OUR STORY

OUR MISSION: BHT Foundation (Formerly Brother, Help Thyself Inc.) is a 501(c)3 community based organization providing financial and other support to non-profit organizations serving the LGBTQ/SGL and HIV/AIDS communities in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metro area.

OUR HISTORY: Brother, Help Thyself was founded in 1978 by four gay motorcycle clubs and is one of the first organizations in the United States to provide funding for LGBTQ/SGL health, cultural, and social services. The first fund drive by The Capital Area Board of Leather and Levi Motorcycle Clubs raised $4,518. Brother, Help Thyself was formed to award that grant to the Gay Men’s VD Clinic which was having financial difficulties at that time. Not only did this grant make it possible for the clinic to continue to provide health services, but also made it possible for it to separate from the Free Clinic. This separation lead to the creation of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which expanded its services to the lesbian community at that time. ​

 

BHT Foundation has grown and diversified over the years. In response to the AIDS crises in our community, we financially support many AIDS service providers. Since 1978, we have raised and distributed $3.5 million to more than 196 groups in our community. Brother, Help Thyself raises funds throughout the year and then disburses direct and matching funds, partners with grantees on fundraisers and other events, acts as a clearinghouse for donated goods and services, and serves as an information resource to the LGBTQ/SGL community.

OUR GRANT HISTORYJanuary 25, 2020 marked the 42nd time that Brother, Help Thyself has presented grant awards to the Washington-Baltimore region's LGBTQ/SGL charities. We began in 1978 with two grants totaling $4,518: $3,162 to the Gay Men's VD Clinic (which years later became what we know today as Whitman-Walker Health) and $1,355 to the Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of Washington, DC. A year later, in 1979, we doubled the number of charities to four and almost doubled the amount awarded to $7,148. Notable that second year as well was making our first grant to a Baltimore charity, the Chase-Brexton Clinic.

In 40 years, we have awarded 1,098 grants to 194 unique charities, totaling $3,170,119. Our average grant over the years has been approximately $3,000; our smallest grant ever was a $50 grant made in 1990 (and, yes, the group actually asked for $50!); and the largest grant ever was $20,414 to Food & Friends in 1992. We hit the $1 million mark of total giving in 1997; the $2 million mark in 2006; and the $3 million mark in 2015. We are now at almost $3.2 million dollars, and if history proves correct, we should hit our $4 million mark in 2027.

OUR GOALS: Sustainability - Create structures and systems to ensure the systematic and effective operations of the BHT Foundation in support of our LGBTQ+ communities.  Including succession planning; development, financial planning; and standard operating procedures and business operations. Excellence - Grow the BHT foundation to reflect the evolution of our diverse communities and expand visibility and community partnerships/support, to become the preferred nonprofit for LGBTQ+ giving in the DMV area.

OUR VALUESDiversity – We exist to help, build, and transform our diverse LGBTQ+ Communities.  We back up our commitment by supporting non-profits that are dedicated to creating safe spaces for marginalized folx. Community – We believe in our communities and are dedicated to supporting non-profits in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas that fill critical gaps in services and improve the lives of our community members.  Integrity – We will earn and maintain your trust through ethical, honest, and transparent business operations.  First and foremost, we will be governed by a board that reflects the communities that we serve.  Stewardship – We support marginalized and underfunded nonprofits first.  To do this, we are steadfast in our commitment to protect and distribute the financial assets and resources that have been entrusted to us by our donors.  Flexibility – We will meet the evolving needs of our communities by creating a solid and sustainable business model that allows us to strategically change and adapt quickly.

 
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