Anonymous donor throws "Lifeline" to Howard Brown; challenges community

Wed. November 10, 2010 5:12 AM by News Staff

Chicago, IL - Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC), a longtime medical care provider servicing Chicago's gay and lesbian community since 1974, announced today that it has received a $100,000-challenge grant in response to its Lifeline Appeal launched last Thursday.

The gift comes from an individual, who previously had a family member treated at Howard Brown. The donor, who chooses to remain anonymous, will match donations 1:1 up to $100,000, enabling donors to double the impact of their contribution to the appeal.

In a news conference last Thursday at the Center's facility in Lakeview, Jamal Edwards, President and CEO of Howard Brown and Board Chairman Mark Andrews, announced the facility faced a financial crisis which put the Center at risk of shutting its doors for good. They made an unprecedented appeal to the community to help raise $500,000 in 50 days in order to sustain its health and wellness services and to keep operating.

HCHC reports donations of all sizes started coming in from donors immediately upon the news last week. Within five days, the organization has raised $90,000 through donations - from on-line to cash donations by walk-in donors.

Upon hearing the news about the crisis, one donor called Edwards. After a brief, but emotional, conversation, the donor generously offered a $100,000 challenge grant for the appeal. The donor credits Howard Brown Health Center with saving his son's life and said, emphatically, "We can't let this happen; we can't let Howard Brown fail."

The challenge grant is contingent upon raising matching funds of $100,000 by Nov. 30.

"At the end of the day, it is because of the work we do - the life changing and life saving work - that people must, and will, support us. This gift confirms that, as does the immediate outpouring of community support we've received to date including gifts and the sharing of testimonials in our "50 Stories in 50 Days" series," said Rob Garofalo, M.D., who leads Howard Brown's nationally-renowned research division and is Howard Brown's expert on adolescent health.

HBHC is asking the community to participate in a "Lifeline" appeal by providing direct donations. Donations may be made directly on the Center's website, or call 773-388-1600.

Howard Brown is one of the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered health care organizations, and serves over 36,000 adults and youth each year.