With DVLF money, groups launch anti-poverty initiatives
by Angela Thomas
Jan 10, 2013 | 779 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<B>FOYER OF PHILADELPHIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LEIGH BRADEN</b>
FOYER OF PHILADELPHIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LEIGH BRADEN
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<b>GALAEI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ELICIA GONZALES</b>
GALAEI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ELICIA GONZALES
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<b>THE ATTIC YOUTH CENTER DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR ALYSSA MUTRYN</b>
THE ATTIC YOUTH CENTER DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR ALYSSA MUTRYN
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<b>ELEMENTS ORGANIZATION CO-DIRECTOR SHAYNA ISRAEL</b>
ELEMENTS ORGANIZATION CO-DIRECTOR SHAYNA ISRAEL
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Last month, LGBT grantmaking agency Delaware Valley Legacy Fund announced grants to four local LGBT organizations, which made possible a number of new initiatives that seek to combat the effects of poverty.

DVLF in early December funded Foyer of Philadelphia, the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative, Elements Organization and The Attic Youth Center.

According to DVLF executive director Samantha Giusti, the application process for the grants started in early 2012.

Giusti said DVLF conducted interviews with the leadership of many of the area’s LGBT community-based organizations throughout the process.

“Our findings revealed that one of the strongest threads between the organizations was their need to address poverty barriers,” she said. “We decided to help organizations who help constituents overcome poverty barriers. We put out a request for proposals for organizations that provide programming under economic empowerment.”

Giusti said DVLF based their selection on two major factors — the agencies’ ability to meet basic and emergency needs, such as shelter, food, health care and safety, and also long-term needs, such as employment, training and finance management.

The organizations received $5,000 each.

Leigh Braden, founder and executive director of Foyer of Philadelphia, which focuses on housing issues for LGBT youth, said her agency received funding from DVLF in 2008 and 2009.

Braden said the grant would be used to expand Foyer’s Night Resource Program, which is currently operating.

“It is an overnight drop-in for homeless LGBT young adults ages 18-24,” she said. “The program runs through the month of March.”

Because of the grant, the program will be available from 7 p.m.-noon, when last year, its inaugural year, it was open from 7 p.m.-7 a.m.

GALAEI will use its grant for a nighttime program as well.

GALAEI executive director Elicia Gonzales said the grant will help launch a late-night outreach program for populations that are harder to reach but could benefit from GALAEI services. The organization, which has received DVLF grants in the past, including through its Racial Equality Initiative, is partnering with the William Way LGBT Community Center for the program, which launched Dec. 14.

According to Dr. Carrie Jacobs, executive director for The Attic Youth Center, the LGBT youth organization was one of the first to receive a grant in DVLF’s earlier days.

Jacobs said the latest grant will support The Attic’s Life Skills Center programs, specifically the already-existing Attic Graffix, a program where youth design and print T-shirts, pillows and posters using printing techniques and technology.

The Elements Organization received two Racial Equity Initiative grants, in 2010 and 2011, and this year, the organization for LGBT women of color organization will use its grant to launch a new economic-empowerment program called Elements Financial Footprints.

The initiative, now underway, is a six-week training program that will assist LGBT women with financial decisions such as opening a bank account and budgeting for a variety of needs.

“We want to make sure LGBT women accomplish what they need to,” said Elements co-director Shayna Israel, adding the program will also encourage women to pursue continuing education. “We want to empower our women to be leaders.”

Giusti said the four organizations that were picked for grants best fit DVLF’s goals.

“We felt these four organization were filling a critical gap in the LGBT community and that they were using best practices,” she said.

Giusti said DVLF received a wealth of applications, which the grantmaking and outreach committee reviewed — and subsequently recommended two that provided basic needs and two that provided long-term needs.

“We recommended those four organizations to the board of directors and they evaluated and approved of them. We feel confident in our decision.”

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