Endowment Opportunities

Building an endowment has been a core component of the Williams Institute’s strategic plan since Chuck Williams’ inaugural endowment gift to start the Institute in 2001. To date, the Institute has secured a number of endowment gifts that support – in perpetuity – our core researcher’s and scholar’s rigorous, unbiased, and credible research about the LGBT community. Current endowment opportunities are listed below.  For more information about giving to the endowment call Matt Strieker at 310-206-0725.

Current Endowment Opportunities

Public Policy/Legal Fellow œ
The Institute’s Public Policy/Legal Fellowship Program provides annual funding for a recent law or graduate school graduate to work at the Institute for one or two years in order to conduct legal and public policy research. The goal of the fellowship program is to support new scholars in developing a career in sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy scholarship. During the fellowship year, the Fellow will collaborate on researching and writing public policy and/or legal analyses on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy issues, present a work-in-progress at a faculty workshop, and assist with organizing and moderating Institute conferences and programs.

The Williams Institute has fully endowed two fellowship positions, the Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow and Dorr Legg/Jim Kepner/Reid Rasmussen Fellow. A donor has agreed to match an endowment gift up to $500,000 to fund a third fellowship position.  This third position could focus on public policy, legal research, or both.

Endowment Goal: $1 million
Matching Opportunity: $500,000


Legal Fellow
The Legal Fellowship is designed for young lawyers interested in pursuing careers in sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Working with the Legal Director, the Fellow: (1) conducts legal research and analysis on pending LGBT-related state and federal public policy; (2) supports publication of scholarly and journalistic articles that advance LGBT-related legal arguments and theories; (3) helps draft amicus briefs for key court cases; and (4) provides legal research on legislation concerning the LGBT community. Fellows’ research has helped provide the legal justifications for (1) passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; (2) requiring federal contractors to protect their LGBT employees from discrimination; and (3) allowing the U.S. Census Bureau to release counts of married same-sex couples.

Endowment Goal: $1,500,000 

Senior Scholars œ
Williams Institute Senior Scholars are PhD-level academics, who conduct social science and policy-related research on sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Current scholars include Dr. Gary Gates, a demographer and labor economist who co-authored The Gay and Lesbian Atlas, and Dr. Ilan Meyer, who focuses on minority mental health disparities with an emphasis on distinctions among LGB racial and ethnic populations. Additional Senior Scholars are experts in public opinion research and LGBT youth in the foster care system. The work of each of these experts serves to advance academic scholarship on LGBT issues as well as inform policy decisions concerning the LGBT community.

The Williams Institute has endowed two of the four Senior Scholar positions, and a naming opportunity is available for one of these two endowed positions. The additional two Senior Scholars remain to be named and endowed.

Naming Opportunity: $1,000,000
Endowment Opportunities: $3,000,000

Research Director
The Research Director is a senior scholar, who also coordinates and leads the public policy research undertaken by the Institute’s policy scholars and fellows. The current Research Director, M.V. Lee Badgett, is a labor economist who has published extensively on the economic impact of various state and federal LGBT polices. Her books include Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men (University of Chicago Press) and When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (NYU Press). In addition to coordinating research, the Research Director also assists in efforts to disseminate findings to policymakers, the media and the public.

Endowment Goal: $3,000,000

Educational Programming
The Williams Institute undertakes a variety of strategic education programs that ensure our research is utilized by judges, lawyers, legislatures, and other policymakers. For example, we are the only organization in the country that trains judges on LGBT issues. To date, we have trained over 2,500 judges in 15 states on topics including: LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, Domestic Violence in Same-Sex Relationships, and Bias in the Courts. We also host various roundtables, conferences, and other convenings for scholars, government officials, and academics to inform and coordinate their work on LGBT law and policy.

In addition, the Williams Institute is committed to training a new generation of researchers and scholars focused on LGBT issues. Beyond our fellowship programs, we train students through our annual moot court competition, our annual empirical training course, our summer fellowships, and our small research grants programs.

The Williams Institute seeks endowment funds to support these programs as well as other strategic education initiatives. Endowment gifts to support our education programs can be for any amount.  Naming opportunities are available.

Endowment Goal: $5,000,000