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An Update on AIDS Walk San Francisco
  A message from Interim CEO Barbara Kimport
I'm writing to share with you an update about a topic very dear to me, AIDS Walk San Francisco.
In my role as both Interim CEO and Vice President of Development, I value AIDS Walk San Francisco for the critical funds it generates for HIV prevention, testing and care. More importantly, I cherish AIDS Walk San Francisco - and have personally participated as a Star Walker - for what it represents: a quarter century of inextinguishable hope that one day we'll beat this horrible disease.
That's why I'm upset by a misleading story in today's New York Times about how AIDS Walk money is spent. The story was written by an employee of The Bay Citizen, a non-profit organization that contributes to The Times. Its premise is that large sums of money from AIDS Walk San Francisco are spent internationally via Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. This is patently untrue, and during my conversations with the reporter, Mr. Scott James, I made that very clear.
NY Times article:
Questions About Path of AIDS Walk Money (SF AIDS Foundation) - (07/19/10)
Money from AIDS Walk San Francisco primarily supports the work of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. We believe that in order to end AIDS, we must first end it right here by focusing where need is greatest - specifically, gay and bi-sexual men, African Americans and Latinos, and substance users. The thousands of walkers who join us each year in Sharon Meadow share this belief, and earlier this week we heard loud and clear from the White House that they agree with our approach.
In the last two years alone, San Francisco AIDS Foundation spent $25 million locally on HIV programs and policy initiatives to radically reduce new infections and ensure access to treatment and care in local communities where need it greatest. This includes our direct work, and a grants program that distributes a portion of the funds from AIDS Walk San Francisco to deserving community partner organizations.
There are some AIDS Walk San Francisco participants that care very deeply about the global AIDS epidemic. That's why from 2002 to 2008, Pangaea received an average of $35,000 annually from the AIDS Walk San Francisco community grants program. During this time, Pangaea's work appeared in marketing materials for AIDS Walk San Francisco.
Since 2008, every penny raised at AIDS Walk San Francisco has been spent right here in the Bay Area.
It's disappointing that a reporter for the Bay Citizen would deceive people by cherry-picking data from our annual tax reports to support a one-sided narrative. Had Mr. James told the complete story, his readers would have learned there are people and organizations that support us specifically because of our leadership in HIV prevention and care around the world.
We have a responsibility to these supporters - and to the global epidemic - to participate in the fight against HIV in countries where resources are scarce. In the bigger picture of what's needed overseas, it's only a drop in the bucket. We understand that. But it's the right thing to do and we stand by it. This should not distract from the truth: we spend millions of dollars each year - roughly 95 percent of our annual operating budget - in HIV prevention, testing and care efforts aimed at ending the epidemic in the city where it began, and then working so that ours can be a model for ending HIV everywhere.
We should feel very proud of this work. I certainly do, and I plan on saying as much as I congratulate the thousands of people expected in Sharon Meadow this Sunday at AIDS Walk San Francisco 2010. I plan to proudly display my team SFAF t-shirt, on which I'll pin my "Ask Me Where The Money Goes" button. I hope you will consider joining me.
Barbara Kimport
Interim CEO
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Page last updated: 7/16/2010
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