In a time of Republican dominance, smaller community organizations are finding that once reliable government funding streams are drying up. Luckily, for those in the D.C. and Baltimore areas, there’s Brother, Help Thyself, an organization that provides thousands of dollars in grants to ensure nonprofits that serve the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV/AIDS don’t have to close their doors.
“A lot of funding is being cut from government budgets and health departments across the country,” says Andrew McCarty, vice president of BHT. “So the community-based organizations are going to have to pick up the slack.”
This year, Brother, Help Thyself will give out $64,000 in grants, bringing the total amount of money it has gifted since its inception to over $3 million.
“We have nine new grantees this year,” says McCarty. “They range from theater-type organizations to LGBTQ organizations, including a lot that deal with HIV and others that deal with transgender issues.”
Awardees and grant amounts will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Baltimore Eagle. The event will feature performances by the Baltimore Eagle’s in-house drag queens, as well as remarks from Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Jeffrey Hitt, the director of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
McCarty notes that the 2017-2018 grant cycle is the first year that representatives from the LGBTQ community who aren’t affiliated with BHT’s member organizations have held seats on the organization’s board. Their presence has helped bring in diverse viewpoints and suggestions about which organizations are most deserving of money, given the current needs of the LGBTQ community.
“What we have tried to do is look at the major needs of the community, and make sure everyone can get grant money,” McCarty says. “We’ve really been strategically looking at the need of the community and where that need is most felt.”
Brother, Help Thyself’s annual Grant Awards Reception is on Saturday, Jan. 20 from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Baltimore Eagle, 2022 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md. For more information, visit brotherhelpthyself.net.
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