PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: Kevin Burns Talks ActionAIDS and the Opening of the West Annex Clinic

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Kevin Burns tells us about ActionAIDS‘ first HIV primary care clinic, which opened earlier this month, and other ways the local nonprofit is making sure no one in Philadelphia has to face AIDS alone.

Ken Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Who are you? I’m Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

When was ActionAIDS founded? In 1986, at a time when governmental and philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS services was nearly non-existent. A group of 84 committed volunteers came together in Philadelphia and formed a community of care for their partners, family and friends with AIDS. ActionAIDS was the result, with a mission statement that read simply: “ActionAIDS believes that no one should face AIDS alone.”

What’s ActionAIDS’s shining moment, to date?: The opening of our West Annex Clinic earlier this month. After many months of planning, we’re excited to have launched our first HIV primary care clinic, in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network. This clinical service will be coordinated closely with our medical case management services, also provided at the West Annex and focused on our clients at high-risk to be lost to care. Our medical case management services are highly effective in retaining clients in care, and the West Annex Clinic will increase our ability to do that. The initial effect of case management services is particularly dramatic: Average viral load drops 76 percent during the first six months.

One-sentence mission statement? ActionAIDS is committed to creating an AIDS-free generation through a combination of proven strategies, including medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services.

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Salt-N-Pepa Performing at CHOP Fundraiser


Friends of CHOP is going ’80s hip-hop for its upcoming Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia benefit, Cheers for CHOP, with organizers tapping rap queens Salt-N-Pepa as headliner.

This performance is a rare treat for Salt-N-Pepa (aka Cheryl James and Sandra Denton) fans; they’ve only made a handful of public appearances together in the past several years. They opened for Public Enemy in 2012 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series in Brooklyn, and last fall they appeared in a Geico commercial singing their signature tune, “Push It.”

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Philanthropy Friday: Bread & Roses Community Fund

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: Bread & Roses Community Fund, which provides grants and technical assistance to communities in the Philadelphia region that are taking collective action to bring about racial and economic justice. This includes a scholarship fund specifically for gay men pursuing higher education, the Jonathan Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men.

Photo by Simba Madziva

Photo by Simba Madziva

Who are you? My name is Casey Cook and I’m the executive director of Bread & Roses Community Fund. Before coming here, I was the executive director of Prevention Point Philadelphia.

When was Bread & Roses founded? In 1971 as The People’s Fund. Our first grants went to groups like the Women’s Liberation Center, Kensington People’s Press, and the Black Panther Party. In 1977, The People’s Fund became Bread & Roses Community Fund and received federal 501(c)3 status.

The organization’s shining moment, to date: A few years ago, we held a year-long visioning process to ask our community how Bread & Roses should serve local movements for change. More than 600 people participated in focus groups, interviews, and town halls, and the opinions they shared gave us a clear mandate: We need to raise more money and distribute more grants. The visioning process really affirmed the work we’ve been doing for decades; it also mapped an ambitious plan for the future. We’ve been following that plan and we’ve already been experiencing exciting growth.

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Philanthropy Friday: Therapy Center of Philadelphia

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Alison Gerig talks about Therapy Center of Philadelphia, a local organization that provides affordable psychotherapy on a sliding fee scale to working and low-income women and transgender communities in Philadelphia.

alisongerigWho are you? I am Alison Gerig, the executive director of Therapy Center of Philadelphia (TCP), formerly known as Women’s Therapy Center (WTC). Serving 350 clients a year, our services include individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapy as well as music therapy, yoga, and psychological testing. All our services are queer and transgender-affirming and we have queer and trans-identified therapists on staff. We have a unique, low-cost program for those struggling with trauma. All of our services are offered through a feminist lens, attending to how our multiple identities shape our lives and impact the therapeutic relationship. Our services are collaborative, focus on connection, a de-emphasis on diagnosis, and have no treatment limit. Our clients are able to change their lives – they get better and stay better. To make an appointment, simply call 215-567-1111, extension 12.

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PHOTOS: 2014 FIGHT For Life Gala Starring Out NFLer Wade Davis

Friday—after a heated game of dodgeball with local LGBT youth on Thursday—former NFL pro Wade Davis hit up Philadelphia FIGHT‘s 2014 FIGHT For Life Gala to serve as keynote speaker. Davis, who came out publicly in 2012, is an advocate, writer and public speaker who addresses issues ranging from gender and race to equal rights and HIV/AIDS prevention. He serves as Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, an organization that works to end homophobia in professional sports.

Besides the star power, the gala was rife with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a live jazz ensemble, and a silent auction, with proceeds benefitting FIGHT‘s Jonathan Lax Treatment Center, Y-HEP (Youth Health Empowerment Project) initiative, and the John Bell Health Center.

Freedom G Photography’s Tara Lessard was there to capture the event on digital film. Check out some of her shots below.

PHOTOS: Gay Holiday Spirits Ran High at TOY

Charitable, in-the-holiday-spirit LGBTers braved the drizzle Saturday night to head to Old City for Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s annual holiday fundraiser, TOY. This was the first time the event was held at Fire & Ice, a club-y space on Market that hosts a handful of LGBT events throughout the year.

The new venue gave the event a little more attitude than years past when it was held at Reading Terminal Market. The space was dark, music—by DJ Carl Michaels—was pumping, and folks mingled in their holiday-inspired threads. In the doorway was a small mountain of unwrapped toys donated from each guest. Delaware Valley Legacy Fund Executive Director—and TOY organizer—Samantha Giusti tells me that, “because of the community’s support, DVLF was able to raise significant funds [from ticket sales and a silent auction] to support the LGBTQ community in the region. We don’t have the final number yet, but we collected over 350 toys to support children served by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and ActionAIDS.”

Freedom G Photography‘s Tara Lessard sent some photos from the evening. Check those out below.

Extra Reading: See photos from last year’s TOY here.

NFL Pro Wade Davis Takes On Philly FIGHT Youth In a Game of Dodge Ball

wade davis football

Openly gay former NFL player Wade Davis is coming to Philly tomorrow to speak at Philadelphia FIGHT’s 2014 FIGHT For Life Gala, a fundraiser for the organization’s mission to destroy HIV in Philly and beyond. Before he takes that stage, though, he’s going to warm up with a quick game of dodge ball with some of FIGHT’s youth.

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How to Go Local and Gay, Gay, Gay on #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday, and it’s such a breath of fresh air after the insanity that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you haven’t done your giving yet, I’d like to encourage you to open your purse or murse for any number of our local, LGBT nonprofits. There are tons to choose from, and some are offering up special matching-fund programs to make sure your dollar goes a long way.

William Way board member Anh Dang, for instance, is matching all gifts to the LGBT Community Center up to $100. All you have to do is note that your gift is in honor of Anh Dang when you make your donation.

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Here’s How Many Clothes Were Collected for Charity at the Philadelphia Marathon

Volunteers collecting discarded clothing after the Philadelphia Marathon.

Volunteers collecting discarded clothing after the Philadelphia Marathon.

Ever wonder what happens to all those shirts and gloves discarded at a big race? Here in Philly, a local organization called Clothes-pin, which we wrote about in depth here, sends in a team of volunteers to collect, bag and redistribute the goods to homeless shelters across the city.

They’ve been at it for a few years now, cleaning up at races like the Philly Marathon and Broad Street locally as well as big races in other cities, and cofounder Michael Resnic dropped us a note yesterday to give us the final tally on the massive haul from Sunday’s race. “Clothes-pin broke all previous records for clothing collection and donation at the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon,” he said. In all, the group collected about 22,500 articles of clothing—nearly double what they collected four years ago at the same race.

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PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: Reggie Shuford With ACLU of Pennsylvania

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, an organization working to do everything from secure total rights for LGBT people to legalizing marijuana to protecting the reproductive rights of women in Pennsylvania.

Reggie Shuford looking like he's about to go get things done.

Reggie Shuford looking like he’s about to go get things done.

Who are you? Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

When was ACLU PA founded? The ACLU of Pennsylvania was founded in 1951. Our national office was founded in 1920.

One-sentence mission statement: The ACLU of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending and expanding the individual rights and personal freedoms afforded to us all by the state and federal constitutions and the Bill of Rights.

The organization’s shining moment, to date? We’ve had multiple high-impact successes over the years, but the one that stands out recently is, of course, Whitewood v. Wolf, our freedom to marry lawsuit that resulted in Pennsylvania becoming the 19th state to allow same-sex couples to get married. A close second would be our win this past year in the voter ID case, which protected the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

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