First economic impact study underway

CHARLOTTE — A community-wide collaborative effort has been launched to collect and measure data on LGBT businesses in the Charlotte region.

The study will take place this summer and summary results will be available to the community once finalized.

The collaborative effort is being gathered by the Charlotte Business Guild and the Michael Scott Mater Foundation with funding by a Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund Community Connections grant. It is getting support by local chambers of commerce, government officials and academic supporters. Its preliminary economic forecast data is expected to be released in September.

Data from the study will be analyzed to determine the economic impact of LGBT small businesses in the region. This data does not currently exist in part because of the difficulty in identifying LGBT-owned businesses. The coalition of partnering agencies agree that this data may be difficult to obtain and ask that business owners that identify as LGBT reach out to participate in the study.

“We know, nationally, there are well over an estimated 1.4 million [LGBT] business owners in the United States who employ tax-paying workers, extend benefits to those workers and pay both federal and state taxes. This is an opportunity to explore and gauge — for the first time — the economic impact of LGBT business on a local level here in Charlotte,” said Guild Board President Teresa Davis.

For more information or be included in and receive the survey, email or visit

G.I.F. launched

CHARLOTTE — Gay It Forward coupons are now part of the Queen City scene. It officially launched this month and has already begun to provide revenue resources for the companies it serves, as well as contributions for a number of community non-profit organizations.

Partners are TimeOut Youth, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, the Human Rights Campaign and Campus Pride.

Participants can earmark their 10 percent contribution for one of these worthy groups when they purchase their coupon for services or merchandise. Dining, personal and home shopping, entertainment and travel options are part of the offerings.

For more information or to join the email list, visit

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at and 704-531-9988,...