On January 29, 2011, Dignity/Washington was the recipient of the Founders Award from Brother, Help Thyself— an umbrella charity operating like a United Fund for LGBT causes in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metropolitan areas. In its 33-year history, the organization has given away more than $2 million in grants to charitable groups that serve the LGBT community, or further the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. The group presented nearly $100,000 of grants for the year 2010 at a reception in Baltimore on January 29, 2011. It also announced its annual service recognition awards including the one to Dignity/Washington.
As the Dignity/Washington officers and board were on retreat the day of the grants reception and could not attend the reception, Brother, Help Thyself president Joann Kokindo, executive director Tom Yates and treasurer Mark Clark presented the award the following day at the end of the Dignity/Washington Sunday Mass.
Yates said that one factor prompting the selection of Dignity/Washington for special recognition was the chapter’s history of being supportive of the operations of Brother, Help Thyself. For several years, the chapter has made space at its Dignity Center available at no charge for the charitable group to conduct its annual grant hearings. Starting at the end of 2009, the group has been occupying a small office in the Dignity Center and holding its regular meetings there, paying a modest monthly donation in lieu of rent. Clark noted that the amount paid for the space is only about a third of what was previously being paid for commercial office and meeting space.
The award reads: “The Board of Directors of Brother, Help Thyself, Inc., present the Founders Award to Dignity/Washington for dedicated service and support to the gay and lesbian community. Presented this 29th Day of January 2011.”