This article originally appeared in the Desert Sun, January 2022.

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 L-Fund was founded in 2012 to offer financial assistance to lesbians by Barbara Carpenter, Bobreta Franklin, Ruth Debra, Sharon Siegel, Kate Ullman, and Betty Berrysmith. In the early years of The L-Fund, the founders gathered together once a month socially, each placing $20 into a basket for assisting lesbians. The first L-Fund request assisted a lesbian with $120 for critical life-saving medicine. At that time, an envelope of cash was brought to the lesbian in crisis by a board member she did not know, and her assistance was kept confidential.

Today, The L-Fund still provides funding for lesbians in the greater Coachella Valley in financial crisis and also provides educational grants for older lesbians looking to be more financially secure as well as young students. The organization also provides grants within the arts community and for health and wellness.

“We grew from an organization that provided financial assistant into the rest,” said the organization’s treasurer, Dr. Jan Alden. “When we achieve our mission, we end up changing lives. It could be as basic as preventing homeless to as broad as providing educational development.”

One of the organization’s most recent recipients never imagined she would be in a position to receive help from the L-Fund. Harriet Marks and her wife Madge dedicated much of their lives to helping the LGBTQ Community. Both women contracted COVID-19 and Madge passed away. Harriet faced more than grief. She took a bad fall that required 30 stitches on her head, damaging her teeth and destroying her eyeglasses. Then while she was changing nursing homes, she lost her hearing aids. The L-Fund purchased Harriet new hearing aids and eyeglasses through their Health & Wellness Fund. Harriet said she could not even begin to say what it meant to her.

“By helping any member of our community, we are helping the entire community,” Alden said. “Lesbians are the daughters, mothers, and sisters of those of us who live in the community.”

Recently, the L-Fund received a grant from the Coachella Valley Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation to support its programming. The all-volunteer organization is completely funded by grants and individual contributions. Much of the organization depends on fundraisers, which have been canceled or downsized during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization always welcomes donations.

“Our ideal would be if we had 100 people that could give $100 a month,” Alden said. “That would provide a source of stability that would create a foundation to build capacity.”

Community members who want to support the organization can attend two upcoming fundraisers. On Feb 9, 2022, there will be a fundraiser at the Runway from 5-8:30 with comedian Mina Hartong. On Mar 26, 2022, the organization will hold an evening gala event “Starlight Soiree” at a private home in Rancho Mirage. Those interested can reach out to the organization, check their website for updates, and sign up for their newsletter.

Alden encourages the community to share information about the L-Fund and the assistance it provides and said that there are many people who are unfamiliar with the work of the organization. She also believes there are many more lesbians the L-Fund could help. The organization continues to maintain the anonymity of those it assists, only sharing their stories with permission. Lesbians who would like to see if the L-Fund can help them can start the application process through a simple form on their website.

“All of the members of L-Fund are incredibly grateful for all the support we receive,” Alden said. “For as difficult as it might be for a lesbian or young queer nonbinary woman to ask for help, our process is gentle and supportive. So, please ask for help.”

More information: https://l-fund.org/ or  (760) 304-8487

Photos:
L-Fund at Palm Spring Pride 2021
Harriet Marks, recipient of L-Fund Assistance