LGBTQ Community


The Bay Area boasts one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in the United States.

Long known as a mecca for diversity, one-in-ten Bay Area households include a lesbian, gay or bisexual individual. in San Francisco, it's one in five.  (2018 Community Study)

Our Federation was the first to create an LGBTQ Alliance (the Alliance), and we did so as a means of community strengthening, leadership building, and strategic grantmaking designed to inspire and engage the Bay Area’s LGBTQ Jewish community.

The Alliance worked to ensure that LGBTQ Jews felt welcome throughout the Jewish community, particularly in those institutions that aimed to educate our youth and introduce them to Jewish life. The Alliance provided needed support to organizations and programs that strived to grow and strengthen the Jewish LGBTQ community, and it developed leaders, provided mentorship, training opportunities, and board placement. 

Today, the Federation, through the advocacy and support of the past LGBTQ Alliance, continues the mission through:

  • Opening the LGBT Fund, which lends support to programs and organizations in our community.  
  • Awarding a major three-year grant to Keshet to support community-building and engagement for LGBT Jews in the Bay Area. Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life.

The Federation also supports other resources for Bay Area LGBT Jews, including:

  • A Wider Bridge, another Federation grantee, which seeks to inspire LGBT Jews to deepen their Jewish identity through connection with Israel, and to develop stronger connections between LGBT communities in Israel and North America.  
  • Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, the Congregation of the Golden Gate, a progressive Reform synagogue established in 1977, made up of LGBT and heterosexual Jews together with family and friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish.



Investing in Jewish LGBTQ leaders

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the fifth-largest Jewish community in the United States, and to a huge and diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer population, including an estimated 36,000 LGBTQ Jews. Stepping out to be LGBTQ Jewish leader in the local landscape comes with a certain set of challenges to navigate and Federation would like to act as a support network for those in our community seeking to pursue the skills, thought-leadership and comradery necessary to pursue these leadership opportunities.

Our newest program we have developed to meet this goal is the Jewish Pride Fund. The Jewish Pride Fund was launched in 2018 with Danielle Meshorer, our Manager of Venture Philanthropy and Giving Circles, working together with Sam Goldman, former Chair of the LGBT Alliance to form a giving circle with a mission to supporting the intersecting needs, values and interests of the LGBTQ and Jewish communities in the Bay Area, nationally and in Israel.

The vision of the Jewish Pride Fund is to create a world where Jewish LGBTQ voices are heard across Jewish secular and religious society. We believe that if we empower LGBTQ individuals and families that identify with the Jewish community through financial and activist support of deserving organizations, we contribute to the rising power and agency of the LGBTQ community as a whole. We believe that members of the Jewish LGBTQ community have a unique role to play in civil right, social justice, and religious inclusion.

The Jewish Pride Fund meets 4 times approximately over four months to consider grant applications aligned with their mission and vision. Grant applications are by invitation only and emerge from an organic process of research by members of the Fund. The Jewish Pride Fund is looking to grow in membership, so if you are interested in joining, please be in touch with Danielle Mershorer for more information.



Read some of the latest LGBT related blog posts:

Taking Pride in Helping Others
June 14, 2018
The Pride Fund thinks about how can we make the greatest impact philanthropically… specifically with the intersecting needs of the Jewish and LGBT community.

Senator Mark Leno Connects with Circuits Cohort
December 9, 2015

Senator Mark Leno spoke about coalition-building challenges with the Circuits cohort, a new Federation initiative that connects young LGBTQ Jewish leaders with networking and skill-building opportunities.

Grantee Profile: Keshet
March 31, 2015
Keshet, Hebrew for “rainbow” and “bow,” was founded in Boston in 1996 and, from its humble beginnings, has become a nationally impactful organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life.

Class of 2015 Orientation
December 8, 2014
Musings on the Federation's LGBTQ Pathways to Jewish Leadership program.

The LGBTQ Pathways Program
June 9, 2014
Leadership through diversity. 

Announcing the New Chairs of the LGBT Alliance
April 7, 2014
We are proud to announce the two new co-chairs of the LGBT Alliance Advisory Committee: Dara Papo and Sam Goldman.

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