BEST OF DAYTON: The Rubi Girls deliver fun, funds in support of Dayton-area charities

Ten girls… 592 wigs… countless sequins and close to $3 million dollars raised for local nonprofit organizations – The Rubi Girls have been making an impact in the Dayton community for close to four decades.

“We believe the main reason for our success is that our message is much bigger than the fact that we’re in women’s clothes,” said Josh Stucky, a.k.a. Dana Sintell, a founding member The Rubi Girls. “We want to help our community.”

More than high heels, lipstick and laughs, The Rubi Girls have earned the distinction of being recognized as the Best Community Supporter in this year’s Best of Dayton contest. Last year alone they were able to help support 70 nonprofit organizations.

“The idea that we would garner this type of respect is amazing,” Stucky said. “It’s so heartwarming.”

Fun was the focus in the 1980s when The Rubi Girls began performing, but the troupe shifted gears when the HIV/AIDS crisis hit home – impacting people they were close to. From fun to philanthropy, they started raising funds for HIV/AIDS and LGBTQIA-related causes.

“I think we all thought HIV would be over by now,” Stucky said.

But with advancements in the treatment of those living with HIV, The Rubi Girls have expanded their scope of giving. While Minnie Skirt, India Summer, Taj Mahal and the rest of The Rubi Girls still actively support the Greater Dayton LGBT Center, David’s Place and The Trevor Project they also lend their time and talent to A Special Wish Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, Pink Ribbon Good and more than 60 other nonprofit organizations.

While drag shows and events have come under fire in certain parts of the country, The Rubi Girls popularity and show attendance continues to grow. The Show Must Go On, their biggest fundraiser of the year, outgrew smaller venues over the years and brought in more than 600 avid fans to the Dayton Arcade in 2022.

They have established The Rubi Girls Foundation, which is dedicated to raising money for LGBTQ+ charities and making a difference in the wider community, and The Rubi Girls Scholarship which celebrates the achievement of students who represent the mission and ideals of The Rubi Girls through involvement and volunteerism.

“They give a lot of money away, but they also make a difference in people’s lives,” said Lisa Grigsby, a longtime supporter and current logistics coordinator for The Show Must Go On. “They open people’s eyes and encourage acceptance.”

It’s a mission The Rubi Girls take on willingly.

“It used to be we’d have people who were HIV positive at our shows who would tell us ‘Thank you for making me laugh,’” Stucky said. “For helping me forget for a little while.”

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

More recently they have seen a growing number of young people grappling with their sexual identity or struggling with their family’s reactions.

“We tell them it gets better, that they can get through this,” Stucky said.

And The Rubi Girls will continue to do what they can to bring the fun and raise much-needed funds.

“We have a Post-it that says, ‘we don’t bring the pretty, we bring the party,’” Stucky said.

And that they do.

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