“My brother had struggled for all of his life,” says Jackie Thompson. “He was the big kid on the football team, but he was very soft-spoken, so he always got bullied. He was always the last one picked in a dodgeball game.”
Thompson, a longtime member of the local leather community and the current reigning American Leatherwoman, wanted to do something special in honor of her brother, Billy, who passed away in 2013 from diabetes. So she established a fund in his name and wrote a check for $20,000 to Brother, Help Thyself.
The $20,000 gift took the board of BHT by complete surprise at last week’s board meeting. “We were all crying,” says BHT President Andrew McCarty. “We were blubbering,” confirms Vice President Jim Slattery.
Thompson’s goal with the Billy McCoy Thompson, Jr. Memorial Fund was to honor “the nonprofits you never hear about, that are underrepresented.” The Imperial Court of Washington, D.C., and the Indiana-based Carter/Johnson Leather Library, which has an annex in Baltimore, will each receive $2,500. Two additional $2,500 awards will go to local organizations that advocate for youth, empowering them to live authentically.
“BHT has always been that beacon for community nonprofits,” Thompson says of her beneficiary choice. The money from the Billy Thompson Fund allows BHT to provide larger monetary awards to small youth-centric organizations.
“A lot of our grants are under $1,000,” says Andrew McCarty, the president of BHT. “And so to be able to give an organization that deals with youth $2,500, is incredible. We want to make sure this money will make the highest impact on the organizations that receive it.
“The idea that someone wanted to invest money in BHT and felt us worthy to handle this fund is amazing,” he continues. “It’s a great asset to the community.”
For more information on Brother, Help Thyself, or to apply for a grant or award for your nonprofit, visit brotherhelpthyself.net.
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