Pittsburgh’s Lambda Foundation Announces Grant Recipients

As you probably recall, Lambda recently celebrated 25 years of grant making, totalling nearly $1 million in support for Pittsburgh's LGBT community.  A few thousand at a time.  That's a lot of seeds, my friends. If you read through the list of grants, you'll see an interesting range in programs — HIV prevention, social and recreational opportunities, youth oriented activities, queer women's health services as well as the arts.  What's so uplifting about this array is just the wonderful diversity of Pittsburgh's queer community.  We have a lot going on and there were other projects that weren't able to be funded.  How awesome! 


Lambda is shepherding Pittsburgh's queer community into the 21st century in a holistic manner which creates some concrete opportunities to forge connections with our heterosexual allies.  Thanks to responsible stewardship, Lambda has been part of nearly every significant LGBTQ initiative in Pittsburgh's history (and herstory). I personally took a greater interest in their inner workings when they stepped up with a last minute sponsorship of the 2008 Dyke March.  That was classy and quite essential to something we very much need in Pittsburgh — investments in alternative voices. 


Congratulations to the recipients.




The Lambda Foundation exists to foster for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People- educational, social, cultural, health and artistic projects and programs in the Greater Pittsburgh area through grants and scholarships to organizations and individuals.


The Lambda Foundation was incorporated in 1983. The first grants were awarded in 1984. Over the past 26 years the Foundation has awarded nearly $1,000,000 back to the community.


These grants were made possible by the participation of our individual contributors, our Annual Ball participants, our corporate sponsors, UPMC and Merrill Lynch and our special contributors Scott Noxon, Paul Gitnik, Kirk Johnson and Henry Kravovsky.


The Lambda Foundation would like to thank the following organizations for the opportunity to co-participate in such worthy projects.


       Persad Center, Inc. $1925.00

       Persad, founded in 1972, is the nation’s second oldest licensed mental health counseling center specifically created to meet the needs of the GLBT

       Community. Funds will be used for the Closing the Gap Afterschool Project.


 Renaissance City Choirs $1925.00

 The Renaissance City Choirs is a non-profit organization comprised of the Renaissance City Men’s Choir and the Renaissance City Women’s Choir.

 RCC’s artistic vision is to be recognized as a cultural institution in the greater Pittsburgh area.  Funds will be used to enhance their website


             Dreams of Hope $1540.00

Dreams of Hope develop leaders within the LGBT youth community and promote awareness and understanding through the creative and performing arts. Funding will support their 2009 Season.


The Open Door, Inc. $1540.00

The Open Door, Inc.’s mission is to provide a supportive housing program that improves the health of the forgotten population of high risk, chronically homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. Funds will be used for their operating budget.


Adagio Health, Inc. $1540.00

Funds will be used to provide breast and cervical cancer health education and screening opportunities at the GLCC to lesbian and bi-sexual women, with no cost services available to women who are under-insured or uninsured.


The Mattress Factory, Ltd. $1540.00

The Mattress Factory is a museum of contemporary art that supports the creation and exhibition of site-specific installation art. Funds will enable the museum to permanently install “It’s all about ME, Not You”, Greer Lankton’s (1958-1996) final work. This work documents Greer’s life and experience as a trans-gender person coming to terms with Midwestern values (which she embraced in a way) in contrast to the freedom of New York’s East Village in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.


Shepherd Wellness Community $1500.00

Shepherd Wellness Community offers a program of support and assistance to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Funds will be used for purchase of equipment.


Women’s Law Project $1155.00

Funds will be used to expand efforts to educate and enlist women’s organizations and other allies in the struggle for LGBT rights.


Charles Christen, Med, LPC $1000.00

Funds are to be used to fulfill the requirements for a doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, as well as further the research related to gay men’s health. The overarching goal of this research project is to explore and describe the motivations, attitudes, beliefs and intentions (MABI) related to sex partner acquisition of men who have sex with men between the ages of 18 to 39 years old and with either a low number (1-2) or high number (over10) of sex partners in the past year. A secondary purpose of this study is to explore MABI related to acquisition of sexual partners and the possible association of these MABI with HIV transmission.


Steel City Softball League $1000.00

The purpose of the Steel City Softball League is to provide and protect the opportunity for individuals who support the bonds of fellowship, to play softball in an atmosphere of friendly competition, free from discrimination on the basis of adult age, race, creed, sex and ability. The league will foster and maintain the spirit of good fellowship and true sportsman ship. Funds will be used to keep registration fees down for their members in the face of a fifteen percent increase in expenses.


GLSEN, Pittsburgh $1000.00

Funds will be used to expand GLSEN, Pittsburgh’s “Unified! Safe Prom for All”. “Unified! Safe Prom for All” is a program designed in response to the findings of the latest school climate survey conducted by GLSEN National and Harris Interactive. Of the 6,209 middle and high school respondents 9 out of 10 (86.2%) experienced harassment at school in the past year. GLSEN Pittsburgh’s “Unified! Safe Prom for All” allow local students a venue to meet others, gather information, enjoy themselves and have a truly grand experience in a safe environment.






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  • Good to read some good news. Congratulations to the Lambda Foundation for 26 years of making grants. And thank you, too, for being something we can be proud of.

  • I very surprised that you haven't done your research Sue.
    The Lambda Foundation got its original funding from the Pittsburgh Tavern Guild who produced the Picnics at North Park.
    The Memorial and Labor Picnics have gone on for over 30 years and this was the original money that started and funded the Lambda Foundation.
    That being said the picnics back in the '80's were known for drinking lots of beer, going in to the woods and having sex.
    So this money that's being awarded to these many causes…is dirty money!
    So once again the gay men have moved in, used sex and alcohol, and made a difference in our community.
    What are ones feelings on that?

  • Every single organization in this City got their start with bar money because bars were the original community hubs for people who identify as LGBTQ. There's nothing shameful about that nor with the idea of “drinking beer, going into the woods and having sex.” 90% of teenagers in America engage in some variation of that behavior.
    The difference is that it isn't 1983. Lambda Foundation has moved forward with the community and with society. We no longer “have” to organize beer/sex in the woods activities to give gay people something to do. There's plenty of things to do and plenty of places to have a beer and plenty of places to have sex. We don't have to hide in the woods, we can attend the picnics as one of many social opportunities available thanks in part to groups like Lambda.
    Bar owners continue to make significant contributions to the community. I don't believe I've made sweeping generalizations about bar owners. The good news is that organizations like Lambda have diversified their fundings sources, tapping into individual contributions and monies from the larger community. It is a sign that the original investment paid off, but does anyone really want to go back to 1983 when a picnic in the park was it?
    You are comparing apples and oranges. Lambda doesn't hide from their origins and continues to have the support of bar owners, like Scott Noxon. The bar owners, to my knowledge, aren't pretending to be one thing for zoning purposes and really running a different type of business altogether. As Gary Van Horn acknowledged to me, acquiring a bar permit is a challenging process. I don't think you could buy off the LCB, but I could be wrong. Why would you need to?
    The point, my friend, is that this is 2009 and 26 years after the founding of Lambda, we can move away from a community that relied solely upon the goodwill of gay men, the sale of alcohol and the lure of sex to create social progress for our community. That's a good thing. Now we have lesbians running organizations, government funding and all sorts of diverse queer projects being driven by alternative queer voices. I myself just attended a fundraiser in a bar that had celebrated female sexuality as a fundraiser (Dykes on Bikes). That legacy is not dead by any stretch of the imagination, it just doesn't look the same as it did in 1983.
    So that would pretty much be my feelings and my thoughts, based on facts and personal observation. It ain't 1983 anymore, my friend. And that's a good thing,

  • What is it, exactly, that separates the gay community from the straight community if not sex? That's the only difference I see between the two; who we have sex with. That is the ONLY thing that makes us a community.
    And BTW, Lambda does NOT support the picnics. Nor did they support Pride last year.

  • The statement about Lambda is not true. Lambda sponsored a major event with Joan Rivers as part of Pride, along with the Dyke March. They also had the booth directly behind mine. Those are significant investments of time, money and other resources. My understanding is that the Pride Festival cleared a profit so surely you cannot be complaining about that.
    Also, do not forget that Lambda gave the Pride in the Streets team their Community Service award a few years ago.
    You are being deliberately provocative and spreading false information about Lambda. Get your fact straight so to speak.

  • Sue,
    As a member of the PrideFest Committee i can attest to the fact that PrideFest did NOT make any money. They put extra entertainment, police, stages, sound, kids area, that was more expensive then the past.
    Delta as a whole lost I think 5K on the Pride related events (i am not 100% certain on that number) but PrideFest did loose money.
    Pride as a whole is to break even…at least that's the goal of the Delta folks.
    I am not speaking on behalf of Pride PrideFest or Delta…but this is my recollection.

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