Funder Advocacy

Red Umbrella Fund Thanks the Estate of Carol Leigh for Generous Donation

Late last year Red Umbrella Fund published a Tribute to Carol Leigh to honour her memory and legacy after her passing. Earlier this year Red Umbrella Fund was notified by Kate Marquez, Executor & Trustee of the Carol Leigh Trust, that Red Umbrella Fund was selected as a beneficiary of her estate. The unrestricted funds will support the grantmaking decisions of the Programme Advisory Committee and continue to build on the sex worker-led movement through the self-determination that defined Carol Leigh’s activism.

Kate Marquez shared the following regarding the gift:

Sex worker individuals and advocacy groups recently received gifts from the estate of the late Carol Leigh, renowned sex worker/artist/activist and coiner of the phrase sex work.

When she died in 2022, Carol Leigh’s obituaries praised her decades of heart-felt advocacy on behalf of sex workers the highlighted the brave, funny, and pioneering voice she developed with her performance persona, Scarlot Harlot (

Leigh’s friends and colleagues were stunned and delighted when they learned that Leigh, who’d struggled financially, had received an inheritance shortly before she died.

Leigh explained in a letter to her beneficiaries, “My mother, Augusta, a life-long thrifty saver and savvy investor, wanted me to use her savings to support my life and work.”

Leigh and her mother, a longtime supporter of her daughter’s activism, had attended sex worker conferences around the world.  As a result, the beneficiaries of Leigh’s trust include sex worker rights organizations and individuals in Asia, Europe and Africa, as well as in the U.S..

“Carol’s gifts to sex worker organizations are going to change the world,” said Joseph Kramer, Leigh’s longtime co-producer of sex educational videos.

“For a young, developing political movement, gifts like Carol’s have a monumental impact,” said Carol’s Trustee Kate Marquez. “Remaining funds are being gifted to the sex worker rights groups New Moon Network, Third Wave Sex Worker Giving Circle, Red Umbrella Fund and a project in Oregon.”



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