Support: Our History
In our first few years a good part of our money
came from a "tithing" by the Lesbian
Herstory Archives founders, giving as they could.
Over the years the balance has
shifted. Ongoing expenses are being met by donations
from the community. Special project expenses are
being met by grants and designated donations.
1980 marked the first year that we were recognized
by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C) 3
organization and donations became tax deductible.
1988 marked the first year donations topped $25,000
and we had to file our first formal 990 with the
IRS and the New York State Charitable agencies.
For the first 15 years of the Archives existence
we were located in Joan Nestle's apartment and
didn't have to pay any rent. With the purchase
of our permanent home in 1991 we covered the mortgage
and expenses through fund raising. In March 1996
we paid off the mortgage thanks to generous donations
from our worldwide community of supporters. Greatly
relieved of a substantial financial burden, we
are left only with the ongoing expenses and necessary
repairs of building maintenance.
Everyone who has worked at the Lesbian Herstory Archives has been a volunteer. We have never had any paid employees. In addition to volunteers we have had interns and fieldwork students. Any reimbursement they got came in the form of school credits or grants from their institutions.
Over the course of our history we have gotten grants from a number of Lesbian and Gay funding sources as well as feminist and alternative granting sources. For the most part the grants have focused on project-based work rather than general or capital expenses. In addition to formal grants we have received money through some special individual estate donations that have come to us as a result of losses in our community. Occasionally a special donation comes in honoring a marriage, commitment ceremony or birthday of an Archives supporter. Corporate matching grants have also provided some funds.