One highlight among the 2024 Pride Month festivities was the vibrant grand opening of the IE LGBTQ+ Center in Riverside, co-founded by our board vice chair, Jesse Melgar, Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes and TruEvolution CEO Gabriel Maldonado. Shown with Program Director Toi Thibodeaux (second from right).

June is Pride Month, and all across the region, we’ve seen a month-long celebration of our LGBTQ+ friends, neighbors, and relatives. IECF is proud to work with donors and organizations that work year-round to ensure that every member of our community has an opportunity to thrive. Take, for example, the new IE LGBTQ+ Center, which recently opened in Riverside. Co-founder and IECF board vice chair Jesse Melgar said, “It’s a space much needed in our region and one I wish I had growing up. Congrats to all who worked hard to realize this vision.”

The truth is, though, that when the celebrations end, many LGBTQ+ individuals will continue to face a steady stream of discrimination, impacting everything from housing to healthcare access. Social isolation amplifies mental health struggles, while legal hurdles add another layer of complexity. Despite this, the LGBTQ+ community demonstrates incredible resilience, and the Inland Empire is host to many dedicated organizations working tirelessly to create a more equitable and inclusive future where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

If you’ve been following IECF for a while, you know we’re strong proponents of the Vital Conditions Framework, which identifies seven core elements essential for individual and community well-being. The framework goes beyond basic necessities like healthcare and emphasizes the importance of factors like belonging, fair economic opportunity, and quality education.

Belonging is a Vital Condition

For all of us, and especially for marginalized groups like the LGBTQ+ community, the fundamental human need for belonging is a priority. A sense of belonging fosters the freedom to thrive and encourages self-acceptance and resilience. Belonging creates unity and strength, healing fractures within a community and enabling forward progress.

At IECF, we’re proud of our investments in organizations that lift up the LGBTQ+ community and enable belonging. Here are a few:

Harriet Mark received much-needed assistance from the L-Fund

The Margot Fund awarded a grant to The LGBTQ Center of the Desert for their food bank, which provides free groceries for local families and residents without fear of discrimination. The Center was also a recent recipient of a grant from the Build Coachella Valley Fund, an IECF Signature Fund.

The L-Fund came to the assistance of community member Harriet Mark after her wife passed away from COVID. The L-Fund works to create an inclusive and diverse community in which lesbians are provided a reliable resource for financial assistance, social engagement, and programs that enrich their lives.

The Safe Schools Desert Cities Fund grants scholarships to youth who have helped foster a positive self-image among their LGBTQ+ peers. Recently, Kyra Boyle received an award that will help her complete her Master’s Degree in Social Work so she can help youth who are dealing with mental trauma.

Safe Schools Desert Cities 2024 Scholarship Recipients

Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance received a grant to reduce barriers for LGBTQ+ children, youth and their families through the delivery of mobile behavioral health and wellness.

TruEvolution provides life-saving housing and healthcare services to members of the community, 80% of whom identify as LGBTQ+, including those living with HIV, youth transitioning out of the foster care system, and senior citizens.

As you read these stories, you’ll see that it’s our generous donors who ignite the potential for positive change. When it comes to charitable giving, IECF empowers our donors to give in personal, meaningful ways. For example, if you want your giving to have a specific focus, like supporting individual communities and organizations, a Donor Advised Fund allows you to do exactly that, turning good intentions into tangible results for a cause close to your heart. Maybe you envision a permanent legacy that supports a cause for generations to come. We can help you establish an endowed fund for perpetual giving, enabling a family mission that you, your children and grandchildren can participate in today and carry forward into the brighter future you imagined.

Find Your Path to Philanthropic Impact

IECF offers personalized guidance to help you choose the planned giving option that best aligns with your philanthropic goals. We can help you:

Develop a Strategic Giving Plan: Designate specific areas of focus within the community you wish to support.
Maximize Tax Benefits: Explore tax advantages associated with planned giving options.
Ensure Long-Term Impact: Whether through a DAF or endowed fund, your gift will continue to make a difference for years to come.

By creating an IECF DAF or endowed fund, you can play a vital role in creating a more inclusive and welcoming world – starting right here in your own backyard. Contact our Chief Development Officer, Brie Griset Smith, CSPG, to learn more about how you can invest to ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging.

Stay up to date on all the good work we’re doing through the power of philanthropy. Sign up for our eNewsletter, Philanthropy Matters, today.

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