The Gill Foundation was established in 1994 by Tim Gill. The foundation, based in Denver, Colorado, was created as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt private foundation to support public policy efforts that promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and economic opportunity in Colorado.
In the foundation’s 2015 Annual Report, its assets are listed at over $206 million, with a total of over $20 million in grants awarded to nonprofit organizations that year.
Software entrepreneur and philanthropist Tim Gill started the Gill Foundation in 1994 when he was inspired to play a greater role in LGBT advocacy after Colorado passed Initiative 2, which prohibited municipalities from enacting ordinances adding sexual orientation as a protected status under anti-discrimination laws. At the foundation’s inception it announced that it sought “equal opportunity for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression” both nationally and in Colorado. It is one of the nation’s leading funders of state-level public policy efforts for LGBT interests. The foundation has invested more than $304 million in programs and organizations across the country.
The Gill Foundation’s giving priorities fall under four key areas.
- Equal Treatment: Securing equal treatment of LGBT people in employment, housing, and public life by putting in place non-discrimination laws.
- Safe Schools: Reducing bullying and promoting acceptance of LGBT peers in schools.
- Family Recognition: Providing key support and funding to legal organizations that play a key role in litigation strategy in same-sex marriage cases. The foundation continues to fight the push for religious freedom protections to ease consequences of the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling, which held that there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
- Prosperous Colorado: Collaborating with the Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable, the foundation makes grants in Colorado that specifically address LGBT advocacy, STEM education, civic engagement, and public broadcasting.
Board and Key Staff
Scott Miller is listed as the Gill Foundation Secretary.
John Barabino and Mary Bonauto are staff.
Robin Hubbard is Gill Foundation Chief Operations Officer.
Brad Clark is the foundation’s Vice President of Partnerships.
Gautam Raghavan is Vice President of Policy.
The Gill Foundation actively seeks and collaborates with philanthropists to help fund projects and programs promoting LGBT rights and equality.
The Gill Foundation created OutGiving, a network of center-left donors and philanthropists who support LGBT efforts. Each year, a private OutGiving Conference is held, bringing together top funders whose annual philanthropic giving to LGBT causes exceeds $25,000.
The State Equality Fund (SEF) was created so that major supporters of LGBT rights could collaborate with their funding. This includes the Gill Foundation and other donors, including the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, the Ford Foundation, and anonymous donors. SEF has invested a total of $14.5 million in 148 unique projects. In 2015, it decided to begin phasing out the funding program.
The Gill Foundation is a part of the Civil Marriage Collaborative, a grant-making initiative designed to leverage and support same-sex marriage laws and legislation on a state-by-state basis. This includes projects for public education efforts such as research, polling, message development, and outreach. Since it began in 2004, the collaborative has awarded over $18 million to various jurisdictions.
The Gill Foundation is a major supporter of Freedom for All Americans (FFAA), which is a campaign run by the American Unity Fund, a Super PAC created by Tim Gill and hedge fund executive Paul Singer. FFAA seeks to enact a federal anti-discrimination law that would prohibit different treatment based on sexuality and gender identity. The group has focused its attention particularly in the South, fighting religious freedom protection efforts in Georgia and North Carolina. Other major donors associated with the group include hedge fund manager Dan Loeb.
In the Gill Foundation’s 2013 tax forms, the following left-of-center donors were identified as contributors to the foundation’s various programs:
- Ford Foundation
- H. Van Ameringen Foundation
- Our Fund Inc.
- David Geffen Foundation
- Liberty Hill Foundation
- Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
- Arcus Foundation
- Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund
- Women’s Equality Center
- James C. Hormel Revocable Living Trust
- The Palette Fund
- David Dechman Foundation
- Esmond Harmsworth Foundation
- Tides Foundation
- Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
- David Bohnett Foundation
- Tim Gill
- Johnson Family Foundation
- Wild Geese Foundation