Consultant launches new global LGBT charity, backed by BCG

15 December 2017 4 min. read
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The Boston Consulting Group has announced that it is a founding sponsor of a new global LGBT+ charity. According to research from the UK-based start-up, less than £200,000 of more than £5 million donated to LGBT+ causes leave the UK to aid groups in more hostile nations. To change this, GiveOut aims to provide a unique distribution network to support LGBT rights organisations around the world.

Following a long and difficult struggle, the UK is now broadly thought to be an LGBT+ friendly nation. Despite pockets of resistance to the civil rights movement of community do remain – most notably in Northern Ireland, where special provisions mean gay marriage is still not legally recognised – Britain is considered a world leader, as part of the 24 states which allow for marriage equality. Despite this, of the £5 million donated by UK individuals to LGBT+ causes, a massive 97% is spent in the UK. A sparse £150,000, therefore, makes its way beyond the nation’s borders, to support organisations and international NGOs dedicated to supporting LGBT+ rights in nations where they are totally non-existent, including the 57 nation states which could imprison individuals for up to 14 years, or the eight states which still implement the death penalty for homosexuality.

According to analysis by GiveOut, based on data from the Global Philanthropy Project, just $91 million ever leaves North America and Europe to aid LGBT+ organisations. While this might sound like a large figure, it pales in comparison to other notable charitable causes. The UK-focused National Trust, which focuses on maintaining historic landmarks in the British countryside, rakes in $742 million annually, while the Gates Foundation, launched by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda, commands a mighty $5 billion in funding every year, to help improve health and education worldwide.

GiveOut UK Donors to LGBTQI

GiveOut, which is a newly launched UK charity, aims to change that. GiveOut will work to provide solidarity and financial backing to LGBT+ campaigners across the world, including those based in some of the most hostile environments left in the 21st century. The London-based charity will support a portfolio of causes including grassroots organisations which are currently inaccessible to mainstream donors, and as such, will be the first organisation to enable donors to give to activist-led country and regional organisations outside of the UK, as well as international NGOs.

Founding sponsor

Global consultancy BCG is on board as a founding sponsor, as the firm agreed to fund a major contribution of the start-up, following its launch by Elliot Vaughn, of BCG’s London office. Vaughn was recently marked out for praise by the annual OUTstanding ranking of LGBT+ executives, allies and future leaders, which is aimed at promoting acceptance and diversity in the business environment. The BCG Partner is also a sponsor of various LGBT+ organisations, ranking 36th on the list of 100 LGBT+ Executives in 2017, and earning plaudits for serving on the global leadership of BCG’s LGBT+ network, as well as delivering the keynote address at Pride in the City.

GiveOut global funds to LGBTQI

Speaking on the formation of the new organisation, founder Vaughn – who also becomes the Managing Director of GiveOut – said, “The global LGBTQI movement is underfunded, particularly in the South & East, where in many countries it remains illegal to be gay. Our research shows that in the UK just 3% of [the funds] donated by individuals annually to LGBTQI causes supports non-UK causes... This charity is the first to allow donors to give globally with a single donation and I’m delighted that the Boston Consulting Group have agreed to come on board as a major corporate sponsor.”

The new initiative was announced ahead of this year’s EurOUT conference, hosted in London’s Tower Bridge district in the autumn of 2017. EurOUT is Europe’s leading LGBT conference for graduate students, MBAs, PhDs and alumni from top business schools, where attendees have the opportunity to network with and seek employment from leading companies from around the world. This can also trace its roots back to BCG, having been founded by BCG alumnus Shane Clifford in 2008, after he attended Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) in the US, an event at which he realised a need for a European version of it. BCG has been involved as a headline sponsor throughout its history.

Pascal Cotte, BCG’s Head of Western Europe, said of the firm’s continued commitment to LGBT+ rights, “We have a large LGBT network within the Boston Consulting Group and our alumni, and we are proud to be supporting another venture founded by our talented employees. Diversity and LGBT inclusion is a very important topic for us and our funding of this ground-breaking new charity demonstrates our commitment to this. In particular, BCG is excited by the potential to expand GiveOut in Europe and we are keen to support that.”