23RD annual event brings together people from all walks of life for a common cause
Colin A. Weil, MZA Events: (917) 887-7487
Molly Lorenz, AIDS Walk San Francisco: (415) 615-9255
Debra Holtz, San Francisco AIDS Foundation: (415) 487-3071
Neither an economic recession nor the threat of a foggy day will prevent thousands of Bay Area residents from participating in the 23rd annual AIDS Walk San Francisco on Sunday, July 19.
Veterans and newcomers alike will make the 6.2-mile trek through Golden Gate Park to raise critically needed funds to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and dozens of other Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations.
“It’s a pivotal year in our struggle against AIDS,” said Mark Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “We are facing a greater demand for services at a time when fewer resources are available. Because we don’t want to turn clients away and are committed to reducing the number of new HIV infections in San Francisco by 50 percent by the year 2015, the economic downturn will not weaken our resolve.”
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other Bay Area AIDS service organizations face unprecedented challenges as California lawmakers struggle with a dire budget crisis. The Foundation is playing an integral role in negotiations with legislators and the governor on a budget compromise that would avoid drastic reductions in funding to HIV prevention, education and care.
An estimated 25,000 will participate in the July 19 walkathon that begins at 10:30 a.m. in Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park. In addition to raising millions of dollars for grassroots services and advocacy work, the AIDS Walk also aims to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
“AIDS Walk San Francisco is not only a fundraiser, but also a community-building event,” said Craig Miller, founder and producer of AIDS Walk San Francisco. “Each year, the AIDS Walk brings together tens of thousands of committed people, including elected officials, civic-minded leaders, community organizations, and entertainment luminaries who demand that HIV and AIDS must remain an urgent priority,” added Miller.
“The good news is that money raised by AIDS Walk San Francisco provides unrestricted funding for the cutting-edge services and advocacy work that help us prevent new HIV infections and improve the lives of those living with this disease,” said Cloutier. “During difficult times like these, people want to come together to make a difference for the most vulnerable among us.”
Over the last several months, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has rallied the community – including physicians, social service providers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and peer organizations all over California – to fight proposed budget cuts that would jeopardize lives and compromise the future health of thousands of Californians. A June 10 rally drew hundreds of supporters to the steps of the State Capitol.
“The Foundation’s leadership and advocacy for all Californians during the recent budget crisis is yet another great example of how this incredible organization stands ready to protect those in need,” Miller said.
As state budget negotiations continue in Sacramento, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation will continue to work closely with other advocates to protect state funding for HIV programs and services.
About AIDS Walk San Francisco: Since 1987, AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised more than $70 million for HIV/AIDS programs and services in the Bay Area and has become Northern California’s largest AIDS fundraising event. Last year alone, 25,000 walkers raised a near-record $4.5 million for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and more than 50 other Bay Area AIDS service organizations. For more information, visit www.aidswalk.net.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation: The San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides leadership to prevent new HIV infections. Linking community experience with science, the Foundation develops ground-breaking prevention programs and bold policy initiatives to promote health and create sustainable progress against HIV. Established in 1982, the Foundation refuses to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable. For more information, visit www.sfaf.org.
About MZA Events: AIDS Walk San Francisco was founded in 1987 by Craig R. Miller and his organization of activists, MZA Events. Miller is the originator of the AIDS Walk fundraising model, which has raised more than $350 million for leading AIDS charities nationwide. For more information, please visit www.mzaevents.com.