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Cactus Plants

At the beginning of 2020 we committed to strengthening our sustainability and raising our profile locally, regionally, and nationally. Here's how we accomplished that this year, thanks to your generous contributions.


  • We applied for and were awarded over $133,700 in grants in FY 2020

  • On El Paso Giving Day (10/15/20), the BRC raised over $16,000 in donations from over 100 donors in 24 hours - our highest totals to date!

  • We have hired new staff members to meet the growing needs of our community! We currently have over 10 part-time employees and 3 full-time employees and are in the process of hiring more, as well as welcoming three new CARES Act-funded interns from UTEP for the spring semester.

  • Every month since March 2020, Drag Queen Story Hour - El Paso has been hosted virtually on the DQSH Facebook page, and we successfully completed a fundraising campaign for our annual budget that met its goal in a little over two weeks!  

  • We’ve continued to provide therapy and peer support virtually, and our internship program to train future social workers and mental health professions is thriving.

  • Generous donations like yours allowed us to purchase a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for our drive-through food pantry, which assists in feeding the unprecedented surge in households relying upon the BRC food pantry distribution during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.  Our food pantry is one of our biggest success stories during this challenging time, which now also offers delivery to the most vulnerable clients.


  • The BRC's training division is called the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso (DRIEP), which provides training to healthcare professionals on topics such as LGBTQ+ Sensitivity and Deaf Awareness and Sensitivity.

  • DRIEP partnered with local educators to create a new series of workshops for children and their families, called Foundations.  These workshops introduce children and their families to the concepts of racism in the United States and will give them tools and resources to become anti-racist activists in their own schools and community groups.  These workshops are taught by local educators with developmentally appropriate activities for children in kindergarten through 8th grade, and will debut in the spring of 2021.

  • The BRC continues its participation and partnership in the ongoing coalition-building of agencies and institutions serving LGBTQ+ folks, work that was begun under the aegis of the El Paso Community Foundation and continues independently today.


  • DRIEP Fellows and BRC employees applied and their presentations were accepted to be presented at the Out in West Texas Symposium

    • Arlette Werthmann, LCSW-S and Kathryn Schmidt, LMSW- "Transgender Youth in Foster Care: Advocating for Excellence"

    • Ashley Heidebrecht "Intersectionality and Inclusive Practice"  and "Opportunity to Thrive: Trans Youth Empowerment"

    • Brian Antonio Sieve, "Healing Arts in the Borderland"

  • Thanks to our partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), we hosted a very successful Cafecito on October 15, 2020.  This live-streamed conversation included local panelists talking about aging, accessing benefits and the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ seniors in our region.  The conversation is archived on our YouTube channel.


  • DRIEP has provided anti-racism training to nearly 50,000 people across the USA as well as almost 2000 health professionals (as of Dec 2020).

  • The BRC founded an officially licensed chapter of the international Drag Queen Story Hour movement, of which there are 51 chapters world-wide! Visit to check out this incredible community of storytellers and performers!  Our chapter has been operating since February of 2018, and we're just about to celebrate our 2nd birthday.  Join the fun on our Facebook page and Instagram feed!

  • Another aspect of our partnership with NCOA was networking with a national cohort of nonprofits to discuss, share and address financial security issues for aging adults.  This network has led to an increase in donations from individuals all over the country, as well as our participation in their annual national conference reaching over 40,000 participants.

Cactus Plants

The COVID-19 pandemic definitely disrupted our operations, but I am so proud of our agency’s ability to pivot, reframe, and continue offering the high-quality services and resources you’ve come to expect from us.  As we continue our 5th year of service to this community, we invite you to become a sustaining donor.  Help us strengthen our commitment to you today!  

Please visit our Facebook page & the rest of this newly redesigned website to see more of our events and updates.

With deep gratitude, 




Brenda A. Risch, PhD, LMSW
Executive Director

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