June 11, 2020
As a foundation based in the South, the Laughing Gull Foundation lifts our voices to join with others around the world in declaring that Black Lives Matter. The scourge of racism embedded in this country must be rooted out, and a new course must be charted. That is what the protests of today demand, and we stand with you.
We are outraged and grieved by the murders of George Floyd, David McAtee, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery — and far too many other Black people — killed at the hands of racism, violence, and injustice.
We are appalled by how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color due to systemic racism in our health care institutions, environment, and places of work.
We join in solidarity with the protests and vigils across the country coming together in outrage, lament, and rebellion.
We denounce the ways that the philanthropic sector is complicit in racism, and we commit to the long-haul work of healing, justice, and reparation.
We commit to ongoing examination of our complicity in a system that perpetuates racist violence – ideologically, interpersonally, institutionally, and culturally.
We name that the accumulation of wealth that enabled the creation of the Laughing Gull Foundation could not have happened without systemic racism and white supremacy.
Our country’s failure to reckon with and make reparations for centuries of exploitation and dehumanization gives us (and others in philanthropy) an urgent responsibility and opportunity. We must acknowledge this rupture to humanity and work to repair the breach with all the means we have available. We must be guided by the leadership of people of color and those closest to the pain and impact of racialized violence in this country.
At LGF, we are listening to our grantees and others on the frontlines and adjusting our grantmaking based on their wisdom. Commitments we have made so far in 2020 include:
Increasing our payout to support immediate needs in LGBTQ communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID -19;
Making new grants to address the unconscionable impact of COVID-19 on people who are incarcerated and returning citizens;
Sustaining our practice of offering multi-year, general operating grants;
Continuing to spend out at least 10% of our assets as we have done in past years;
Joining a public call to commit to at least a 10% payout over the next three years; and
Remaining steadfast in our commitment to redistribute all of the assets of the foundation on a twenty-year timeline.
We will continue to listen and respond over the next months, and we look forward to being in conversation and collaboration with many of you. It will take all of us working together to achieve the change necessary to repair the breach.
Midge Coward (Board Chair) & Hez Norton (Executive Director)
On behalf of LGF Board & Staff