Metro Weekly

Neighborhood Investment

Brother Help Thyself announces recipients of its annual giving

This year Brother Help Thyself (BHT) is giving more than $120,000 to 27 different organizations — but its annual Grants Award Reception, originally scheduled for Jan. 31, has been postponed to Feb. 13 due to inclement weather.

Tom Yates, executive director at BHT, says if another storm hits metropolitan Washington this weekend, the event will be cancelled and checks will be sent out to recipients.

”If the weather holds out, it will be on,” Yates says, adding that the event was originally scheduled to be held at Baltimore’s Hippo, but is now planned to take place at D.C.’s Dignity Center.

This year’s grant amounts range from $500 for the GLBT Arts Consortium to $12,930 for Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS).

”They really fight for the community and are out on the frontline,” Yates says of HIPS. ”They’re not getting money from conventional sources because they’re really doing work for sex workers, specifically for people in the LGBT community. It’s not the sort of thing that church groups or traditional charities work for.”

BHT is a community-based organization that provides financial other support for LGBT- and HIV/AIDS-related efforts in the Baltimore-D.C. area. During the past 30 years, BHT has raised more than $2.1 million for 130 organizations.

Yates says the money comes from endowments, as well as money raised by BHT directly at events such as the annual Gay and Lesbian Night at Kings Dominion, usually held in the fall.

Other 2010 grant recipients include the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League with $2,135; Metro TeenAIDS with $8,353; The Center, D.C.’s LGBT community center, with $3,494; and Transgender Health Empowerment with $7,552.

Brian Watson, director of programs at THE, says the organization will use the money for its youth services that were affected by the city’s budget cuts last year.

”Every little amount helps,” Watson says. ”We probably lost about $40,000, so this is a little bit. It’s nowhere near where we need to be to be whole again, but we’re appreciative.”

BHT’s Grant Award Reception is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Dignity Center, 721 8th St. SE. For any cancellation notice, or for a full list of grant recipients, visit