Celebrating Jim Bryson
On a beautiful, sunny, fall morning in September, Jim Bryson’s friends and family gathered to celebrate Jim’s impact on and dedication to Philadelphia’s LGBT community as he prepares for his move to California. Organized by The Attic Youth Center and The William Way LGBT Community Center, two organizations that are near and dear to Jim’s heart, the celebratory event featured a delicious brunch and a time for the community to reflect on Jim’s influence and “Jimpact” over the last thirty years. Kelly Kroehle, Director of The Attic’s Bryson Institute, gave a moving presentation about the history of The Bryson Institute and the impact that The Institute’s work has had on the Philadelphia region over the last 12 years. Three Attic youth who work with The Institute also shared their stories of how The Institute’s work has touched and influenced their lives, both personally and professionally. Jim also got to hear kind words from Carrie Jacobs, The Attic’s Executive Director, Chris Bartlett, William Way’s Executive Director, Ann Butchart, William Way’s Board Treasurer, and numerous close friends and family members. A highlight of the event was hearing Jim’s magnificent singing voice when we surprised him by asking him to sing “They Say Its Wonderful” from Annie Get Your Gun accompanied on piano by Deena Underwood, one of the founding youth members of The Bryson Institute. While bittersweet, the send-off brunch was a powerful celebration of a man whose generous and committed heart has influenced immeasurable change in the lives of LGBTQ individuals and organizations in Philadelphia and beyond.
About Jim Bryson
Jim Bryson has been an activist fighting for systematic change and individual empowerment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people since the mid 1980’s. His work in the community includes creating, funding, mentoring, and promoting organizations and initiatives that empower, advocate, serve, and educate around LGBTQ needs and issues.
In his work with The Attic Youth Center, he founded and helped fund The Bryson Institute for Sexual and Gender Diversity Education, which provides education and training about issues facing LGBTQ youth in schools, social service agencies, and religious organizations throughout the tri-state area.
In addition to his work with The Bryson Institute, Jim has served as a pillar in the LGBTQ community, both locally and nationally. His contributions include serving as the Convener of the Philadelphia OutGivers and helping to establish the HRC Philadelphia Steering and Political Committees and the HRC National Business Council. Additionally, Jim served as a founding Board Member of both ActionAIDS and Delaware Valley Legacy Fund.
Jim’s efforts have been integral to the organization and continued success of LGBTQ activism in Philadelphia, and his leadership in the community continues to inspire others to create social change. Bryson had a successful career as an insurance brokering business owner and was a leader in his segment of the insurance industry. After retirement, he dedicated his time and financial resources to working towards political and institutional change for LGBTQ individuals. Jim also provides philanthropic support to the community via the James H. Bryson Charitable Foundation, the James H. Bryson Fund at The Philadelphia Foundation, and the Jim Bryson Personal Non-Profit Grant Pool.
Founded in 2000, the mission of The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center is to improve the climate and support systems for LGBTQ youth by working with the various systems in which youth participate.