The BHT Foundation, an organization established to provide financial support to D.C. and Baltimore-area nonprofits working with the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV/AIDS, announced on Friday afternoon that it will dissolve after 43 years of service.
Formed in 1978 by four local motorcycle clubs under the name “Brother, Help Thyself,” the organization’s first-ever grant was awarded to the Gay Men’s VD Clinic of Washington, D.C., the predecessor to Whitman-Walker Clinic and the current-day community health center Whitman-Walker Health.
Throughout the years, and particularly at the height of the AIDS crisis in the United States, BHT helped leverage critical funding to help grassroots organizations serving those affected by the disease — funding that was otherwise nearly impossible for smaller nonprofits to obtain.
Since that time, the organization has raised more than $3.5 million benefitting over 200 different community nonprofits.
BHT Foundation has also partnered with some of its grantees to provide training and leadership, collaborated on fundraisers, acted as a clearinghouse for donated goods and services, and served as an information resource for the LGBTQ community.
The organization also hosted an extremely popular LGBTQ Pride Night at King’s Dominion for more than a decade, starting in the late 1990s and continuing throughout much of the current decade.
In an email sent out to supporters by current president Paul Marengo, and later copied to its Facebook page, the foundation’s Board of Directors announced that, after much internal debate, it would be shuttering the organization. The full text of the letter is below:
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