9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Youth (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Youth (Complete 2022 List)

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Olivia Lopez

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LGBTQ+ youth should be able to express themselves freely and without prejudice – just as everyone else. However, many LGBTQ+ youths endure bullying and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And with so many charities supporting young LGBTQ+ people, we had to ask: What are the best charities for LGBTQ+ youth?

The best charities for LGBTQ+ youth are the Trevor Project, PFLAG, and True Colors United. These charities provide a range of social services that support the needs of LGBTQ+ youth. They also advocate for LGBTQ+ rights on a national level and carry out initiatives that empower young LGBTQ+ people. 

Whether you want to volunteer for LGBTQ+ youth, advocate for their rights, or raise awareness on LGBTQ+ issues, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for LGBTQ+ youth are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Youth Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their commitment to helping LGBTQ+ youth, and the support they offer to young LGBTQ+ communities. They have great impact and transparency ratings, and are committed to the physical and mental wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth. They tackle many of the social issues LGBTQ+ youth encounter, including public discrimination.

These charities aim to aid and empower LGBTQ+ youth with their support services and programs. They also raise awareness on LGBTQ+ youth rights through advocacy campaigns and activism. They operate in the US, and they all share the same goal of promoting and defending the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for LGBTQ+ Youth

Below are our favorite charities for LGBTQ+ youth:

  • The Trevor Project
  • PFLAG
  • True Colors United
  • It Gets Better Project
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • The Ali Forney Center
  • Point Foundation
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • Matthew Shepard Foundation

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

The Trevor Project: Providing Crisis Intervention for LGBTQ+ Youth

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by Hollywood executives Peggy Rajski, Randy Stone, and Celeste Lecesne, to provide 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ+ youth. The organization was established in California and was inspired by a film the executives produced together, detailing the story of an LGBTQ+ boy named Trevor. When the Trevor Project was formalized, it became the first national crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youth in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Trevor Project has an outstanding 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar – the highest rank possible. 

To end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer – and questioning young people.

The Trevor Project

What they do: The Trevor Project serves as an international crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ+ youth. The organization trains volunteers to operate its crisis lifelines and respond to at-risk youth needing immediate assistance. They also perform groundbreaking research on the struggles of LGBTQ+ youth, and advocate for policy reforms to protect LGBTQ+ communities. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the Trevor Project has reached more than 300,000 people in over 100 countries with its TrevorSpace platform, a social media platform for LGBTQ+ youth to connect and communicate. For example, in 2020, they reached over 150,000 people through their crisis lifelines and services. In the same year, the Trevor Project also trained more than 780 volunteers to provide assistance to the LGBTQ+ youth contacting the crisis hotlines. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Trevor Project by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also support the organization by volunteering to help LGBTQ+ youth during times of crisis. In conjunction, the Trevor Project has a great online shop, where you can buy branded gear from its partners to show your support for the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth.

PFLAG: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Youth and Their Families

PFLAG was founded in 1972 by Jeanne Manford, an LGBTQ+ rights activist, as a support group for LGBTQ+ people and their families. The organization was initially established in New York after Manford participated in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March. The charity has since shortened their official name from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to PFLAG, to make their mission more inclusive. Today, PFLAG’s headquarters is based in Washington, D.C.

Their impact and transparency ratings: PFLAG has an incredible Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Similarly, PFLAG’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is showcased internally, as nearly 56% of their staff identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. 

To educate ourselves and our communities to speak up as advocates until all hearts and minds respect, value and affirm LGBTQ people.”

PFLAG

What they do: PFLAG protects LGBTQ+ rights through advocacy work and community-building programs. They aid the friends and families of LGBTQ+ people with supportive connections and resources through their localized chapters. PFLAG also provides resources and assistance to LGBTQ+ youth, enabling them to reach their full potential

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, PFLAG has acquired more than 250,000 members and supporters across over 400 chapters in the US. Internationally, they have affiliates in more than 10 countries, including Jamaica, Vietnam, and Spain. PFLAG also offers thousands of dollars worth of academic scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth and allies that participate in their communities and raise awareness for LGBTQ+ rights. Their scholarship program distributes financial aid and resources to students in more than 15 US. states

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to PFLAG by donating through the organization’s website. 

True Colors United: Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth By Reducing Homelessness

True Colors United was founded in 2008 by Cindi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, Johnny Podell, and Gregory Lewis, to combat homelessness amongst LGBTQ+ youth. The founders toured several homeless shelters and saw that many lacked resources and support services that catered to LGBTQ+ youth. Today, True Colors United’s main office is based in New York.

Their impact and transparency ratings: True Colors United holds an overall score of 94 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, they spent approximately 89% of their income on advocacy programs and services. 

To ensure LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness have access to the inclusive and affirming services they need.

True Colors United

What they do: True Colors United works to eradicate homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth through advocacy campaigns. The organization also provides educational training to promote diversity, inclusion, and raise awareness on the issues LGBTQ+ youth face, especially homelessness and isolation. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, True Colors United has reached more than 2,239 people with their educational training programs. They have also implemented community action plans to decrease LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in 4 US states, including Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. For example, in 2019, they supported LGBTQ+ cultural inclusivity workshops that reached nearly 300 people.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to True Colors United by donating directly through the charity’s website.

It Gets Better Project: Empowering LGBTQ+ Youth Through Storytelling

The It Gets Better Project was founded in 2010 by Dan Savage, a journalist and LGBTQ+ rights activist, and his partner Terry Miller. They established the organization to provide guided support to LGBTQ+ youth. They also aimed to prevent crises and suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. Today, the organization operates as a digital charity, and promotes LGBTQ+ equality across social media platforms using digital campaigns. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The It Gets Better Project has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, they spent nearly 86% of their income on LGBTQ+ youth empowerment programs and services.  

To uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.

It Gets Better Project

What they do: The It Gets Better Project promotes the rights of LGBTQ+ youth through advocacy and digital awareness-raising campaigns. They use social media tools to share the stories of LGBTQ+ people, while also encouraging community support. They also offer educational training and assistance to grassroots organizations advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the It Gets Better Project has reached over 1 million youth across more than 20 countries, including the US, Mexico, and India. For example, in 2019, the organization engaged more than 3,000 students worldwide in their educational programming. In the same year, they provided training to 750 educators on how they can uplift LGBTQ+ people and share LGBTQ+ stories for greater inclusiveness.  

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the It Gets Better Project by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also show your support by purchasing some branded gear from their online shop, and all proceeds will go towards helping LGBTQ+ youth.

National Center for Transgender Equality: Defending Transgender Youth Rights

The National Center for Transgender Equality was founded in 2003 by Mara Keisling, a transgender rights activist. Keisling created the organization to tackle trans discrimination and advocate for policy changes. The organization was established in Washington, D.C. to implement direct policy changes in the nation’s capital, and is still headquartered there today.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The National Center for Transgender Equality has a 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 93 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.  

To change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.

National Center for Transgender Equality

What they do: The National Center for Transgender Equality defends trans rights, including trans youth rights, by challenging harmful policies and legislation that affect the trans community. They promote trans equality through advocacy campaigns, and carry out extensive legal research. They also push for more trans inclusion on local and national levels. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Center for Transgender Equality has worked on several issues affecting trans youth, such as hate crimes, bullying, and discrimination in schools. For example, in 2018, they fought against 5 bills that sought to restrict trans people, including trans youth, from fair access to bathrooms. In the same year, they partnered with 3 trans activists and influencers to increase voter turnout among trans voters, such as young trans voters. They also helped pass gender attestation policies in 3 US states, including Nevada and Minnesota.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the National Center for Transgender Equality by donating via their website. You can also take action by participating in their action centers to raise awareness on trans rights. 

The Ali Forney Center: Caring for Vulnerable LGBTQ+ Youth

The Ali Forney Center was founded in 2002 by Carl Siciliano, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, to provide comprehensive housing support to homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Siciliano established the charity in New York City and named the organization after Ali Forney, a gender non-conforming youth who was later murdered on the streets in 1997. Today, the organization operates centers across New York City and provides safeguarding services to vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Ali Forney Center has a Finance and Accountability score of 85 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have an impressive Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, nearly 73% of their income was spent on LGBTQ+ youth programs and services. 

To protect LGBTQ+ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.

The Ali Forney Center

What they do: The Ali Forney Center supports homeless LGBTQ+ youth with livelihood resources, such as food and shelter. They also offer medical assistance, educational support, and job readiness training to empower youth and prepare them for the future. Their centers are spread across New York City and are open to at-risk and vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth that need emergency assistance or immediate care. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Ali Forney Center has provided homelessness and aid services to more than 2,000 youth. They offer approximately 58 beds in furnished apartments and enable youth to gain independence as they transition out of the apartments. Within their programs, they have also managed to deliver over 300,000 meals to homeless LGBTQ+ youth across 18 centers in New York City. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Ali Forney Center by donating directly through their website. You can also show your support by volunteering with the organization’s drop-in center, or by providing fundraising or administrative assistance.

Point Foundation: Empowering LGBTQ+ Youth With Academic Opportunities

The Point Foundation was founded in 2001 to provide financial assistance and mentorship to LGBTQ+ students. They awarded their first scholarships in 2002, offering 8 LGBTQ+ students the opportunity to seek higher education. Since then, they’ve expanded to offer dozens of scholarships to LGBTQ+ students across the US and have assisted in community service projects with each of their recipients. Today, the organization has offices in New York and California. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Point Foundation holds an Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also receives immense public support from sponsors to promote LGBTQ+ equality. For example, in 2020, they received event support from various high-profile sponsors, including Google and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

To empower promising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential.

Point Foundation

What they do: The Point Foundation provides academic funding to LGBTQ+ students to achieve their goals. Through the mentorship program, the Point Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ youth to become leaders in their communities, as they’re able to learn unique skills and organize community service projects. They also offer support, guidance, and resources to their scholarship recipients, encouraging them to reach their academic and professional potential. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the Point Foundation has provided more than 500 scholarships to LGBTQ+ students. For example, in 2020, they provided financial aid, academic mentorship, and leadership training to 134 LGBTQ+ students. Of those students, 71% are people of color, while 49% are first-generation college attendees. Then, in 2021, they gave another 389 academic scholarships to LGBTQ+ students. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Point Foundation by donating directly through their website. You can also show your support by attending one of their virtual events.

National Center for Lesbian Rights: Raising Awareness for LGBTQ+ Youth

The National Center for Lesbian Rights was founded in 1977 by Donna Hitchens, to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community’s civil rights. Hitchens was determined to challenge and change existing legal frameworks, and wanted to ensure that LGBTQ+ people’s rights would be protected. Today, they operate throughout the US and have their headquarters based in San Francisco, California

Their impact and transparency ratings:The National Center for Lesbian Rights holds an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2020, they spent nearly 70% of their income on their programs and services.  

Through public education, training, policy advocacy and litigation, NCLR works to ensure that all LGBTQ youth are safe.

National Center for Lesbian Rights

What they do: The National Center for Lesbian Rights advocates for LGBTQ+ equality through impact litigation and policy changes. They aim to educate the public on LGBTQ+ rights, and offer social and legal support services to LGBTQ+ individuals in need, including LGBTQ+ youth. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has assisted with more than 400 immigration cases for members of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2020, they defended LGBTQ+ youth by helping ban conversion therapy practices in 20 US states and 85 jurisdictions. In the same year, they also received and attended to approximately 1500 calls through their helpline. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the National Center for Lesbian Rights by donating through their website. You can also show your support by becoming an NCLR ambassador, volunteering your time, or by taking action and advocating for their causes.

Matthew Shepard Foundation: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth Equality

The Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded in 1998 by Judy and Dennis Shepard, to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and prevent hate crimes. The Shepards started the organization after their son, Matthew, was tragically killed in a hate crime motivated by his sexual orientation. Today, the organization is based in Denver, Colorado, and continues to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality across the US. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Matthew Shepard Foundation holds a Finance and Accountability score of 88 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. For example, in 2020, nearly 64% of their income was spent on their advocacy programs.

To inspire individuals, organizations, and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all people.

Matthew Shepard Foundation

What they do: The Matthew Shepard Foundation strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, including youth, by combatting violence and hate crimes. They carry out a range of awareness-raising initiatives, such as trainings and advocacy programs, to ensure that leaders and policymakers are able to detect discrimination and tackle it accordingly. The charity’s founders also partake in public presentations to share their son’s experience with discrimination, and encourage others to take action. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, the Matthew Shepard Foundation has provided Hate Crime Prevention Trainings to more than 1,400 law enforcement offices in over 40 US cities. For example, in 2020, they delivered 49 advocacy presentations to raise awareness of Matthew Shepard’s story and the obstacles many LGBTQ+ youth face.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Matthew Shepard Foundation by donating directly through the organization’s website.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for LGBTQ+ youth. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Brittany



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Olivia Lopez

Olivia loves to research and write about all things related to social justice. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and has worked and interned with a number of NGOs, including the UN. When she’s not writing, she likes to take her dog for walks, cook Mexican food, and learn new languages.

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