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Broward Pride: A Report to the Community

5/1/2018
 
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The Community Foundation invited more than 50 residents (LGBT and straight) to participate in a series of community conversations in the summer and fall of 2017. Our goal was to understand the challenges facing our LGBT neighbors so that we can strategically focus philanthropic resources in ways that best serve this growing community.

The community conversations revealed a dominant theme: There is still pervasive discrimination and stigma that harms well-being, health, and economic security for Broward’s LGBT residents. Bias and misunderstanding often prevent them from accessing basic resources and opportunities afforded to others. To receive quality healthcare, maintain a job, or find adequate housing, our LGBT neighbors must often hide their sexual orientation.

While this experience is shared across age groups, the LGBT community expressed overwhelming concern for the most vulnerable among them: the youth and the elderly. Because of bullying, job discrimination, and family rejection, LGBT adolescents in Broward are prone to homelessness, substance abuse, and depression. Many fall into human trafficking or turn to sex work to survive. At this critical stage in their lives, LGBT youth lack a safety-net that recognizes and addresses their unique challenges. This may explain why LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBT peers.

For many older LGBT residents, the usual challenges of aging are compounded by stigma, exclusion, and lack of a family structure for support. LGBT seniors often avoid seeking medical care and other critical assistance because they feel unwelcome. As a result, many of our LGBT elders suffer in isolation instead of aging with dignity.

Inequity and discrimination have no place in a vibrant and inclusive society. That’s why the Community Foundation has included “Broward Pride” as one of our top 10 Issues that Matter. The community conversations helped the Foundation rethink our approach to creating a more inclusive and accepting Broward.

We asked ourselves:
  • Should all organizations take greater care to recognize and address the unique issues facing LGBT residents, and ensure programs, services, and outreach are proactively promoted as being available to all - regardless of sexual orientation?
  • Should non-LGBT focused organizations be encouraged to broaden their services to more directly include LGBT residents, changing the way they think and support our entire community?
  • Can the gaps in critical services be addressed through existing programs and be scalable to avoid duplication of services?
The answer to all three questions is YES!

Thirty-four organizations responded to our recent Broward Pride request for proposals. Five innovative pilot programs were awarded grants totaling $300,000. They represent LGBT-focused organizations, as well as mainstream organizations redefining their culture by taking steps to better serve LGBT residents. These are significant grants the Foundation believes will make Broward a place where all residents feel accepted and included. That’s the kind of community we all want and deserve. It is both our honor and responsibility to stand in solidarity with our LGBT neighbors

Read the entire Broward Pride Report to the Community

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Broward County Inspiring Philanthropy over 25 years