By Michele Zipkin
PHILADELPHIA CREAM – Philly AIDS Thrift (PAT) and Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room recently awarded $300,035 in grants to 27 organizations and initiatives in the Delaware Valley that provide HIV prevention, care and support services. To date, PAT management has donated $3.6 million to community organizations.
“The Philly AIDS Thrift staff, volunteers and Board of Directors could not be more honored to surpass our previous high, in dollars awarded in one [request for proposals] and our overall total of $3.6 million awarded,” said Michael Bryne, chairman of the Philly AIDS Thrift Board, in a press release. “Especially at this time when these incredible organizations doing incredible work are challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so grateful.
Grant recipients include Action Wellness, AIDS Delaware, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, AIM Angels In Motion, Attic Youth Center, Bebashi Transition to Hope, Black and Latinx Community Control, Camp Dreamcatcher, Inc., COLORS Organization, Comite de Apoyo a los, Trabajadores Agricolas, Camp Bright Feathers at Drexel University, Dorothy Mann Center at Drexel University, Family Service of Chester County, Family Services, LGBT Elder Initiative, Mazzoni Center, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), RHD Morris Home, Urban Affairs Coalition Programs Neighborhoods United Against Drugs and One Day At A Time, Planned Parenthood Keystone, Prevention Meets Fashion Inc, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Safehouse, Siloam Wellness, Sol Collective and William Way LGBT Community Center.
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“Since the beginning of HIV, we have always realized that people living with HIV are the experts and should have control and leadership,” said José de Marco, founder of Community Control, an organization made up of black and brown people. living with HIV, whose mission is to end HIV infections and regain control of health care in their own communities.
“In 2022, HIV disproportionately impacts Black and Latina QTBIPOC communities. Philly AIDS Thrift realizes and acknowledges this fact through its generous grants. We deeply appreciate their support for community control of Black and Latinx health over the past three years as we seek liberation to control HIV in our communities,” de Marco continued.
Prevention Point Philadelphia, another grant recipient, will use grant funds to provide needle services, which play a critical role in mitigating HIV infection rates among people who inject drugs. in Philadelphia,” said José Benitez, the organization’s executive director. Prevention Point provides a variety of physical and mental health services, including medical case management, PrEP and Hepatitis C clinics, wound care, a recovery program, links to housing and shelter and prevention services.
“Prevention Point Philadelphia is proud to be a recipient of Philly AIDS Thrift funding,” said Benitez. “Our roots are in HIV prevention and we deeply value the partnership of organizations that continue to be mission-driven around HIV prevention.”
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The leadership of the Department of Immunology at the Dorothy Mann Center for Pediatric and Adolescent HIV at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children will use its grant to send patients to one of the two-week therapeutic and educational summer camps to young people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Youth will attend either Camp Bright Feathers, run by the YMCA of the Pines in Medford, NJ, or Camp Dreamcatcher in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Nhakia Outland, executive director and founder of the nonprofit organization Prevetion Meets Fashion, will use her grant money to continue providing resources and education about HIV/AIDS and STIs, part of the work that she accomplishes this through her sex education and social justice organization. Outland will also allocate grant funds to PMF’s Women’s History Month HIV, AIDS and STI speaker series, which takes place in March.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity through the Philly AIDS Thrift grant to connect our community to valuable resources,” Outland said.
Attic Youth Center management plans to use its funds to continue integrating HIV/AIDS prevention messages into the organization’s youth-focused programming.
“It means more young people are receiving comprehensive educational messages so they can make informed decisions,” said John Fisher-Klein, executive director of the Attic Youth Center.
The LGBT Elder Initiative team will use their grant to fund the Thrivers program, a peer support and discussion group for older people living with HIV. The Elder Initiative serves to build bridges between aging LGBTQ people and culturally competent services and resources.
“This series of programs has been extremely valuable in strengthening peer support networks, especially during the prolonged isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Griffith, Director of Programs and Outreach for LGBT. Elder Initiative. “We are excited to further expand the Thrivers program this year and greatly appreciate the outstanding support from Philly AIDS Thrift.”
PAT began its annual grant program in 2014 with the intention of helping organizations working to treat and prevent HIV in and around Philadelphia. The team will announce a call for the next round of grant proposals towards the end of 2022.
“It’s amazing for all of us that we’ve surpassed [our] milestone since our inception,” PAT co-founder and director Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou said in a press release. “We couldn’t do it without our generous donors and enthusiastic buyers. Our staff and volunteers work very hard every day to ensure that we can make the biggest difference possible in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Delaware Valley.
Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.