ALHI gets boost from $115,000 in grants

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image When it rains it pours. At least that’s what it seems like lately at the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative thanks to two new grants and a third pledge to support their DeKalb Avenue home.

ALHI, as Project Q Atlanta reported last week, was among four community-based organizations sharing $60,000 to link health organizations with researchers from Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia Tech. The grant brings ALHI $15,000 per year for the next two years to address the need to shift women’s health messages to be more inclusive of women who are more masculine in their gender identity.

The funding is “huge” for the organization at a time when the group is struggling financially, according to Linda Ellis, ALHI’s executive director. ALHI has responded to the economic downturn with budget cuts that include lowering Ellis’ salary and hours, and by partnering with two other LGBT groups for office space.

But the news gets better: ALHI has also received an $85,000 one-year grant to work with the state to determine tobacco usage and prevention methods among LGBT people, according to the GA Voice. The federal funds are being funneled through the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program of the Georgia Department of Community Health.

“It’s my understanding this is the first time the state has provided funding for LGBT health concerns other than HIV,” Ellis said. “This is significant. I think it’s exciting [the state approached us] and it’s potentially groundbreaking.”

The funds will be used for a full research project to include a community assessment, focus groups and in-person surveys, Ellis said. ALHI has partnered with Dr. Lawrence Bryant, an assistant professor at Georgia State University whose research includes tobacco control and elimination.

In August, the Phillip Rush Center is expected to receive a $25,000 grant from the Lloyd E. Russell Foundation. The center is home to ALHI, Georgia Equality and MEGA Family Project, and provides meeting space for several other groups and events. The grant supports efforts to raise $100,000 to expand the center, which came as part of a meeting among leaders of several LGBT organizations last month about the need for a community center.

Justin Ziegler, executive director of the Atlanta Executive Network, and Realtor Barb Rowland organized the meeting to gather feedback on their idea to plan for a multi-million dollar facility. Ziegler announced the grant two weeks later.


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