Metro Weekly

Cherry Fund to donate more than $50,000 to local D.C. nonprofits

Money is intended for organizations engaged in HIV/AIDS initiatives or mental health and suicide prevention efforts

2017 Cherry Royalty Main Event with DJ Ivan Gomez at Town — Ward Morrison

The Board of the Cherry Fund will present more than $50,000 in proceeds from its 2018 fundraising efforts to several local LGBTQ nonprofits at its annual Giveback Reception on Thursday, Aug. 23.

The reception, which features an open bar, with complimentary Tito’s vodka-based drinks and appetizers, will be held at Rooftop VIDA Fitness on U Street. At the reception, Cherry will present checks to those organizations that support the LGBTQ community through initiatives related to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, or those related to mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Allen Sexton, the board president of the Cherry Fund, which holds dance parties to help raise the funds for these nonprofits, says that all beneficiaries will be presented with a check and a certificate honoring them for their work. Cherry will also highlight honorees in monthly postings on its social media platforms to help spread the word about the services they offer the local D.C. community. 

“We put it out there for these organizations to apply for these awards,” says Sexton. “Cherry is going into its 24th year, so people are very familiar with us. Some of these organizations are definitely repeat honorees, but we also looked for organizations within the LGBTQ community that needed [financial] help.”

Cherry will present over $23,000 in checks from its Direct Grant Fund to organizations offering HIV services, including $10,000 to the Inova Juniper Program, which is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS care in Northern Virginia. $4,000 will go to the TransLatin@ Coalition, with smaller awards benefitting the Wanda Alston Foundation, Metro DC PFLAG, TransLAW, and Casa Ruby.

Cherry will present $11,000 from its Barry Smythers Fund to organizations offering mental health services, including Us Helping Us, La Clinica del Pueblo, and the Latin American Youth Center. An additional $2,500 will be split among The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The DC Center for the LGBTQ Community, and the DC Independent Film Festival.

Lastly, as part of a partnership with Capital Pride, in conjunction with Cobalt, Syn/Werq, and Flashy, Cherry will present $10,000 in proceeds from this past June’s Cherry Pride events to Capital Trans Pride, and an additional $5,000 to Capital Pride’s Legacy Fund.

Over its 24-year lifespan, the Cherry Fund has raised more than $1.2 million dollars to assist HIV/AIDS and mental health service organizations who otherwise might have to scrimp and save to keep operational.

“All of these organizations are deserving. They’ve all done their part to serve our community,” says Sexton. “But a lot of them can’t or don’t receive federal or state funding. So it’s even more important for Cherry to continue its mission and its legacy of giving aid to smaller organizations which are less fortunate.”

The Cherry Fund’s Giveback Reception is on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 7-9:30 p.m. at Rooftop VIDA Fitness, 1612 U St. NW. For more information about the Cherry Fund, visit

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

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