Community foundation for gay causes opens in South Florida

By : Staff Report
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Fort Lauderdale – Finally, South Florida’s transgender youths bullied at school will have better resources. Same-sex couples sidelined at an assisted living center can get help. Hispanic people living with HIV/AIDS can get educated about the disease and artists focusing on LGBT themes will have an advocate helping them display their work.

This is all thanks to Fort Lauderdale accountant Anthony Timiraos, who is working with nonprofits to meet the increasing demand for their services.

Timiraos is the founder of Our Fund, the area’s first community foundation for gay causes, which isn’t as common as one might think but has already given $1.3 million to non-profits serving the LGBT community.
“I always say, ‘You need to take care of your own, because no one is going to do it for you,'” Timiraos told the Sun-Sentinel. “Unless the gay community steps up, it won’t be taken care of.”

In its three years of existence, Our Fund has already toped $3.4 million, hired a full time employee and opened its first public office in Wilton Manors.

South Florida, of course, has a lot of money available to various causes, including LGBT issues. But according to the paper, surveys show many have never funded local nonprofits serving LGBTs because they were unaware of the nonprofits nearby. That’s mostly due to how many new residents move to South Florida each year and are simply still learning what organizations exist.

Our Fund hopes to change that. It has just published a booklet of local nonprofits serving the gay community, also available on its website, Our-Fund.org. Plus, it has started a networking program for younger professionals, iGive Network, that pools donations from gifts starting at $10 per month.

In general, Our Fund reaches out to potential donors, explaining that a community foundation offers tax benefits and can accept property, stocks, bonds and other gifts to investment funds and not only cash for donations now.

“The really big role for community foundations is legacy giving,” making donations from a fund after one’s death, Timiraos said.

The seed for Our Fund was planted when Timiraos worked at the Community Foundation of Broward. He said that foundation helped donors set up funds, invest the money and then funnel it to charitable causes.

He was well aware that traditional foundations alone were not meeting the funding needs of nonprofits for LGBTs. Of every $100 granted by U.S. foundations, just 26 cents went to programs focused on the LGBT community, according to a study by LGBTQ Funders, a nonprofit that examined 383 foundations.

There are five different focal points for Our Fund: arts and culture, health and education, women, seniors, and youth.

In all, Our Fund reported nearly $1.1 million in revenues, almost $548,000 in grants and programs, and $1.6 million in net assets for the year ended June 30, 2013. It expects grants to top $700,000 this year.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” Timiraos said. “It takes nurturing.”

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