BHT Offers Cash and Kudos

Local support organization Brother, Help Thyself awards more than $75,000 to assist area nonprofits

Brother, Help Thyself Inc. (BHT), a local LGBT organization offering support to local nonprofits for the past 36 years, awarded more than $75,000 in grants to 31 various organizations on Jan. 25 at a reception at Ziegfeld’s/Secrets Nightclub.

Among the nonprofits benefiting from the grants are: AIDS Action Baltimore, The DC Center’s HIV Working Group, the Equality Maryland Foundation, Helping Our Brothers and Sisters (HOBS), Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), HIV support group HOPE DC, the Latino GLBT History Project, PFLAG chapters from Howard and Carroll counties, the Rainbow History Project, youth organization SMYAL and the Wanda Alston Foundation. Grants were also given to various social groups such as D.C.’s Different Drummers, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, the Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club and the Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club.

More than 125 people attended the reception, which featured performances by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and drag performer Billie Ross. The event also featured guest speakers Catherine Hyde, the Mid-Atlantic regional director of PFLAG, who spoke about her path to becoming an advocate after coming to terms with her child’s gender identity. Benjamin Takai, the monitoring and evaluation coordinator for the D.C. Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) Prevention and Intervention Services Division, also spoke about the District’s attempts to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. In an official statement, BHT’s treasurer, Mark Clark, said the reception was ”our best ever.”

”What really makes this annual event so wonderful, on top of the awarding of the actual checks, is the opportunity for our grantees to network and connect,” BHT President Jim Slattery said in a statement. ”They all do such great work and their expertise and best practices are vital to our community and each other.”

BHT also handed out special honors at the reception. Winning the Billy Collison Award was Baltimore’s Hope Springs, a nonprofit seeking to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. GayRVA.com was honored with the George Dodson Business Award, given to a business that works on behalf of the community, for its promotion of Gay & Lesbian Night at Kings Dominion.

BHT also gave its Founders Award, given to an organization that manages substantial achievements with minimal funding, to Casa Ruby LGBT community center. The Anthony J. Bachrach Award, given to an individual working on behalf of the LGBT community, went to David Mariner, executive director of The DC Center, the city’s primary LGBT community center.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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