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The Alliance for Global Equality: Round One Grantmaking Reflections






Alliance Team at Outright International
Published Date

In 2022, Outright International launched the Alliance for Global Equality (Alliance), a unique five-year collaboration led by Outright in partnership with the Victory Institute to advance LGBTQI+ human rights and political, social, and economic inclusion worldwide. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds the Alliance, with additional private funding from the Oak Foundation and Dreilinden. The centerpiece of the Alliance’s work is grantmaking to LGBTQI+-led organizations in nearly 20 countries seeking to build organizational resilience in the wake of global and local shocks and stressors, and to protect against future crises. In addition to lifesaving community services, these organizations work at the forefront of democratic advancement by advocating for equitable and inclusive governance and social inclusion. 

To date, the Alliance has issued two Requests for Applications (RFAs) for grants of up to $20,000 for 12 months. Approximately two RFAs will be issued per year for the remaining four years of the program. At least 25 percent of the grants will be issued to transgender- or intersex-led organizations. As of March 2024, the Alliance provided 39 grants in 16 countries, totaling nearly $800,000. This article describes the Alliance’s first round of grantmaking. 

Round One: Strengthening LGBTQI+ organizational resilience and movement infrastructure in the face of relentless pressure

The first call for applications took place in March 2023 and focused on bolstering organizational resilience and movement infrastructure. Outright received more than 65 requests for funding that sought to address a range of organizational challenges. For example, economic downturns caused partly by COVID-19 continue to impact the LGBTQI+ movement. Inflation, currency fluctuations, and reduced donor funding have led to reduced service delivery, difficulty paying bills, and staff burnout and departures. In some cases, COVID-19 tragically caused staff reductions at a time when demand for services was increasing. One applicant from South Africa reported a nine-fold increase in requests for emergency support. Others described a need to shift from advocacy work to emergency services due to emerging humanitarian crises, which their staff were not always equipped to handle. Multiple applicants cited climate change-induced flooding that resulted in lost office space and service cuts. Finally, several applicants requested support to bolster safety and security planning and protocols, as well as funding to address staff well-being, due, in part, to the rise in authoritarianism in several countries and the closing of civil society space. 

These shocks are in addition to the well-known, unremitting stressors that LGBTQI+ organizations typically face. These include safety and security threats from others in their communities, regressive laws and deteriorating legal or political environments, social stigma and exclusion, difficulties with legal registration, and state oppression and abuse of power that leave staff and offices vulnerable to violence and closure. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, some countries have passed or are on the brink of passing laws that undermine the human rights of LGBTQI+ people. Although not all have been signed into law, the deliberative process to date of proposing these discriminatory laws has further inflamed homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination against LGBTQI+ communities. This has resulted in increases in blackmail, extortion, arbitrary arrests, so-called corrective rape and sexual violence, home and school evictions, and death threats, according to submitted grant applications.

In addition to providing direct and targeted support to LGBTQI+ organizations, the Alliance seeks to gain and share insights into which aspects of resilience can be strengthened through this grantmaking model. We also seek to understand the funding landscape for LGBTQI+ civil society and community-based service organizations in Alliance countries and whether and how Alliance investments can help stimulate improved access to funding for national and local movements. In addition, together with our grantee partners, we seek to enhance our understanding of the needs and challenges in prioritizing wellness. 

Many applicant organizations identified a strong need to protect their staff and volunteers through safety and security training and wellness support. Digital safety, in particular, is a much greater concern since COVID-19 increased the uptake of online service delivery and outreach. Applicants also sought funding to strengthen their core governance capacities, such as conducting analyses that can support organizational strategic development and improved decision-making during times of crisis. To alleviate technical capacity challenges, some applicants sought assistance in this area (i.e., advocacy, monitoring, and evaluation, etc.) and network-building with relevant service providers. They also frequently requested funding to develop or update staff manuals to improve organizational management. At the same time, most applicants identified fundraising needs, and many requested core funding, especially for salaries and office rent. After a careful selection process, the Alliance funded 18 grants in 13 countries.

Strengthening Core Governance


Building Financial Resilience


Improving Volunteer Retention

A Suriname-based partner will hire a consultant to lead a participatory SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis with community members and peers in the Caribbean. The findings will help them to develop an updated strategic plan. The partner anticipates this will help focus their operational and technical activities and improve decision-making in times of crisis.


A partner in West Africa will provide fundraising training to 10 LGBTIQ organizations. In parallel, they will develop a secure platform for sharing information about funding opportunities across a network of 20+ organizations. The grant is built on a vision of solidarity and building financial resilience across the movement within the country. 


A Fiji-based partner will develop wellness activities and build professional capacity to address mental health and crisis response among volunteer staff.
By the end of the project this partner will seek to improve volunteer retention, a critical source of staffing for their work.

Positive Impact of Round One Funding

We anticipate that improved resilience outcomes will become evident in both day-to-day responses to ongoing systemic stressors and in the face of unexpected shocks. The grant support the Alliance is providing to the three organizations highlighted above (and others) strengthens their ability to continue providing lifesaving services and advocacy work to their communities, directly contributing to the Alliance’s objective of bolstering organizational resilience. The Alliance anticipates that lessons learned in Round One will inform our grantmaking in future rounds. Among the many questions we aim to answer will be what can be realistically achieved with small grants, the pros and cons of different safety and security approaches, and how to build resilience in anticipation of a foreseeable crisis. We also strive to document the impact of supporting volunteers, what makes strategic plans effective, good practices in developing manuals, and how to build core governance capacity.  Above all, we aim to understand how to maximize the sustainability and usefulness of this support.

We are excited about the diverse organizations these grants have assisted thus far. Alliance partners all receive grants of roughly the same size. They reflect a wide range of organizational sizes (from those with few to no paid staff to those with both paid and volunteer staff), regions (Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific, and West and Sub-Saharan Africa), and degrees of development (some have relatively few formal structures in place while others have human resource systems, strategic plans, and annual budgets). By collaborating with such a broad range of groups, the Alliance is well-positioned to comprehensively support and grow local and regional LGBTQI+ movements.

When the Alliance’s Round One partners finalize their grants this summer, the Alliance team will be keen to learn what is working and how we can best support LGBTQI+ movements and their priorities in the face of ongoing global and national dynamics that continue to pose threats to our communities everywhere. Stay tuned for our reflections and recommendations for supporting these vital organizations!


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