The Foundation

Assessing the Needs of our LGBTQ+ Communities Post-Marriage Equality

Our Elevated Priorities


In the fall of 2015, the Cream City Foundation Board of Directors agreed to renew and strengthen the mission and presence of the Foundation as a convening organization. Believing that Cream City Foundation was in a unique position to bring leaders and stakeholders in the LGBTQ+ and allied communities together, we set out to better understand the issues facing our communities post marriage equality.

The Marquette University Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies was tapped as a partner to help the Foundation conduct a strategic needs assessment. An environmental scan of the research on LGBTQ+ communities was completed, which included interviews with 27 community leaders from 23 organizations in SE Wisconsin and Madison.

Our research found that LGBTQ+ people continue to face disproportionate economic and health disparities, as well as issues of safety and equity among LGBTQ+ families. Issues primarily cluster around four broad areas.

Economic Justice LGBTQ+ individuals regularly face workplace discrimination, despite an increase in anti-discrimination policies. Issues include employment, poverty, and housing insecurity.

Violence and Discrimination LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination includes overrepresentation and mistreatment within the criminal justice system, enabling of discrimination through religious freedom laws, continued use of conversion therapies, sustained violence against trans* individuals, racial discrimination, and discrimination against immigrants.

Healthcare LGBTQ+ individuals face healthcare- related issues that are distinct from the non- LGBTQ+ population, including lower levels of healthcare coverage, healthcare discrimination, and health needs specific to trans*, lesbian/ bisexual women, and gay/bisexual men, respectively.

LGBTQ+ Families LGBTQ+ individuals and couples face numerous hurdles when attempting to adopt or foster children without homes or families. Specifically, LGBTQ+ individuals and couples face barriers to being accepted as foster or adoptive parents, have difficulty having both parents legally acknowledged as parents of a child, and children of LGBTQ+ adoptive families face discrimination based on their familial status.

In addition to these broad issues of concern, our research found the following important findings:

» There is not one singular LGBTQ+ community, but several communities, as there is great gender identity, sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, and religious diversity among LGBTQ+ people.

» The greatest needs of LGBTQ+ people in SE Wisconsin center on themes of health education, employment, poverty and rural issues.

» People of color, and in particular Black LGBTQ+ people (regardless of gender identity, age,
and class) experience the most discrimination and poverty, and are most in need in LGBTQ+ communities.

» All trans* people, trans* people of color especially, experience the greatest discrimination and, also experience the greatest levels of poverty and violence.

» Issues facing LGBTQ+ people take on different levels of complexity based on the age of people, with our most vulnerable being youth and older adults.

» There is a strong desire and need for collaboration among LGBTQ+ organizations and between LGBTQ+ and allied organizations.

Our Work Moving Forward

Our community foundation will address the issues that prevent our communities from achieving the dream of full inclusion and acceptance. As a result, our work will not be single-issue driven. Instead, it will focus on creating whole lives where the economic, health and safety needs of our LGTBQ+ communities are met and individuals can flourish.

Cream City Foundation has developed three elevated priorities that will guide our fundraising and grant making, and our proactive convening to shine light on the most critical issues we need to be addressing in our communities, collectively.

Equity Creating opportunities to bridge our understanding that the LGBTQ+ community is not one monolithic community but one that is comprised of multiple communities with intersecting identities, experiences, and oppressions.

Health Creating opportunities to fairly access physical and mental healthcare services and welcoming healthcare providers, and health insurance, without fear or discrimination.

Prosperity Creating equal opportunities for families and individuals earn a living. We will address economic justice issues to secure access to housing, food, education, and employment with fair and inclusive workplaces.


Our Mission

pete_eileen_raquelCream City Foundation mobilizes philanthropic resources by harnessing the pride, passion, and commitment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies to advance the human rights and respond to the human needs of LGBTQ+ people in Southeastern Wisconsin.


Cream City Foundation mobilizes philanthropic resources to:

  • raise money from individuals, corporations, and organizations who provide the Foundation with a diverse investment portfolio of general funds, donor and corporate advised funds, and the building blocks of an endowment;
  • fund direct service and advocacy organizations to ensure meaningful change for the LGBT community, as well as encouraging vibrant arts, culture and athletic programs, and
  • convene strategic collaborations and partnerships to identify effective solutions for the LGBT community.


Our Vision

Cream City Foundation serves as the leader in mobilizing philanthropic resources, fostering strategic collaboration, effecting positive change and the advancement of the quality, dignity, and health of LGBTQ+ people in Southeastern Wisconsin.

We are a 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Organization


Our Values

DSC_8820Cream City Foundation upholds the following values in our daily work with each other and our community, recognizing that the causes of poverty, injustice, and lack of opportunity are interrelated and interlocking.

Inclusion – We strive to honor the diversity within the LGBTQ+ and ally populations, and our work addresses multiple forms of discrimination that may be experienced by our LGBT community members.**

Stewardship – We pledge to our donors that all money, whether gifted directly to the foundation or held in a donor advised fund, will be invested and granted in a manner consistent with our mission.

Integrity – We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and are fully transparent and accountable to all of our constituents. We treat all people with dignity, courtesy, and respect.

Partnerships – Cream City Foundation works in partnership with individuals, corporations, foundations, service providers, advocates, and lawmakers to identify effective solutions consistent with our mission to achieve meaningful change for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations.

Commitment – Cream City Foundation will be thoughtful, dependable, philanthropic leaders actively engaged in fund raising, grant making, and leadership consistent with our mission. We strive to be visible and available to our community.

**Discrimination includes, but is not limited to, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, age, class, gender, gender identity or expression, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, legal status, unfavorable military discharge, height, weight or HIV infection.


Our History

Cream City Foundation was founded in 1982 and is celebrating more than 30  years of giving to LGBTQ+ communities. Cream City Foundation was originally spun-off from the Cream City Business Association, a Milwaukee based association of LGBTQ+ business owners formed to promote LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship and business support for LGBTQ+ communities. Initially begun with $500 in seed money, Cream City Foundation has grown to provide over $1,540,000 in grant dollars to many organizations and projects that are working to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ people.


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