January 27, 2020 at 11:12 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
BHT Foundation awards $71,500 in grants
BHT Foundation, gay news, Washington Blade
BHT Foundation President Nina Love presents Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) with the Anthony J. Bachrach Award. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBT charitable group Brother Help Thyself on Jan. 25 presented grants totaling $71,500 to 26 non-profit organizations serving the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region.

BHT presented the grant awards in a ceremony held at the DC Eagle gay bar in Northeast D.C. in which D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton was among more than 100 people who turned out for the event.

BHT presented Norton with its Anthony J. Bachrach Award for outstanding service to the LGBT community in her longtime role as D.C.’s representative in Congress.

BHT President Nina Love, who presented the award to Norton, called Norton a champion for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and other minorities through her work in the U.S. House of Representatives since she first won election in 1990.

Love said BHT, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary, continues to expand its mission of supporting LGBTQ and AIDS service organizations in the D.C. and Baltimore area.

“It’s just an amazing feeling to make even a small difference for all the grant organizations that are supporting our community,” Love said.

Love told the gathering that since its founding in 1978, BHT has awarded 1,158 individual grants totaling over $3.3 million to 198 non-profit organizations providing services to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV.

Love also announced that BHT has changed its name from Brother Help Thyself to the BHT Foundation.

“Our community has evolved dramatically since Brother Help Thyself was founded in 1978,” the group said in a statement. “We represent diverse and unique people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and thus recognize the need to evolve to meet the many needs of new, underfunded, and often overlooked non-profits that are filling the gaps in vital services,” the statement says.

“To reflect our own evolution, we announced today that we have changed our name to The BHT Foundation,” according to the statement released on Jan. 25.

Among the 26 groups receiving grants in the form of a check during the ceremony were AIDS Action Baltimore, the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, the D.C. LGBT youth services group SMYAL, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, the Baltimore Men’s Chorus, and Mary’s House for Older Adults in D.C.

The D.C.-based group Breaking Ground, which supports LGBTQ youth through original theatrical productions based on the life experiences of its youth cast members, received the single largest grant at the Jan. 25 ceremony — $10,060.

Under the direction of founder and director A.J. King, Breaking Ground members performed in two scenes from one of its productions during the BHT ceremony on a stage. Also performing at the ceremony were members of the Baltimore Men’s Chorus.

In addition to Norton, BHT presented non-monetary community service awards to two organizations and to its former president, Jim Slattery, who received the BHT President’s Award. The D.C.-based LGBTQ Latinx group LULAC Lambda received the Billy Collison Award for being a grantee “who does a lot with little resources.” Damien Ministries received the BHT Founders Award as a nonprofit providing “outstanding service to our community.”

Following are the non-profit organizations that received BHT grants and the amount of the grant:

AIDS Action Baltimore: $3,850

Baltimore Men’s Chorus: $2,020

Black, Gifted & Whole [D.C.]: $2,550

Breaking Ground [D.C.]: $10,060

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop: $460

Charlie’s Place [D.C.]: $180

D.C. Area Transmasculine Society: $1,280

D.C. Center for the LGBT Community: $1,410

FreeState Justice of Maryland: $860

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington: $910

HIPS D.C.: $3,570

Hope D.C.: $6,000

Hope Springs Baltimore: $3,460

LULAC Lambda D.C.: $1,820

Mary’s House for Older Adults of D.C.: $3,740

Mid-Atlantic Deaf Interpreter Fund: $1,500

New Ways Ministry [D.C. area]: $1,930

PFLAG Columbia, Md.: $1,940

Pride Center of Maryland: $2,190

Rainbow Families [D.C. area based in Montgomery County]: $2,080

Rainbow History Project of D.C.: $1,610

Rainbow Youth Alliance of Rockville, Md.: $3,810

SMYAL D.C.: $7,790

Transgender Education Association of Burke, Va.: $1,69

Washington Renegades: $2,640

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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