September 26, 2019 at 4:47 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Cherry Fund to give $100,000 to LGBT, AIDS groups
Cherry Fund, gay news, Washington Blade
Cherry Fund Director of Development and Partnerships Paul Marengo said the organization has doubled its giving this year. (Photo via Twitter)

The Cherry Fund, the nonprofit organization that since 1996 has produced D.C.’s annual spring Cherry weekend dance parties as a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS and LGBT support groups, announced on Tuesday that it will donate a combined $100,500 in cash grants to 25 HIV/AIDS and LGBT groups this year. 

In a statement to the Washington Blade, Cherry Fund Director of Development and Partnerships Paul Marengo said the group earlier this year provided an additional $2,632 of “in-kind support” for two LGBT-related charitable events in Rehoboth Beach, Del., bringing the total amount it will give to LGBT and HIV/AIDS groups this year to $103,132.

“This is double what we were able to provide last year and we could not have done it without the support of our patrons, donors, sponsors, venues, DJs, entertainers, and volunteers, basically our ‘COMMUNITY,’” the group said in a statement.

Cherry Fund officials were scheduled to present representatives of the 25 recipient groups, all of which are from the D.C.-Baltimore area, checks for the donated funds at a Sept. 26 ceremony at D.C. VIDA Fitness center on U Street, N.W.

Among the recipient groups that provide HIV/AIDS services scheduled to receive checks on Sept. 26 are Whitman-Walker Health ($1,000), La Clinica Del Pueblo ($3,000), AIDS Action Baltimore ($5,000), Us Helping Us ($5,000), and Damien Ministries ($5,000).

Other groups slated to receive Cherry Fund grants include Casa Ruby ($1,000), the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community ($6,500), the LGBT youth services group SMYAL ($5,000), the Wanda Alston Foundation ($5,000), Metro D.C. PFLAG ($5,000), and Capital Pride ($12,175).

The Cherry Fund statement announcing the grant recipients says the group this year added a category of recipient groups that “tell our stories” through publications or film. Included among the recipients in this category are the D.C. lesbian TAGG Magazine ($1,000), the D.C. Independent Film Festival ($500), and the Washington Blade Foundation ($5,000).

“The Cherry Fund, established in 1996, and located in Washington, D.C., is a not-for-profit independent, all-volunteer organization that serves as a spark to ignite the dance music community for a greater good,” the group says on its website. “The Cherry Fund actively raises funds to support the HIV/AIDS service and prevention community via charity dance events,” the website statement says, adding: “Over the years Cherry has collaborated with the biggest, most progressive names in dance music, to host some of the largest in the mid-Atlantic.”

The statement says that in the years it has been operating, the Cherry Fund has donated more than $1.2 million in grants and in-kind support.

Marengo said the Cherry Fund Board of Directors this year also decided to add to its list of recipients LGBT groups that provide mental health services and services to members of the LGBT community that are underserved and in need of support.

A full list of the 2019 recipients and the amount they received can be accessed at cherrydc.com/about.

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

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