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AIDS Walk San Francisco Boosts Number of Teams and Benefiting Agencies
Date:7/2/2008

Enthusiasm for event grows in the face of widespread budget cuts for Bay

Area HIV/AIDS service organizations.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The San Francisco AIDS Foundation and AIDS Walk San Francisco announced today that the number of Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations benefiting from the 22nd annual AIDS Walk in Golden Gate Park, July 20th, will expand from 42 to more than 50, and the Community Partnership Program (CPP) teams will nearly double from 15 to 28.

"AIDS Walk San Francisco has never been so important," said Mark Cloutier, Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He cited the fact that more people in the Bay Area are living with HIV than ever before, including nearly 19,000 in San Francisco alone. Nonetheless, almost all local AIDS service organizations are facing cuts in government funding at all levels.

Last year, AIDS Walk San Francisco's more than 25,000 participants raised a record $4.6 million in support of the Foundation and other Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations. The CPP Program was launched in 2005 as a means of increasing the reach of AIDS Walk proceeds throughout the Bay Area counties. The program has been growing each year.

"The San Francisco AIDS Foundation's continued expansion of the CPP program is a testament to the agency's leadership and proof of its mission," said Craig R. Miller, President of MZA Events and Founder and Producer of AIDS Walk San Francisco. "With budget cuts looming and a challenging economy, expanding the scope of the AIDS Walk and sharing the fundraising engine forged through 22 years of success is a great opportunity for the entire Bay Area HIV/AIDS community."

"This year, walkers can support more of these deserving agencies than ever. And by joining a Community Partnership Program team, participants can protect the services they care about most," Cloutier said. "CPP makes their walk even more meaningful."

Besides the CPP teams who walk and raise money directly for their agencies, each year SFAF makes direct grants through the Horizons Foundation to HIV/AIDS service organizations, many who do not have fundraising teams.

Last year, the Oakland-based Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Disease (WORLD) more than matched its $15,000 AIDS Walk grant with Community Partnership Program team fundraising.

"The CPP has been an enormous opportunity for our organization to increase our fundraising capacity," said Maura Riordan, WORLD's Executive Director. "We have been able to let our community of supporters know that 100 percent of money pledged to eligible walkers comes directly to WORLD. I don't know of any other event that allows us to maximize our earnings in this way. Since the CPP program has been in place, we have quadrupled our pledges."

Other CPP teams include San Francisco's Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, San Jose's Billy DeFrank Community Center, Oakland's Flowers Heritage Foundation, the Bay Area's AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Get Screened Oakland, Shanti, Project Inform, Project Open Hand, and the Black Coalition on AIDS.

Lyon-Martin Health Services Executive Director Teri McGinnis noted that, because of her agency's new team, the number of Lyon-Martin friends and supporters registering for AIDS Walk 2008 has already more than doubled since 2007.

"AIDS Walk San Francisco does so much more than provide essential funds," Cloutier said. "The Walk provides hope at such a critical moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Together, we can -- in fact we must -- reduce and one day end new HIV infections."

About AIDS Walk San Francisco: Since 1987, AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised nearly $65 million for HIV programs and services in the Bay Area, and has grown into one of the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world.

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 http://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 and has raised more than $300 million for leading AIDS charities nationwide. Miller and MZA have produced this landmark event every summer for the past 21 years. For more information, visit http://www.mzaevents.com.


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SOURCE AIDS Walk San Francisco
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