The Queen Eddie Youth Fund was established by City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Imperial Court Board Member Nathan Garcia and Imperial Court de San Diego in conjunction with the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
Named in honor of LGBT community leader, army veteran, columnist and entertainer Eddie Conlon, the Fund provides assistance to San Diego youth ages 13 - 18 for education related expenses, books, supplies and clothing. Queen Eddie was a fixture in San Diego's LGBT movement for more than 30 years. A beloved entertainer, his performances benefited nearly every charity organization in the LGBT and HIV communities. Queen Eddie particularly valued younger members of the LGBT community and adamantly believed in their capacity to bring about change. His belief in the power of knowledge and education is the basis for this scholarship fund.
For over 20 years, the Imperial Court has been a strong and constant supporter of the HIV/AIDS community of Tijuana, Mexico under the leadership of Nicole Murray-Ramirez. In the early years of the AIDS crisis, Nicole founded the San Diego AIDS Assistance Fund and Food Bank. He became aware of the extreme hardship of people living with AIDS in Tijuana and organized fundraisers with the Imperial Court playing a great part. As a then-appointed member of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on AIDS, Nicole sought strong support through then-mayor Maureen O'Connor and her Chief of Staff Benjamin F. Dillingham, III. They even arrange for "body bags" to be donated to Tijuana because many people who have died from AIDS in Mexico were not being accorded a proper burial.
When the Imperial Court System of the USA and Canada learned of the continuing dire situation in Tijuana, they also began raising funds for the Tijuana HIV/AIDS community. To date, over hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised through the hard work of local volunteers and Courts in the United States and Canada. This Fund not only provides financial assistance to various agencies in Tijuana, it has also donated medicine, body bags and other essential items including a new oven, refrigerator and heaters for the Tijuana AIDS Hospice.
The Thanksgiving Community Dinner was started by AIDS activist Scott Carlson back in the early 80s to provide a communal gathering for people living with AIDS during Thanksgiving to share a meal and spend time with people who cared. When Scott passed away, the community banded together and continued this tradition. Former Empress and City Commissioner Julia Legaspi dedicated herself every year to make sure that the Court provides substantial financial and volunteer support to ensure that the dinner is always a festive and memorable affair. In 2004, the Imperial Court, along with the First Unitarian Universalist Church, took over the lead role of securing the continuation of this wonderful tradition and named the event as the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Community Dinner in his honor.
The Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund was established by the Imperial Court de San Diego in conjunction with The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center.
Named in honor of then-San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins, the Fund assists low income lesbian and bisexual women in need of medical treatment, referrals, support, education, advocacy and guidance through the healthcare system.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has been active in both the LGBT and women’s communities since 1987, when she joined the staff of Womancare Health Center in Hillcrest. As director of clinic services, she helped expand clinic services by acquiring the Los Angeles Feminist Women’s Health Center and opening Womancare South Clinic in San Diego’s South Bay. She also worked with The Center’s Lesbian Health Project to implement the first Lesbian Health Fair in 1991 as part of the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival.
Speaker Atkins has served as president of the Coalition for Reproductive Choice, co-chair of The Center’s Lesbian Health Project, and on the Planned Parenthood board of directors and the Womancare board of directors. She was recognized in 1997 as San Diego’s LGBT Pride’s “Woman of the Year.”
Women who wish to access funds from the Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund will need to fill out a short application.
Applications are available at The Center (3909 Centre Street) and may be downloaded from The Center’s website (www.thecentersd.org).
The annual Winter Blanket Drive was started many years ago after a news report that many deaths among young children and elderly people in Tijuana were directly attributed to the cold winter months. Currently, the blanket drive also distributes donated blankets not only in Mexico but also to some homeless shelters in the San Diego area.
Founded in 2003 by City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez and Linda Childers, the Easter Egg Hunt is an annual event where children and parents of LGBT community and other families come together for A day of fun in the park. During the first year, over 125 children attended with their families. In 2004, over 300 children were in attendance. 2005 brought over 400 children to Trolley Barn Park for the egg hunt, with each taking home an Easter Basket full of goodies, stuffed animals, toys and even bikes and wagons, all donated by businesses, friends and families of the LGBT community. Our 11th year, 2011, brought more than 600 children to the event.
The Imperial Court's annual Toys for Kids drive, the oldest holiday toy drive of the LGBT community, was established in 1974 after the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation refused to except donations from the homosexual community. From the time of its inception, the Toys for Kids program has brought holiday cheer to thousands of children throughout San Diego County and Mexico.
Established in July 2000, the Benjamin F. Dillingham III Community Grant is awarded over $100,000 in financial assistance and made a difference for many in our community. The Dillingham Grant has provided financial assistance for medical expenses and burial expenses (limit of $500) including a 12-year-old boy who's family had no money to bury their son. The Dillingham Grant also provided financial assistance to a lesbian who was fiercely attacked by a pitbull and had no medical coverage and a 70-year-old man who's apartment was completely destroyed by fire. The Benjamin F. Dillingham III Community Grant has also made financial contributions to the LGBT Youth Center, Community AIDS Partnership, Gay Youth Alliance, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Community Coalition of North County.
The student scholarship program was founded in 1979 to assist San Diego area students achieve their goals of the vocational, technical or professional careers. Many recipients of the Scholarship have gone on to become lawyers, teachers and prominent business leaders; able to contribute to the San Diego lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in ways they could not have done otherwise.
The Imperial Court de San Diego is the trustee of the Student Scholarship program and raises the funds needed for scholarships. Since it's inception, the program has given over $200,000 in scholarships.