a random sample of the results led to modification of the initial rules and the creation of new rules.
Following this process, the final set of rules was applied to the full population of 2,170,921 registered charitable organizations found in IRS Business Master Files (BMF) between 1989 and 2022, resulting in 4,104 LGBTQ+ organizations, 2,773 of which were registered during circa 2019 per BMF. In total, the researchers hand-checked 5,527 of the 8,758 potential LGBTQ+ organizations identified based on available information.
The final set of LGBTQ+ Index rules and their sequencing are available upon request. The rules generally fall into the following 17 categories (exclusionary rules not shown):
To measure philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ organizations, the direct support value was used for charitable organizations filing IRS Forms 990 (Part VIII, Lines 1b, 1c and 1f). Total contributions, gifts, and grants were used for organizations filing Form 990-EZ (Part I, Line 1). A direct contribution per organization estimate was used for those filing Forms 990-N (based on the average direct support value among Form 990 and Form 990-EZ filing organizations with less than $50,000 in revenue for the same filing year). No direct support estimate was used for non-filers.
Despite extensive effort, there are certain caveats to this research due to the subjective nature of identifying and classifying organizations dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as data and resource limitations. Organizations were primarily hand-checked for inclusion in the Index; manual verification for alignment with the specific rule categories was limited. The researchers expect error rates to be minimal, but this could potentially affect the accuracy of dollar estimates for the rule categories.
The datasets used to generate the LGBTQ+ Index focus on public charities; they do not include financial data on religious congregations or any data on private foundations. The Index tracks total philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ organizations; the data cannot be disaggregated by funding source (e.g., individuals, foundations, corporations). While some religious organizations are included in the LGBTQ+ Index, many do not have any available government data and therefore could not be checked for inclusion.
Although the researchers recognize the importance of intersectional identities, the data on LGBTQ+ organizations cannot be disaggregated based on more specific demographics (e.g., LGBTQ+ women and girls, LGBTQ+ individuals of color, LGBTQ+ veterans) at this time. However, work is currently underway to achieve this through the creation of additional indices as part of the Equitable Giving Lab.
Organizations may not appear in the WGI for a number of reasons. The most common reasons include:
If the above reasons do not apply to your organization and you believe it should be included in the LGBTQ+ Index, please contact email@example.com.
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy asks that the following citation accompany any use of the LGBTQ+ Index data or research: Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and DataLake Nonprofit Research. (2023). LGBTQ+ Index [Data file].