Local non-profit struggles to keep doors open

The Balm in Gilead issues plea for help

Marlene Jones | 6/5/2013, 2:12 p.m.
Pernessa Seele

— Dr. Pernessa Seele has sent an urgent letter to supporterss urging financial help for the non-profit organization she founded more than 23 years ago.

The Balm In Gilead, Inc., which develops educational and training programs designed to meet the unique needs of African American and African congregations that strive to become community centers for health education and disease prevention, is struggling to keep its doors open. Part of the struggle has come from funding cuts due to sequestration.

"We really need your help!," wrote Seele in her June 5 e-mailed letter, in which she notes that it is an urgent matter of the non-profit's viability.

"As an honorable steward of resources, we have provided life-saving health information and services to over 3.5 million African Americans and over 10 million Africans through their places of worship," wrote Seele. "In Tanzania, The Balm In Gilead supports orphans & vulnerable children and HIV testing & counseling services located in rural and remote villages throughout the region.

"We come to you at this critical juncture at a time when our country is facing severe, economic challenges. The results of the congressional sequestration, which cancelled billions of dollars in budgetary allocations for the remaining of this fiscal year, has heavily impacted The Balm In Gilead's funding.

"These unprecedented cuts are gravely challenging The Balm In Gilead's ability to continue our work of providing critical health education training and services here at home and aboard at a time when so much more is needed to combat the proliferation of HIV, hepatitis C, cervical cancer and sexual violence.

Seele is urging supporters to commit to whatever tax deductible commitment they can manage. The options available to support the organization include:

  • Going online to www.balmingilead.org and click 'Donate' to use your credit card

  • Call 888-225-6243 and make your donation with your credit card

Mail your contribution to The Balm In Gilead, Inc. 4108 E. Parham Road, Richmond, VA 23228