Philanthropy Friday: Philly FIGHT’s Youth Health Empowerment Project (Y-HEP)

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: Y-HEP, a program that seeks to empower young people to understand, care, and make healthy choices as they transition into adulthood.

Y-HEP Director Tiffany Thompson

Y-HEP Director Tiffany Thompson

Who are you? My name is Tiffany Thompson, director of Philadelphia FIGHT’s Youth Health Empowerment Project (Y-HEP). Y-HEP is a trauma-informed, comprehensive adolescent and young adult program that offers holistic health services, sexual health education, drug and alcohol support, drop-in day services, counseling and therapy, and leadership activities to over 3,000 high-risk/high-promise, low-income, urban youth aged 13 to 24 living in Philadelphia.

When was your organization founded? Y-HEP was founded in 1994 as a citywide pilot program to address the spread of HIV in Philadelphia’s young adult population. In 2001, Y-HEP joined forces with Philadelphia FIGHT, a comprehensive health-services organization providing primary care, consumer education, research, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk. Today Y-HEP has grown from a small street outreach program to a multi-faceted, community-based health and leadership development program for Philadelphia youth.

programing 3The organization’s shining moment, to date: In the past year, Y-HEP has expanded to include truly comprehensive health services, including fitness initiatives and nutrition counseling. Our proudest moment to date is taking HIV prevention to a whole new level with the integration of PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) to our health options.

If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep … I would want to create communities of transitional houses out of vacant city houses to provide a safe and empowering space for young people.

Special events coming up? On Friday, March 20th, Y-HEP is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a ’90s-themed party at Moore College of Art. DJ Spinderella of Salt ‘N’ Pepa has generously agreed to spin for the occasion, and we will be honoring the founder of Y-HEP and celebrating 20 years of empowering young people in Philadelphia. For more information, go here.

Are there ways I can contribute without giving money? We are always looking for folks to lend their talents to our programming by leading groups and workshops for our participants. If you have an activity idea in mind, call or email us and we would love to add you to our eclectic programming schedule.

How can I donate money? Visit Philadelphia FIGHT’s and click “Donate” in the top right corner of the screen. Your donation is an investment in the promise of Philadelphia’s adolescent and young adult population, and another step toward ending the AIDS epidemic.

Are you a local, LGBT-serving nonprofit that would like to be featured in an upcoming Philanthropy Friday post? Email details to Samantha Giusti at