About Us

Equality North Carolina Foundation is the oldest statewide organization in the country dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. We’re invested in ensuring that every North Carolinian can see themselves in this movement and helping create a safer, more equitable world for all marginalized folks. Together we can build a better North Carolina.

The long-term goal of Equality NC Foundation is to enact statewide nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity & expression in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, insurance, and education without exemptions that treat LGBTQ people differently from other protected groups. We provide training and education to individuals, institutions, businesses and the government on how to provide diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments. Additionally, we work to mobilize our communities and partners to advocate and take action against discriminatory practices. ENC Foundation achieves these goals through the core strategies of Advocacy, Training and Education, Leadership Development, and Base-building.


We envision a thriving, liberated North Carolina with a powerful LGBTQ community united in service of racial and social justice.


Equality North Carolina Foundation builds LGBTQ power through advocacy, education, and uplifting the stories of queer and trans North Carolinians in pursuit of racial and social justice.


  • We hold people at the center of all that we do: we see, hear, respect, and value each other.
  • We honor and build power on the margins until the margins are the center.
  • We know all oppression is interconnected. None of us are free until all of us are free.
  • We work strategically and sustainably: our work holds the realities of the need for both long- and short-term progress.
  • Y’all means all. We believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all, including people who are LGBTQ, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Workers, Women, Resource Poor, Incarcerated, Immigrants, Undocumented, Rural.

Our History

In the late seventies, the world looked remarkably different for LGBTQ people. Our community was on the brink of the AIDS crisis - an epidemic that would wipe out a generation of leaders, creators, thinkers, and innovators, many of whom were in the prime of their lives. Rights and protections for LGBTQ folks were nonexistent. BIPOC had barely achieved equal legal recognition under the eyes of the law.

In 1979, seven individuals with varying backgrounds came together to form the North Carolina Human Rights Fund with the goal of creating a more just and equitable world for folks facing threats to life and safety from their government and communities. The organization’s primary focus was to offer legal services to LGBTQ folks being prosecuted under the Crimes Against Nature Law.

It was a remarkably bold and brave move and today’s world looks radically different for many members of the LGBTQ community, at least in part due to the work of these seven founders. The group also worked to foster local organizations across the state and help fund the first NC Pride marches. In the late eighties, the focus shifted to providing education on lesbian and gay issues. The North Carolina Human Rights Fund went on to become today what we call Equality NC Foundation.