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Gender Equity

Bright Spot: The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and LGBTQ Inclusion

This "Bright Spot" shares a point of progress as part of Leading Edge's Gender Equity in Leadership Project.

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies have demonstrated how funders can influence nonprofits to make change regarding DEI goals. 

In 2010, Schusterman announced that they would only consider funding organizations that have formal non-discrimination policies covering both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression explicitly. Schusterman believed that adopting formal non-discrimination policies — and ensuring their implementation — would help achieve two goals: 1) indicate to LGBTQ individuals that the Jewish community is committed to full LGBTQ belonging and equality; and 2) help communal institutions and organizations walk the talk when it comes to creating spaces that are welcoming and inclusive.

Schusterman strove to make it a positive and not a punitive experience. They provided support to grantees, working with them where needed to develop their policies. They offered specific templates of inclusion policies along with coaching and consulting to help organizations change and/or implement their policies. By translating this goal into a concrete grant prerequisite and offering supportive resources, Schusterman not only influenced the organizations they funded, but also every organization who viewed their application requirements. They also encouraged other funders to do the same.

As Lynn Schusterman wrote at the time, “This work is vital to the health and vibrancy of the American Jewish future … [We must] forge a culture in which inclusivity, diversity and equality are paramount, and in which LGBT Jews are embraced as full and vital members of the Jewish family at home, at work and in every aspect of communal life.”

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