Our LGBTQ Fund

West Michigan, it’s Time. Support Our LGBT Community

Our LGBTQ Fund was established by Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik, a West Michigan couple who chose to spearhead changes in the community after attending OutGiving, a LGBTQ philanthropic conference sponsored by the Gill Foundation. Inspired by the conference and the insight that the LGBTQ community needs to initiate support for its own issues, they partnered with Grand Rapids Community Foundation to lead the charge against issues faced by LGBTQ youth by creating the fund.

Support this cause today by contributing to Our LGBTQ Fund. You will have the opportunity to choose an endowed gift or non-endowed. Both ways of giving will help LGBTQ youth now and in the future.

Our LGBTQ Fund Leadership Circle is a great way to ensure the sustainability of the fund into the future. To join the Leadership Circle, complete these simple steps: give a minimum of $2500, which may be pledged over five years, and advocate and share your enthusiasm with others about the fund. If you are interested in joining the Leadership Circle, please contact Marilyn Zack

Give Now
  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation

    The Community Foundation exists to build and manage our community’s permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people. That’s why we are pleased to announce Our LGBTQ Fund, an initiative to support LGBTQ people.

  • Purpose

    Provide a safe, welcoming and healthy environment for the LGBTQ community in West Michigan by increasing wellness and prosperity levels, visibility, acceptance, support and access to resources.

  • Vision

    Create equal opportunity for the LGBTQ community. Currently focusing on youth experiencing homelessness, the fund works to increase the capacity of existing service providers and leveraging relationships within the LGBTQ community and allies.

  • Needs

    Our LGBTQ Fund will help us understand the scope of LGBTQ challenges in the community and find ways to address them. We will also concentrate on filling the gap in LGBTQ leadership at the state and community levels.

Grants Awarded

Here Are Our Recent Grants





  • Grand Valley State University

    Amount Awarded: $25,000*

    Date Awarded: Aug. 2020

    Expansion of LGBTQIA+ Education Track Training, to equip agencies in Kent and Ottawa Counties with knowledgeable staff who can create atmospheres of inclusion and equity for LGBTQIA+ youth.
    *Made in partnership with $7,500 from Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

  • West Michigan Partnership for Children

    Amount Awarded: $60,000

    Date Awarded: Aug. 2020

    Supporting the Foster Care A.L.L.Y Project, to build the foundation and infrastructure for a Kent County foster care system that welcomes and affirms LGBTQ+ youth and families.

  • Grand Rapids Pride Center

    Amount Awarded: $1,500

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2020

    Technology updates to move support groups and information sharing to virtual platforms, in response to COVID19.

  • Arbor Circle

    Amount Awarded: $45,000

    Date Awarded: Dec. 2018

    LGBTQ Youth Host Home Housing: Arbor Circle’s Host Home Housing Program serves to stabilize and house homeless LGBTQ+ identified youth through connection and housing with safe and affirming adult hosts.

  • Grand Rapids Trans Foundation

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded: Dec. 2018

    Trans Education Fund (Learning for Life): To expand Grand Rapids Trans Foundation's current Academic Scholarship program.

  • Out on the Lakeshore

    Amount Awarded: $12,500

    Date Awarded: Dec. 2018

    OOTL: At Home In Ottawa County: To facilitate a collaborative and educational process of serving Ottawa County's LGBTQ youth through an active, growing, and visible organization, Out On The Lakeshore.

  • Grand Valley State University

    Amount Awarded: $40,000

    Date Awarded: Dec. 2018

    LGBTQIA+ Social Justice Education Track: Youth serving organization participation in The Social Justice Institute’s LGBTQIA+ Social Justice Education Track, which offers a progressive learning opportunity for community stakeholders and organizations who seek to enhance their awareness, knowledge, and skills to advance full LGBTQIA+ inclusion and equity.

Giving Isn't The Only Way You Can Support LGBTQ Issues in West Michigan.

Spread the Word

Help us reach out to area businesses, organizations and straight allies to spread the news about the fund and the community needs it addresses. Contact us to find out more. 

Be an Ally

Be an ally at home, school, church and work. Allies are some of the most powerful voices the LGBTQ community. Allies stand up, help people in coming out and help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect.

Our Community

We Can Make a Difference Together

Time for acceptance, equality and prosperity for our LGBTQ community. This is our home, where we work, support local businesses, take care of our friends and neighbors and raise our families. And now it’s time to take care of each other, too. Join these local community residents in supporting Our LGBTQ Fund.

A photo of Ken Terpstra + Ken Bandstra

Ken Terpstra & Ken Bandstra

Equality is essential for all, regardless of who we are. Until that happens, we need to be there for each other.

A photo of Tommy Allen

Tommy Allen

Regardless of who you are, we do all matter and offer a beautiful uniqueness.

A photo of Nadira Kharmai

Nadira Kharmai

Community inclusion promotes fairness, creativity, new friendships, and greater understanding.

A photo of Amy + Erin Wilson

Amy & Erin Wilson

Our family strongly believes in equality and we are supportive of efforts to achieve this.

Our LGBTQ Fund Leadership Circle

Donors as of October 16, 2020

Our LGBTQ Fund Leadership Circle is a group of donors who are deeply committed to ensuring the sustainability of the fund into the future. They give a minimum of $2500, which may be pledged over five years, and advocate and share their enthusiasm with others about the fund. If you are interested in joining the Leadership Circle, please contact Marilyn Zack

  • Brian and Ronna Alexander
  • Roger Arbury
  • Mark and Mary Kay Baker
  • Ken Bandstra and Ken Terpstra
  • Connie Bellows and Darlene Zwart
  • Laurel Blasi and Lawrence P. Nolan
  • Tracy and Tom* Breihof
  • Duane Brown and Kevin Martin
  • Christopher J. and Ann Marie Caldwell
  • Timothy Chester and Henry Matthews
  • Steve and Sue Conway
  • The Dunes Resort
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Jason Franklin of the Ktisis Fund of RSF Social Finance
  • Edwin Galka and Lawrence Holland
  • Larry W. Gammons and Carl I. Jennings*
  • Graci Harkema
  • Haworth Inc.
  • Michael Hoffman
  • John Hunting
  • Glen Johnson and Tom Merchant
  • Roberta F. King and Mike J. Miesch
  • David Klinzing, Todd Theisen, Patrick Tischler
  • Mira Krishnan and Teri Jourdan
  • Marilyn Lankfer and Jeff Schad
  • Ms. Emily Loeks
  • Jan Lunquist and Michael May
  • Max Matteson and Bud Baty
  • Jill May and Jennifer DeHaan
  • Michele McIsaac and the Eleveld Family
  • Debra L. Minton and Terri Osborne
  • Mark Nettleton
  • Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik
  • Douglas and Nancy Padnos
  • Mitchell and Karen Padnos
  • Bill Padnos and Margy Kaye
  • Wally Petersen and Mike Tischleder
  • Dottie Rhodes
  • Richard A. Roane and Leandro Robles
  • L. Howard Rochte and Russell J. Lamesfield
  • Mary Ann Sabo and Jeff Ott
  • Brian Schipper and Richard Lord* 
  • Matthew and Kate Schmid
  • Jim Sellman and David Balas*
  • Ralph Siddell*
  • Diana R. Sieger
  • Brent and Diane Slay
  • George Stoutin and Dave Heilman
  • Betty Stremich and Nancy Sojka
  • Todd Theisen, David Klinzing and Patrick Tischler
  • Robert and Colleen Tobin
  • Karin and Steve Waterbury
  • Elizabeth Welch and Brian Schwartz
  • Kate Pew Wolters
  • Bruce Young