Helping our Brothers and Sisters began as an annual dinner gathering held every November 10th to honor the Marine Corps and the gay and straight veterans who have served their country. It gained federal 501c3 status in 2008. HOBS evolved over time as its members discussed how to best manifest the spirit of service embodied by the United States armed forces.
HOBS donors sought a personal dimension to their giving. Instead of donating to a large organization and hoping for the best, HOBS donors wanted to know project details, how their money was spent, and who would benefit from their donations. To this day, HOBS donors find satisfaction in helping specific individuals achieve independence, self-sufficiency, and a restoration of hope.
HOBS slowly developed a network of connections with various local support organizations that contacts HOBS when they have GLBT clients with special needs that are not easily met by their agency's social service infrastructure. HOBS adopted a client process that it uses to this day, initially vetting cases to insure their legitimacy, then seeking funding for individual cases from its donor list, and finally, distributing funding directly to the vendor which provides the goods/services needed by the HOBS client (with some funding given directly to clients in certain circumstances).
HOBS has supported numerous clients during its short history, most notably gay rights icon Frank Kameny, for whom HOBS provided significant financial and emotional support during his final years. HOBS is limited in its reach but due to considerably less administrative costs than most non-profit organizations has succeeded in supporting many who have had nowhere else to turn.
In 2013, HOBS once again evolved to focus on those most in need: our veterans, with an emphasis on those who are a part of the GLBT community and those living with PTSD. HOBS staff is pursuing new opportunities for supporting this under-served community.
HOBS is the passion project of its founder, Dr. Marvin Carter. Dr. Carter joined the Marines in 1972. He has worked with the CIA and NSA in high-level intelligence capacities and has traveled to over 70 countries and to all 50 states, living diverse locations such as Japan, Bolivia, Haiti, and others.
Marvin has earned the Naval Aviation Observers Badge and a Joint Services Commendation Medal in addition to other honors. Functioning as a Mission Commander for several years in covert combat roles he risked his life daily to safeguard freedom.
For 20+ years he ran a consulting company that helped others deal with their innermost personal struggles. Prior to that, Marvin spent years in academia and training, both as a teacher and an administrator.
Dr. Carter’s commitment to activism began at a young age, yet his current work at HOBS is reinforced by his experiences as a solider and as a gay man. Undergoing water-boarding and POW experiences gave him a deeply personal perspective of torture, compelling HOBS past focus on torture cases. The long term effects of 14 years as a Marine, including torture, air plane crashes, and discharge from the service for being gay has fueled his drive for justice.
Dr. Carter was given an “other than honorable discharge” in 1986 when he admitted he was gay (when asked). Various intelligence agencies subjected him to a humiliating series of polygraphs to ascertain if being gay led him to spy and divulge government secrets, despite even military skeptics admitting that at least in his case, he was a true patriot. Yet, his efforts to help others continued even as he coped with the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Carter does not receive pay for his philanthropic work, and contributes a large portion of his meager disability compensation to helping others. He continues as an advocate to the highest levels of our government and society for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender (GLBT) rights, especially those of veterans.
HOBS embodies the 60+ years of Dr. Carter’s life through mentoring, education and direct support to individuals who many times have slipped through the cracks of our support systems. With a coalition of friends and family, he daily demonstrates what we can all do, even while living with a disability.