Philly AIDS Thrift announces $372k in grants

Michele Zipkin

In keeping with its annual tradition of donating a portion of its sales to HIV/AIDS service organizations, Philly AIDS Thrift (PAT) and Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room announced that its latest round of grants will award over $372,000 to 33 Delaware Valley organizations. This year brings PAT’s total donations to $4 million since the grant program’s inception. PAT staff and board members presented this year’s checks to recipients in a celebratory event at William Way LGBT Community Center on February 22.

“This is, by far, my favorite moment of the year,” Philly AIDS Thrift Board President Michael Byrne said in a press release. “It is truly humbling to be able to have an impact on programs that are doing incredible work on behalf of individuals and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS across the Delaware Valley.”

“[I am] so honored to be receiving the Philly AIDS Thrift grant this year,” Prevention Meets Fashion (PMF) Executive Director and Founder Nhakia Outland said in an email. Focusing on people of color and LGBTQ identities, PMF offers a variety of programs and resources geared toward fashion, sex education, advocacy and community.

Outland and the PMF team will use the grant to perpetuate their work around sex education and youth in Philadelphia, specifically in support of the Youth Gender-Based Violence Prevention Project (GBV). The GBV Project is part of the organization’s initiatives to expand sexual health knowledge, prevention and care in BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. PMF social work intern Amonna Pinkney is one of the sex ed instructors on the GBV Prevention Project.

“The GBV Prevention Project is an important tool in reducing and understanding violence and the transmission of HIV and other STIs in youth,” Outland added. “We hope to create safer spaces to uplift youth voices and for them to learn. We will also partner with several community-based and youth serving organizations to broaden our reach.”

Tatyana Woodard and Bishop Romaine Gibbs co-founded Ark of Safety LGBTQ+ Safe Haven, a relatively new, faith-based housing resource for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness, with a special focus on trans women of color. Ark of Safety offers overnight stays, emergency housing and rapid rehousing.

“It feels good for Ark of Safety’s work to be recognized and valued enough to be funded by such a great organization,” Woodard said.

Woodard and the team will allocate their grant money toward the newly-launched community resource hub, which offers health education, HIV prevention and harm reduction to those in need.

“We know that with HIV prevention we do have to tackle some of those social determinants of health before we can even have the conversation on HIV prevention,” Woodard said. As such, Ark of Safety provides bimonthly hot meals, hygiene kits, safer drug use kits and COVID-19 testing.

“We are always grateful for the support we receive from Philly AIDS Thrift,” Sebrina Tate, executive director of Bebashi, said in an email. With a focus on physical and mental health for Black and Brown people, Bebashi offers a variety of healthcare and educational resources, including medical case management, HIV and other STI screenings, support groups, prevention education and more.

“This year we pivoted our ask to support the clinical aspect of our organization in an effort to provide sound and culturally competent health care to our city’s most underserved populations,” Tate said. “We are thrilled that Philly AIDS Thrift has supported our efforts to narrow the gap in health disparities impacting our consumers.”

Tyrell Brown, interim executive director at galaei, which serves QTBIPOC communities, said the org hopes to use the PAT grant to support a full service housing initiative that will be combined with its existing programs. Some of galaei’s current resources include HIV education, coaching and youth drop-in support, comprehensive sex ed workshops, linkage to culturally competent healthcare, and meeting groups for trans and nonbinary youth.

“We are pleased and so grateful to be an awardee of the Philly AIDS Thrift grant,” Brown said in an email. “Philly AIDS Thrift, very much like galaei, has been a pillar of strength and resource for the LGBTQ and PLHIV community for decades.

“We know that LGBTQ folks are particularly more vulnerable to housing insecurity and homelessness. Studies show that 20% of all youth in the juvenile justice system identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit and/or gender nonconforming. We also know that homelessness is the greatest predictor of involvement with the juvenile justice system, with 40% of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ.”

With the knowledge that some of the keys to reducing HIV infections lie in providing housing and working to dismantle systemic racism, Black and Latinx Community Control of Health (BLCC) will use the funding to support “community people living with HIV doing community HIV organizing,” BLCC cofounder José de Marco said in an email. BLCC is made up of Black and Brown people living with HIV who are working to regain control of healthcare in their own communities.

“PAT realizes that the Black and Latinx Community are the experts of their lives by our lived experience and are best suited to address disparities in HIV infections,” de Marco said. “PAT recognizes in 2023 HIV prevention is housing, addressing systemic racism, social and economic injustices.”

This year’s grantees are Action Wellness, African Family Health Organization (AFAHO), AIDS Delaware, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, Angels In Motion, Ark of Safety, Bebashi – Transition to Hope, Black and Latinx Community Control of Health, Camp Dreamcatcher, Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA), Drexel’s Dorothy Mann Center, Drexel University, Family Service of Chester County, Family Services of Montgomery County, galaei, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), Neighborhood United Against Drugs, One Day At A Time, Philadelphia Black Pride, Pink and Blues, Planned Parenthood Keystone, Prevention Meets Fashion, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Morris Home, Safehouse, Serenity House, Siloam Wellness, SOL Collective, The Attic Youth Center, The COLOURS Organization, UNAIDS at Penn and William Way LGBT Community Center.

To honor the $4 million total donation mark, Philly AIDS Thrift invites the public to a two-day celebration on Feb. 24 and 25, where customers can avail themselves of discounts, refreshments and “joyful madness” at both PAT locations.

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OURfest: National Coming Out Festival will take place on Sunday, October 8, 2023, from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, with resource fair and family zone from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, and last call for mobile bars/food trucks at 6:30pm. OURfest looks to make history as the only parade in the country dedicated and inspired by National Coming Out Day. Come to Philly for the parade and festival, but stay for the weekend. LGBTQIA+ community members across the United States are invited to make their travel plans now for three days of events - with a kick-event being planned for Friday and many other events to be announced. Philadelphia region organizations and businesses are invited to be part of this historic weekend by hosting their own events all weekend long - before and after the parade and festival. Sign-ups are now open for the parade, festival and the weekend. For more about OURfest and how to sign up for the parade and festival, visit For a full list of all LGBTQIA+ events in the Greater Philadelphia region on that weekend, make sure to visit Philadelphia is a city of historic firsts - and the organization that broke records in June for “largest Gay Pride march and festival in Philadelphia history” and “largest Gay Pride Flag in Pennsylvania history” is ready to do it all over again. And yes, that 200 foot beautiful all-inclusive rainbow flag will be out and proud once again in the streets of Philadelphia. After a few years of pride programming being in flux, Galaei, a historic organization serving queer, trans, black, brown, indigenous, and people of color, has taken up the mantle for programming under the banner of Pride 365. This new program provided the Philadelphia Gay Pride March and Festival with new leadership, new stability and a renewed sense of community and purpose. 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We created a march where the entire LGBTQ+ community could participate, march together and raise up our voices. For National Coming Out, we see this is a key opportunity to share and celebrate our collective and individual stories of coming out. The parade allows for our community to experience and enjoy a visual display of how far we’ve come, to watch a moving and powerful show together, and to take a moment to enjoy the story of our coming out.” They added, “While there are similarities in that both are unifying, joyous, and celebratory, the distinction exist between them in that one is for enjoyment, while the former (“Love Light and Liberation” Pride March) was a public stand for all that we need and deserve from an advocacy standpoint that extends beyond visibility.” “Galaei is proud to be at the forefront of bringing both Pride and National Coming Out back from the pandemic, but even more so we are honored to help redefine what each of these means to our community now and moving forward.” OURFEST: NATIONAL COMING OUT PARADE OURfest: National Coming Out Parade will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, from 5th and Market to Broad and Locust. 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Food Truck Market, in partnership with The Food Truck Lady, will bring together some of the East Coast’s best and tastiest food trucks and mobile vendors to keep everyone happy and fed while they enjoy the day’s celebration. This area will create a buffer between the party goers and youth/sober areas - and offer food and drink at a variety of price points. In keeping with Galaei’s dedication to highlighting Queer and Trans Black and Brown traditions and forms of expression, Galaei is proud to present “Bailar con amor,” an ode to Afro-Latinx heritage art, dance and expression. Kiki Alley will return with a celebration space highlighting the rich culture and history of the Philadelphia ballroom community. This dedicated dance space will be a love letter to everything that is vogue. 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This area will feature comfortable seating, tables, accessible bathrooms, a cooling station, a wheelchair charging station, adult changing station and low-level music. This provides a space for elders, those living with disabilities, and others seeking rest and relaxation during the event. Community services will include medical tents for onsite medical needs such as dehydration and minor injuries. These medical services are provided by doctors and nurses from Bebashi and Mazzoni Center. Therapists for folks who are in mental health crisis or may be over stimulated, individuals trained to administer narcan, security managers, staff to answer all day of questions, Sign language and Spanish interpreters, and de-escalation specialists that will move to any point in the festival grounds or at the bars that they are needed. POP Wellness will feature local cbo’s to offer a one stop pop up wellness and resource station, linkage to testing, linkage to care and resources via case management opportunities. Attendees will be able to stop by to set an appointment, and speak to a case worker about linkages to resources, such as housing, healthcare, education, and employment. Corporate Way will be a space for selected vetted businesses that have supported the parade, festival and weekend. This space offers room for tabling, but ensures that the core festival beyond this area is centered around the larger OURfest community. Please stay tuned for a full list of vendors, food trucks, entertainment times, stage line-ups and more coming the week of the event. For more information on volunteering, participating, or sponsoring the festival, please visit our website, or email ABOUT GALAEI Galaei is comprised of a talented staff of black and brown, nonbinary, and trans organizers, who at our building and in the lgbtq+ community are committed to getting resources, providing empowerment, volunteer opportunities, and assistance to all while prioritizing the most marginalized in our QTBIPOC community. Galaei believes in celebrating pride year-round as queer and trans people because celebrations of our joy and love are implicitly an act of defiance against those who seek to oppress us. We are committed to using our events to educate, provide resources, and facilitate spaces of empowerment and love. ABOUT PRIDE 365 Every PRIDE festival is a crucial opportunity for our communities to join together in celebration, find family, get resources and share the love, art, and joy that are hallmarks of our community. Pride 365 is a new program of Galaei that seeks to elevate the experience of every Pride every year. By combining the unique and vibrant location of our Gayborhood, the stronghold of our queer businesses, supporting small queer and trans business owners, providing innovative programming, dynamic structure, and intention around how the space is curated, we endeavor to have a space for everyone.