The HOPE Fund

Special Opportunity

The HOPE Fund (Helping Others through Partnerships and Education) was created to strengthen organizations and projects that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and families, through targeted grantmaking, projects and technical assistance.

Celebrating 25 years of permanent, positive change in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re just getting started…


The Howards (featured in the video) were both born and raised in Detroit. They agreed to participate in the video because they believe in the power of giving back and funding resources for the LGBTQ+ community.

We have to pay attention and understand the times we live in. It is all of our responsibility to make the world a better place for those who come after us like Miss Ruth Ellis. We have to be the change and the FUNDER of the change we want to support in our community.” ~ Tigg Howard


In 1994, concerned civic leaders collaborated with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to confront a challenge. The LGBTQ+ community — from youth to seniors — desperately lacked essential human and social services. Few mainstream agencies offered LGBT-friendly programs, while LGBT-led organizations were underfunded and understaffed.

In response, The HOPE Fund was created as a grantmaking and technical assistance program to focus on strengthening organizations and projects that serve the LGBTQ+ community. In 1995, a pivotal $43,000 challenge grant was received from the national Funders for LGBTQ Issues that helped to launch the initiative.

In the two decades since its inception, generous contributors have invested more than $3 million to support The HOPE Fund endowment, its grantmaking program, and related efforts such as the Racial Equality Initiative.

To date, more than 155 grants have been distributed, resulting in a more responsive, creative array of services, programs and organizations for southeast Michigan’s LGBT community.

The HOPE Fund is the first partnership in Michigan between the LGBT community and a significant, mainstream philanthropic foundation. It is a key information-provider nationally, particularly on issues of estate planning for LGBT families. Agencies serving the LGBT community have used HOPE Fund grants as leverage for applying to additional private and public funders.

This unique structure within the Community Foundation benefits the LGBT community by providing:

  • Support for capacity-building for LGBT agencies which leads to increased efficiency internally
  • Support for efforts involving two or more agencies that serve the LGBT community to collaborate in meaningful ways, leading to more efficiency and impact in the community
  • Support for efforts that eliminate duplication of services by the nonprofit community
  • Support for efforts that increase the effectiveness, voice and visibility of the LGBT community in the state of Michigan


The HOPE Fund Committee is a dedicated group of community leaders and advocates. They are responsible for fund development efforts, and serve as advisors for the grant applications that are submitted.


Allan D. Gilmour
Patrick R. Jakeway


Sabin D. Blake
Mark D. Blanke
Karen C. Brown
Stacey E. Cassis
Derek E. Daniels
Julian Diaz
Brenda S. Donaldson
Gilbert M. Frimet
Henry M. Grix
Howard W. Israel
Nancy S. Katz
Glenn F. Kossick
Michael C. Mok
Elizabeth A. Niblock
Shane Pliska
Faye Schuett
Linda Stechison
Jan R. Stevenson
Father Anthony P. Sulkowski Jr.
Suzanne K. Wait
Thomas P. Wilczak

Stay Connected with The HOPE Fund

Questions? Feel free to contact

Surabhi Pandit
Senior Program Officer
313.961.6675, ext. 123
Contact Surabhi for grant-related questions



Emily Angyal
Philanthropic Services Officer
313.961.6675, ext. 109
Contact Emily