DVLF announced Oct. 7 that HotPot!, The Attic Youth Center, William Way LGBT Community Center, LGBT Elder Initiative, Women’s Therapy Center and Valley Youth House are the latest grantees of its annual grantmaking cycle.
DVLF executive director Samantha Giusti said this year’s theme was emerging needs, which all the chosen applicants displayed in their submissions.
There were 16 total applicants, and the chosen six demonstrated either a plan to meet an emerging community need or success at having tackled a pre-existing need.
Giusti said a DVLF committee came together in September to review applicants for the cycle.
DVLF awarded $1,500 to Hot Pot!, an organization formed in 2009 to bring together LGBT Asian and Pacific Islanders.
Hotpot! will use its grant to continue its outreach, which Giusti said brings a much-needed conversation to the LGBT community.
“Their main focus is on the intersection of being Asian-American and Pacific Islander and being a LGBTQ-identified person, and I think it is a really interesting issue they are tackling that no one is talking about,” Giusti said.
The Attic Youth Center, which creates opportunities for LGBT youth, will be able to continue its outreach in Philadelphia public schools with a $10,000 DVLF grant that it will use for the LGBT trainings led by the Bryson Institute.
Giusti said because of the cuts in the public-school system, programs such as guidance-counselor services and gay-straight alliances took a hit, threatening services LGBT students depend on.
“They really help and step up to combat some of the issues in the Philly school systems,” Giusti said of The Attic. “The Attic still wants to do the training in the schools and schools still want them but they need private funding.”
For young adults who outgrew The Attic’s services, William Way LGBT Community Center stepped up last year to meet that need. The center’s Loft 23 program, geared toward those ages 23-29, will receive $2,500 to continue its innovative work.
“The Attic found a lot of 23-, 24- and 25-year-olds could still benefit from the supportive services that they gave, so based on this need, the William Way stepped forward to see if they could direct this community need to provide a social place for young adults to come together,” Giusti said. “They found a real interest and real need and gained a lot of members, so they have decided to do it again this year.”
Giusti said Loft 23 is looking into getting LGBT seniors involved with the young adults to create intergenerational programming as well as provide job readiness and life-skills training.
The LGBT Elder Initiative will receive $6,000 for its Conversations series.
Giusti said both the organization and the community-discussion program are an integral part in educating the community about the needs of LGBT seniors.
“As we know in our community, we have an aging population, as in every minority group, and they are at risk for discrimination,” she said. “The initiative is working really hard to make sure people are aware of the issues impacting LGBT seniors and that they are being mindful of these issues.”
The Women’s Therapy Center will receive its first grant from DVLF. According to Giusti, the $5,000 grant will support the organization’s work with the transgender community.
“They’ve been trying to remove some barriers to mental health for women in the region and, in the last several years, they realized there was a need for mental-health services for the trans community,” she said. “This is something they wanted to do and DVLF is giving them the money to help make sure they have space to integrate mental-health services.”
The PRIDE Program at the Valley Youth House will also receive its first-ever grant, for $5,000, from DVLF.
The program, which helps provide services and opportunities specifically for homeless LGBT youth, will use the grant to continue their work.
“The work they are doing is not being replicated anywhere else in our area,” Giusti sad. “We know that the majority of homeless youth are LGBT-identified, so their services are critical. This program is made to serve the LGBT community and we felt it was important to step in and help.”
Giusti said she is excited to give back to organizations that provide unique programs that meet the vast emerging needs of the LGBT community.
“It is such a diverse group who are tackling diverse needs in the community, whether it is with homelessness, elder-adult issues, sexuality within ethnicity and race, tackling programs in response to the budget cuts or the long mental-health waitlist for trans folks,” she said. “We are really lucky to be a part of this community where we have so many service providers on the front lines and tackling prevailing needs of our community.”