MCF member PFund Foundation, a community foundation that advances social justice for LGBT communities in the Upper Midwest, has released a new report called Notes from the Road. Foundation representatives spent 18 months traveling across the Upper Midwest to hold 13 “listening sessions” where they heard directly from members of LGBT communities.
What’s on their minds? Some of the report highlights include:
- Creating a regional identity. These communities are cultivating relationships and sharing resources with others in the Midwest. Many suggested a regular regional convening or conference.
- Exploring differences. Some bisexual and transgender participants felt that despite being part of the LGBT label, they are not fully included in their local LGBT communities. Another common thread was racial diversity: how to build relationships across multiple identities, and how white-led LGBT organizations can be accountable to communities of color.
- Isolation. There are challenges to staying connected in rural areas, and too few regularly scheduled meetings to foster a sense of community in these areas.
- Same-sex marriage. Much of the conversation focused on how involvement in politics can be both a unifying and divisive force.
- Infrastructure. There is a strong need to maintain meeting spaces, support paid staff, build comprehensive databases and implement communications strategies. Many LGBT leaders in the region are looking to develop better fundraising skills and seek new ways to raise money.
The report concludes by stressing the importance of Upper Midwest LGBT communities directing money, time and resources to building lasting relationships with each other.