To our incredible friends and supporters:

We are quickly approaching A Cause For Applause 2022, our annual benefit for Elder Initiative @ William Way, held on June 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and I would like to express my gratitude for all of the people who allow us the space to do our work. Thank you to our supporters, volunteers, sponsors, donors, program participants, and coalition partners – without your hard work and support, our mission would be no more than a dream.

In recognizing and celebrating the individuals and organizations who work with us to achieve our goals, we realize the importance of acknowledging those who came before us. The pioneers and leaders of our LGBTQ communities have always given so much to their contemporaries and to the generations that have followed them.

As the elder generations age, it is up to us to step into their shoes and carry forth the torch of care. I am proud to have the Elder Initiative as part of the William Way Community Center to bolster our commitment to our LGBTQ older adults.

The Elder Initiative @ William Way has combined the educational initiatives, social programs, resource-sharing, and advocacy work of two formerly independent entities under one roof. This new structure allows us to strengthen our policy voice, develop new programmatic offerings, reach a broader audience of LGBTQ elders, and nourish connections within our community.

As we find ourselves in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to be a priority to foster opportunities for connection within our older adult communities. While the pandemic forced us to pivot some of our work, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to supporting older adults through community education, peer support, advocacy work, and supportive services.

In addition to celebrating the work of the EI @ WW, we are thrilled to honor the contributions of extraordinary leaders in our community and the aging services network. Michael Byrne, the recipient of this year’s Edwin J. Bomba Memorial Award for Advocacy, has been an exceptional advocate in our community for many years. Through roles at ActionAIDS (now Action Wellness), the AIDS Fund, and Philly AIDS Thrift, Michael has raised millions of dollars for individuals affected by HIV. He is an unsung hero in our community and his work has touched the lives of many LGBTQ people in the Delaware Valley.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the recipient of this year’s Founders’ Award for LGBTQ Equity, is leading the way in making Pennsylvania a welcoming place for LGBTQ people to grow older. Under the leadership of Secretary Robert Torres, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging has become a nationally recognized example of how state agencies can become more responsive to the unique needs facing LGBTQ older adults.

If you are already joining us for A Cause For Applause 2022, I want to express my thanks and appreciation. Thank you for being a major part of our work of supporting LGBTQ older adults. If you are still undecided, I encourage you to join us for a wonderful evening of fun and celebrating the work of the Elder Initiative @ William Way!


Chris Bartlett
Executive Director

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