As the only lesbian-founded and volunteer
lesbian-run nonprofit in the country providing direct funding to the lesbian community, we are proud to have given thousands of dollars to lesbians in need since 2012.
The L-Fund Herstory:
The L-Fund was founded in March 2012 with one common goal in mind: to be able to offer financial assistance to lesbians. The founders were five women: Barbara Carpenter, the late beloved Bobreta Franklin, Ruth Debra, Sharon Siegel and Kate Ullman. Betty Berrysmith was later grand-mothered in as an additional founding member.
In the early years of The L-Fund, once a month (and sometimes twice a month) they enjoyed homemade brunches and get-togethers. Each woman placed $20 into a basket for assisting lesbians. They soon had enough money to respond to the first L-Fund request to assist a lesbian with $120 for critical life-saving medicine. At that time, an envelope of cash was brought to the lesbian in crisis by a board member she did not know, as confidentiality was preciously held.
Initially, the Abbey of Avalon, Inc. (a Goddess-Spirituality Organization) offered us a DBA as “The L-Fund” under their national 501.C3 charitable organization status. They never asked to see our income or expenses, and never asked us to report back to them. The L-Fund later filed and received our own 501.C3.
In 2013, The L-Fund held a free memorial luncheon called the “Bobreta Franklin Memorial Gumbo” to honor the passing of our co-founder. More than 200 people showed up. Chef Betty Berrysmith contributed and prepared an outstanding gumbo, and each board member contributed additional fixings and personally staffed the 60-foot buffet table. As the guests left the memorial, they unexpectedly filled a donation basket with more than $800 in contributions, and for the first time The L-Fund was financially solvent.
Events have grown over the years. The L-Fund has offered annual Gala events for many years, growing attendance annually and more than doubling the donations each year. The L-Fund Golf Tournaments began in 2018. Sadly, like so many nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic led to necessary cancellations of our annual Golf Tournament in 2020 and The L-Fund Gala in 2021.
But 2018-2020 saw growth at The L-Fund with the expansion of programming to assistance for lesbians in the arts and the development of a health and wellness program.
The Women Behind The L-Fund:
A diverse group of women have served on The L-Fund board of directors, ensuring that the mission has never wavered. The dedication, active participation, and positive outlooks of members of the board of directors has kept The L-Fund alive and thriving, responding quickly to lesbians in crisis and in need of educational scholarships.
From 2012 through 2020, Barbara Carpenter served as the Executive Director and CEO, becoming the “face of The L-Fund.” For 8 years, she tirelessly attended countless community activities and events, actively promoting The L-Fund and securing vital financial contributions.
The year 2021 ushered in a time of change at The L-Fund as Barbara Carpenter stepped down and a new board of directors came to the table. Board co-chairs Magi Raible and Doris Reed bring new energy and visionary goals, making the future look bright at The L-Fund.
The mission of The L-Fund is to empower cis and trans lesbians through financial crisis assistance, grants for education, the arts, and health and wellness programs.
The L-Fund envisions a future of an inclusive and diverse community in which lesbians are provided a reliable resource for financial assistance, social engagement, and programs that enrich the lives of lesbians.
The L-Fund believes in financial transparency. Financial records are available upon request. Contact us at [email protected].