We've come a long way in the last few decades, but lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are still at greater risk than their heterosexual peers for physical abuse, homelessness, suicide, HIV infection, and dropping out of school. Committed to a better world for the next generation, SMYAL builds LGBTQ youth leaders, empowering them to engage their peers in service and advocacy projects. Teens create and manage Gay-Straight Alliances at their schools (proven to reduce bullying and harassment); youth trained in HIV prevention educate their peers about safer sex; and outstanding young leaders receive academic scholarships in recognition of their courage. Meanwhile, the Youth Center provides a safe, supportive space where teens can openly be themselves. Support groups explore self-esteem, health, sexual activity, drug abuse, and violence protection; free HIV testing and counseling are offered to all. SMYAL also trains teachers, social workers, and medical professionals to work with LGBTQ youth in an effective and affirming way. Some young people believe that harassment and isolation are facts of life. We know better.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Montgomery County; MD-Prince George's County; VA-Arlington County; VA-Fairfax County; VA-City of Alexandria; VA-City of Fairfax; VA-City of Falls Church

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Population(s) Served: Individuals who identify as LGBTQ; Individuals living with HIV/AIDs; Students; Gays/Lesbians; HIV/AIDs; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members

Awards & Recognition

GLAA Distinguished Service Award, April 2012
Washington Blade "Best Nonprofit" Award, 2011
Capital Pride Parade "Lady Gaga Award" for Best Theme and Energy, June 2011


  • Organization helps young LGBT community
    Thu Dec 4 2008  
    Washington, D.C.'s only completely youth-centered sexual orientation awareness group has created a place of belonging for LGBT teens in the Prince George's County and the District, bringing them together for events that range from movie nights to group counseling and making sure everyone who walks through its doors gets tested for HIV and is educated about safe sex.

Budget (FY2015)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

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