Metro Weekly

DC Center Gets $10,000 PrEP Grant

GWU team directs Living by Giving Foundation funds to education campaign

The DC Center, the District’s major LGBT community center, received a $10,000 grant Wednesday from the George Washington University (GWU) through the Learning by Giving Foundation to conduct a pilot campaign to raise awareness about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) within the LGBT community.

The Learning by Giving Foundation partners with various universities and institutions of higher learning to give students a hands-on experience with philanthropy through full-credit courses in which they must find and vet worthy and financially stable nonprofit organizations deserving of $10,000 grants, provided to the universities by the foundation, to run programs that benefit the larger community.

Grace Lerner of GWU, Brant Miller, of the DC Center, Michael Fowler, of the DC Center Board, and Tim Savoy, of GWU (Photo by John Riley)
Grace Lerner of GWU, Brant Miller, of the DC Center, Michael Fowler, of the DC Center Board, and Tim Savoy, of GWU
(Photo by John Riley)

The DC Center has launched the PrEP campaign, which will continue through its HIV Working Group throughout the upcoming year. The D.C.-specific campaign will detail PrEP, an HIV-prevention method in which people without HIV take a daily dose of Truvada, typically used to treat HIV, in order to reduce their risk of becoming infected. According to recent studies conduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), daily use of PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of transmission by more than 90 percent.

The DC Center’s campaign will involve developing a mobile app to guide individuals to health providers who will prescribe PrEP to those at higher risk of contracting HIV. The app also has the potential to help those taking PrEP increase their adherence by reminding them to take the medicine on a regular basis.

“PrEP has the potential to be an important tool to address the high rates of HIV infection among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and transgender women,” The DC Center said in its release. “Dissemination of information about PrEP and how to access it could make a tremendous difference in how LGBTQ community members disproportionately impacted by HIV protect themselves from infection.”

The DC Center was presented with a $10,000 check in an informal ceremony at its U Street headquarters by Tim Savoy, a presidential administrative fellow at GWU; Grace Lerner, a master of public health student at GWU; and Blaine Parrish, an assistant professor in the school’s Department of Prevention and Community Health.

“Our charge is to award the money to organizations that work in the HIV field,” Parrish said in his remarks at the ceremony. “And I think [Savoy and Lerner, who vetted the center] hit it right where it should be.”

“When we were doing our research on groups we wanted to give to, D.C., obviously, has many wonderful nonprofit organizations, but I don’t think we could have put this money in any better of a place,” Savoy said. “Learning about the service that you all provide to the LGBT community and to the greater D.C. community is absolutely inspiring. And reading through the proposal, and knowing where the money’s going, is very inspirational.”

The Learning by Giving Foundation grew out of the Sunshine Lady Foundation, which was started by Doris Buffet, sister of Warren Buffet. Doris Buffet also sits on the board of Learning by Giving. Having inherited substantial family funds, she’s made a mission of donating those funds, so far passing the $150 million mark, according to Living by

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