Philly AIDS Thrift gives out $324K in grants to Delaware Valley organizations

Philly AIDS Thrift last month awarded more than $324,000 in grants to 31 HIV/AIDS service organizations.
Philly AIDS Thrift last month awarded more than $324,000 in grants to 31 HIV/AIDS service organizations. (Photo: Courtesy of Aversa PR)

A local Pennsylvania nonprofit thrift store last month announced they would award more than $324,000 in grants to 31 HIV/AIDS service organizations and their programs that are centered on care and prevention in the Delaware Valley. Philly AIDS Thrift and Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room held a presentation celebration on Feb. 20 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, where they ceremoniously presented checks to representatives of the various recipients organizations.

This year’s funding cycle brings the total amount that Philly AIDS Thrift has dispensed since it began direct funding in 2014 to $4.6 million. Prior to 2014, Philly AIDS Thrift funds had been dispensed through the city’s AIDS Fund.

According to board president Michael Byrne, Philly AIDS Thrift helps fund organizations throughout the Delaware Valley. 

“Our only criteria is that the receiving organization’s programs have a direct impact on those individuals whose lives have been impacted by HIV,” Byrne said.

Byrne acknowledges that the HIV/AIDS landscape has changed dramatically since Philly AIDS Thrift’s establishment in 2005. For example, people are living longer now, and the impact of living long term with HIV/AIDS has expanded into a wider range of communities, forcing the nonprofit to fund an ever-expanding range of programs and organizations.

Some of the more recent recipients include the Morris Home, Project SAFE, and Neighborhood United Against Drugs. They have also funded various HIV-related programs based out of local universities, such as the Student Harm Reduction Coalition at the University of Pennsylvania and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children at Drexel University. 

“It is amazing to all of us that we have surpassed the milestone of giving away over $4.6 million dollars since our inception,” said Philly AIDS Thrift Co-founder and Executive Director Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou in a statement. “Our staff and volunteers work very hard every day to make sure that we can make the biggest difference possible in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.” 

Philly AIDS Thrift’s annual funding cycle runs in two phases. Grant applications are accepted Oct. 1-Nov. 30 through the grant portal on their website. Then the application are considered by the the board’s funding committee through December and January.

Byrne admits to looking forward the most to February each year, when the grants are awarded. 

“To be able to have such a profound impact on programs that are doing tremendous work on behalf of individuals and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS across the Delaware Valley is truly humbling,” he said. “We are forever grateful for our staff, our volunteers, our donors and our loyal customers.”

Philly AIDS Thrift operates in two locations. The original thrift store, located at 710 S. 5th St., was established in 2005. In 2015, the organization took over operation of Giovanni’s Room, Philadelphia’s iconic community bookstore at 345 S. 12th St. Both locations are operated on a purely volunteer basis.

The list of 2023-2024 grantees included Action Wellness, African Family Health Organization, AIDS Delaware, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, Angels In Motion, Ark of Safety, The Attic Youth Center, Bebashi – Transition to Hope, Black and Latinx Community Control, Camp Dreamcatcher, El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas – CATA, The Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice – Drexel University, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children – Drexel University, Family Service of Chester County, Family Services of Montgomery County, Mazzoni Center, MANNA – Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, Morris Home, Neighborhood United Against Drugs, One Day At A Time, Planned Parenthood Keystone, Prevention Meets Fashion, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project SAFE, Siloam Wellness, SOL Collective / La Luna Foundation, Student Harm Reduction Coalition – University of Pennsylvania, The COLOURS Organization, The Everywhere Project, UNAIDS at Penn – University of Pennsylvania, and William Way LGBT Community Center.

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