July 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Alston Foundation receives IRS tax-exempt status
Chris Dyer (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Chris Dyer (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Wanda Alston Foundation, the D.C.-based nonprofit organization that provides housing and other services to homeless LGBT youth, received formal approval last month from the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization, the organization announced on Tuesday.

The action by the IRS, known as a 501 (c) (3) designation, ensures that individuals or businesses that contribute money to the foundation can write off the contributions as a tax deduction. That designation “expands opportunities for support from a variety of organizations,” said Christopher Dyer, president of the Alston Foundation board.

The Alston Foundation, among other things, administers the Wanda Alston House, which opened in 2008 as the only housing program in D.C. dedicated solely to offering “pre-independent, transitional living to homeless or at-risk LGBTQ youth ages 16 to 24 in all eight wards,” Dyer said in a statement.

Dyer also announced that Kenneth Pettigrew, who had been serving as the Alston Foundation’s interim executive director and director of programs, has been formally named by the board as executive director.

“This is an exciting time of growth for the organization and we are very pleased that Ken will serve as the executive director of the foundation,” Dyer said. “Ken has a demonstrated track record of administering programs and working on behalf of the LGBT community and the organization has continued its growth as a result of his expertise.”

Dyer said the foundation’s current annual budget is $350,000. He said $310,000 comes from city grants, with the remaining funds coming from private donations. The foundation, including the Alston House, currently has three full-time and six part-time employees.

According to Dyer, the Alston House currently has six residents, with another two expected to move in shortly.


Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • It would be good to know how long it took them to get this status and how many questions they had to answer, in the current climate where it is becoming clearer the IRS has been used to target people with personal audits and delays in granting exemption status because of their political beliefs. I'm glad, as someone who met Ms. Alston numerous times before her passing, that the Wanda Alston house got its exemption. I am worried about the use of the gay community as a Potemkin village, the exploitation of gays as one of the few groups still enamored of the current regime, to clap on cue as the President's approval ratings shrivel. It's nice to have equality granted in part by executive orders President Clinton should have issued years ago, and that no Democrats (or Republicans) were willing to do until they stuck their fingers in the wind and saw they could follow, rather than lead, public opinion. So we now have the equal rights to visit our spouse in a VA hospital where they are being denied and delayed treatment, or to file jointly with our spouse and then be targeted for audits if the spouse has the wrong political views, or the equal right to stand in the unemployment line because there are no jobs, even though we didn't lose the job for being gay. This is not my vision of gay rights.

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