On January 20th at the Baltimore Eagle, Brother Help Thyself (BHT) presented its annual grant awards to 34 non-profit groups serving the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities in the Greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region. This year’s awards, totaling $75,000, brings the grand total of grants awarded since BHT’s incorporation in 1978 to almost $3.2 million.

Mayor Catherine Pugh and Jeffrey Hitt of the Maryland Department of Health, offered greetings to those attending on behalf of the residents of Baltimore.

“The story here isn’t that BHT gave out $75,000 today,” said Andrew McCarty, grant reception chairman. “The story here is that in the era we find ourselves in today, where our freedoms and rights, and healthcare choices are being threatened, these 34 non-profits, with our help, are out there each and every day fighting to preserve and defend those rights and freedoms in support of our community. We are proud to play a small role in that work.”

This year, $42,800 went to Baltimore area groups, including AIDS Action Baltimore, Free State Justice, the GLCCB, HopeSprings, Mid-Atlantic Deaf & Interpreter Fund, PFLAG Columbia-Howard Counties, and PFLAG Westminster.

BHT also presented four annual community service awards. These included the Anthony J. Bachrach Award for Outstanding Service, given to Baltimore’s own Rik Newton-Treadway; the Billy Collison Award, given to a grantee, presented to the Latino GLBT History Project in DC; the George Dodson Business Award, given to a business supportive of the community, presented to the Baltimore Eagle, for a second time; and the Founders Award, given to a non-profit, presented to the Wanda Alston Foundation for its work with the homeless LGBTQ youth population in DC.

“Our community has some great unsung legends who for years have gone about their days working for the betterment of LGBTQ people,” said McCarty. “None of us are in this for self-aggrandizement, and we believe it is vital to recognize folks and groups we collectively feel are worthy of recognition.”

– Bill Redmond-Palmer