Impact Assessment Panel Mexico. Photo Credit: FME LGBT+.

After months of discussions with our partners into launching a pilot programme in Mexico, we were faced with a new reality: Covid-19 had hit Mexico hard. By July 2020, the country was about to reach peak infection rates in the first wave, with a second wave already looming.

The economy was hurting badly; people were running out of money fast. The government was trying hard to keep things open, sometimes at the risk of a complete breakdown of the country’s healthcare system.

We had to adapt quickly, and rethink our approach. Our initial plan to follow a similar format to…

Photo credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection

This article provides a glimpse into how we look at using the power that comes from holding capital to influence the investment managers we work with.

Dreilinden invests its endowment across three buckets: (1) public equities and bonds; (2) direct investments in emerging markets; (3) impact funds. For each bucket, we have developed specific strategies for implementing an LGBTQIA* lens. Today, we would like to share our experience of applying an LGBTQIA* lens to our impact fund portfolio.

As we explained here, we originally started out investing in gender-focused funds – among other reasons, due to a lack of any…

Dreilinden aims to have a holistic impact by bringing together its grant-making and investment practices. This mission has led us to initiate a series of profound discussions, many of which were, of course, disrupted or accelerated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transformative change

In the first half of the year, we felt like we knew what we had to do on the grant-making side: we had to provide more unrestricted support, and we had to do it fast. Dreilinden committed another €1 million for its Covid-19 response on top of the existing grant-making budget.

We reached out to trusted partners…

Photo Credit: Ise Bosch (2019)

Following the Queer Pitch Days in South Africa in December 2019, we went on to launch our coaching programme. During the Pitch Days, we had identified six entrepreneurs who showed great promise from an impact and business perspective but who were not quite investment-ready yet. The programme aimed to provide each entrepreneur with the opportunity to work through their impact and business model, with a view to submitting an investment proposal at the end.

This initial programme is now close to its conclusion. We wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the challenges it faced and the…

Photography by Ise Bosch

If there was ever a time to stand by existing commitments and to mobilise additional resources, that time is now. The rainy day has come, and we must provide ad hoc Covid-19 support.

There has been much talk about how a pandemic has the greatest impact on the most marginalised people in our societies. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued specific guidance and gave a stark warning that LGBTQIA* communities will be “among those most at risk from COVID-19”. Many LGBTQIA* people have seen their rights compromised and their access to basic infrastructure restricted. The lack of access…

Photography by Ise Bosch, Founder and CEO of Dreilinden

Ever since we launched Dreilinden back in 2006, we have aspired to make an outsized impact on queer communities through our grant-making and investment activities. While our grant-making activities have been well documented in various publications (see examples here, here, and here), we have not yet published a great deal about our investment strategy. What better opportunity to shed some light than now, as we embark on our journey to a queer-lens-focused investment strategy?

When we started out, our investment strategy was focused on an actively managed portfolio of equities and fixed income, and a portfolio of impact fund investments…

Foto by Ben Taylor, Bedford

We collated a few tips from various resources for our mentorship programme and thought they might be useful to others as well. We also set up a Facebook group for queer entrepreneurs where you can ask questions and get advice from people in the communities and fellow entrepreneurs — it’s a private group and only members can see who is in the group.

Chances are, you are feeling overwhelmed by the rapid developments, the never ending news of more SARS-Cov2 (Coronavirus) cases and actions required. At the same time, you have to come to terms with the fact that the…

This article hopes to shed some light on how to think through different indicators and aspects when assessing the opportunities that a country or region has in terms of queer impact investing. For our Queer Impact Investment Universe studies, we wanted to glean insights from two to three different geographical areas in order to compare similarities and differences. The initial country selection was based on our internal views as well as on input from the preliminary field study by Justus Eisfeld, from our global network of fellow LGBTQIA* funders, and from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

South Africa was…

Q Pitch Days South Africa — Highest Kitchen Taste ©Dreilinden

As you may already know from our first post (Queer Impact Investment Universe), we are setting out to champion the queer investment lens, with the goal of investing in LGBTQIA* entrepreneurs and companies that cater to communities in the Global South and East. We chose South Africa as the venue for our first pilot project, embarking on an exciting journey where we were able to gain fascinating first-hand experience.

What an incredible time we had in South Africa! We met over 50 (yes, that’s five-oh) LGBTQIA* entrepreneurs from across the country. We were blown away by the entrepreneurial drive, passion…

Photography by Robert Bosch Jr.

On our journey to scope and size the queer investment universe, we started looking around the impact investment space to see how we could build on already existing approaches and frameworks. Luckily we didn’t have to look very far as our friends at Criterion Institute (and many others) have already done fantastic work in a related field — gender lens investing (GLI)! GLI connects well to the way we want to approach queer impact investing. By reinterpreting GLI, or in some cases by just going back to its original intent, we wind up with the right foundation to build on.


Dreilinden is a Hamburg-based foundation dedicated to advancing societal acceptance of gender and sexual diversity.

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