Aid for AIDS
The agency provides a variety of services to impoverished individuals and families that include housing and utility assistance, fresh food, pharmacy assistance, case management, and links to other service providers. Aid For AIDS serves as a central coordinating agency for the Los Angeles Housing Department administering two Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs from HUD -- the Short Term Rent, Mortgage and Utility (STRMU) program and the Permanent Housing Placement Grants (PHPG) program. The purpose of the STRMU program is to assist persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who are not able to meet their monthly housing expenses, including utilities and rent, due to unexpected situations; the PHPG program provides eligible clients and families with financial assistance for moving into affordable, permanent, subsidized or non-subsidized housing. Both the STRMU and PHPG programs are limited by time periods and maximum grant amounts for individuals and family units.
Aid For AIDS has HOPWA affiliations with regional service providers to reach those who are living with HIV/AIDS throughout Los Angeles County. In 2009, Aid For AIDS merged with another non-profit organization, The Serra Project, and both operate under the 501(c)(3) of Alliance for Housing and Healing (formerly Serra Ancillary Care Corporation). The merger was featured on the NPR (National Public Radio) program, Marketplace, in December 2009.
Funding for Aid For AIDS is from individual donors, private and corporate foundations, public funds, and fundraising events, including Best In Drag Show (originally named Battle for the Tiara followed by Quest for the Crown) an annual, celebrity-supported fundraiser in Los Angeles, California. Aid For AIDS coordinates the memorial plaques and receives funding from the West Hollywood Memorial Walk, a landmark and tribute, jointly developed with The City of West Hollywood. In 2009, Aid For AIDS recognized its twenty-five years of service by presenting AFA Silver Anniversary Angel Awards to a number of significant and long-term supporters of the non-profit and the HIV/AIDS community including Jack Larson and Bridges-Larson Foundation, The David Bohnett Foundation, Entertainment AIDS Alliance, QueensCare, John Bowab, Kathy Griffin and Charlie Sheen.
Strong, ongoing funding support by the entertainment community is reflected in the roster of volunteer celebrity judges and talent for the long-running fundraisers, Battle for the Tiara, Quest for the Crown, and Best In Drag Show. Roster: Jason Alexander, Rachel Bilson, Sarah Chalke, Melinda Clarke, Kim Coles, Jennifer Coolidge, Marcia Cross, Jon Cryer, Eric Dane, Anna Faris, Peter Gallagher, Teri Garr, Rebecca Gayheart, Leeza Gibbons, Sara Gilbert, Kathy Griffin, Linda Hamilton, Perez Hilton, Dot-Marie Jones, Chris Kattan, Kathy Kinney, Lori Loughlin, Jane Lynch, Camryn Manheim, Jayma Mays, Maria Menounos, Kathy Najimy, Niecy Nash, Mary-Louise Parker, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Parker Posey, Chris Pratt, John C. Reilly, Debbie Reynolds, Caroline Rhea, Kelly Rowan, Jeri Ryan, Katey Sagal, Molly Shannon, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Tori Spelling, Nicole Sullivan, Holland Taylor, Judy Tenuta, Jennifer Tilly, Charlene Tilton, Rachel True, Aisha Tyler, Dita Von Teese, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Jo Anne Worley. Onstage performances, Best In Drag Show, in addition to annual slate of contestants: Kathy Griffin, Jeffrey Drew, Jason Dudey, Patrick Rush, Todd Sherry, among others.
A small group of friends in Los Angeles founded Aid For AIDS in 1983 to help meet the needs of so many in their community becoming destitute before dying from the disease. Among those early directors of the nonprofit was notable gay and lesbian civil rights activist Morris Kight. A small office was set up in West Hollywood. To combat AIDS-related poverty, the direct financial assistance program was established. At that time, there were no effective treatments, but this program allowed many to remain in their homes, keep their utilities running, and die with dignity in familiar surroundings.
Within a couple of years after its founding, Aid For AIDS was providing support to more than 2,000 client requests per year. In 1987, the non-profit managed to raise an average of $25,000 per month from donations and fundraising initiatives to maintain the amount being distributed for client assistance. The following year, the monthly client distribution jumped to $40,000. Early fundraising efforts were planned and centered in the gay bars of Silverlake, Hollywood, and West Hollywood, which were social hubs and the communication centers for neighborhood AIDS news. For many years, established events such as Great Autos of Yesteryear and Concours d' Elegance in Beverly Hills made Aid For AIDS their beneficiary.
Funding was heavily supported, especially through the Gay Bartenders Association and the Hollywood celebrity community. Fundraising was through a mix that included "penny jars" on bar counters that often brought in more than $5,000 per year, beer busts, raffles, garage sales, private parties, comedy shows, and entertainment events. Early comedy fundraisers were supported by Alison Arngrim, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Caroline Rhea, Judy Tenuta, Bruce Vilanch and Suzanne Westenhoefer. Photographer Harry Langdon and Anna Nicole Smith hosted benefit shows and sales of their artwork. Artist Keith Haring donated profits from his tie dye socks. Performers and the Hollywood Bowl donated tickets to sell, as well as donating percentages of performance revenue, and included Sting, The Bangles, Nell Carter, Natalie Cole and Bernadette Peters, among many others. A long-running cabaret series was established in the 1980s with benefit performances in private, Hollywood homes. Film producer and director, John Bowab, hosted many Aid For AIDS cabaret events. Cabaret artists include Jim Bailey, Kaye Ballard, Debby Boone, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Cook, Tyne Daly, Loretta Devine, Michael Feinstein, Lainie Kazan, Michael Kearns, Marilyn Lovell Matz, Andrea Marcovicci, Peter Matz, Maureen McGovern, Belinda Montgomery, Linda Purl, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Diane Schuur, Brenda Taylor-Moore, Deborah Tranelli, B.J. Ward and Julie Wilson.
Notable fundraisers, in addition to Best In Drag Show, the long-running, celebrity-supported beauty pageant spoof, include The Princess Ball, a dinner and auction held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in 1998. The funds raised by The Princess Ball were split and donated to the two beneficiaries: the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Aid For AIDS. Auctioned for charity at The Princess Ball was a 170-carat (34 g) sapphire and diamond necklace modeled after a piece of jewelry in the movie Titanic, called "La Coeur de la Mer", or "Heart of the Ocean". "Titanic" The Sun Sentinel. March 23, 2003, in Tampa Florida. This fundraiser attracted many celebrity supporters, including Christine Baranski, Jacqueline Bisset, Kirsten Dunst, Harry Hamlin, Angela Lansbury, Gary Oldman, Lisa Rinna, Jane Seymour and Rod Stewart, among others. Kelly Preston and John Travolta were honorary co-chairs. Additionally, Aid For AIDS created and hosted The Tony Awards Party from 1994 until 2004, which was a fundraiser featuring the only live, west coast broadcast of the Tony Awards. The fundraiser honored a Broadway performer for their charitable work with The Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement, and, from 1997, The Actors Fund co-hosted the annual event. Early honorees included Lauren Bacall, Carol Channing, Tyne Daly, Charles Durning, Julie Harris (first recipient and for whom the award is named), Jerry Herman, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno and Gwen Verdon. The first Masters of Ceremonies were Jo Anne Worley, Valerie Harper, Jennifer Tilly, Lucy Arnaz, Bruce Vilanch, Rita Moreno and Jason Alexander.
Present fundraising and celebrity support
In addition to the long-standing annual fundraiser "Best In Drag Show" celebrity judges, entertainment industry support includes Michael Medico, Oksana Kolesnikova, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who narrates and hosts a video about client services, among others. Recent notable fundraisers include "A Faire of the Heart", which was redesigned in 2011 as a gala benefiting Aid For AIDS and The Serra Project (Alliance for Housing and Healing) to honor leaders in HIV/AIDS research and/or support, and leading philanthropists and leaders in the field of entertainment that are aligned with the organization's mission.
- Lisotta, Christopher (35 January 2007). "Getting Straight to the Point with Brenda Goodman" (pdf). Frontiers Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Aid For AIDS". Aid For AIDS. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Specific HOPWA Objectives" (pdf). 32nd Program Year, CAPER, 115. City of Los Angeles, California. 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- Sullivan, Brian (August 18, 2008). "HUD AWARDS $19.3 MILLION IN HIV/AIDS HOUSING GRANTS TO 18 LOCAL PROGRAMS NATIONWIDE" (Press release). United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Archived from the original on January 20, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "2007 Directory of Programs and Agencies Serving the County of Los Angeles Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)" (pdf). Los Angeles Housing Department. 2007. p. 7-8. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- HIV/AIDS Residential Services Discussion for Los Angeles County, 27-30. 2008. Office of AIDS Programs and Policy, County of Los Angeles Public Health. "". Retrieved November 24, 2009.
- Mendoza, Laura Alicia. "Non-Profits Merge: The Serra Project." Los Angeles Business Journal. March 30, 2009. "". Retrieved November 24, 2009.
- Ryssdal, Kai. Groups Come Together for AIDS Support. National Public Radio (American Public Media) program, Marketplace, December 1, 2009. ""
- Best In Drag Show 2009. WeHoNews online. October 22, 2009. "". Retrieved December 4, 2009.
- Stars Judge Best In Drag Show. Entertainment Tonight (ET) Online, video. October 20, 2009."". Retrieved December 4, 2009.
- City of West Hollywood online, West Hollywood and Aid For AIDS to Rededicate the West Hollywood Memorial Walk. November 26, 2003.. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
- Silver Anniversary Reception & Awards "". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
- Events, Aid For AIDS website””. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Celebrity Support and Early Partners, Aid For AIDS website"". Retrieved April 223 2010.
- Partners, Aid For AIDS website"". Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- Upto11.net online, gay slang. Definition. Beer Bust: "A long-standing tradition in the gay bar community in which a bar will dedicate a portion of its operating hours, usually a Sunday afternoon, to let local charities and clubs raise money, by offering an all-you-can-drink price on draft beer. Food is usually served and the charity or club raising the money usually has a raffle in which they sell tickets for." "". Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- Celebrity Support and Early Partners, Aid For AIDS website""
- Goodwin, Betty, Los Angeles Times, p.18. December 19, 1986.
- Partners/Celebrity Support, Aid For AIDS website"". Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- Partners/Musical Artists, Aid For AIDS website. http://www.aidforaids.net/partners.html. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- Stein, Jeannine. “Butler Serves in Diana’s Memory,” Los Angeles Times. March 20, 1998. “”. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
- Kay, Richard. “Hollywood Pays Court to Butler as he Raises Charity Cash in Her Memory.” The Daily Mail, London. March 23, 1998.“”. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
- 2004 LA Tony Party, BroadwayWorld online""
- BroadwaytoVegas online, "Rita Moreno will be honored...Previous recipients of the Julie Harris Award include Gwen Verdon, Charles Durning, Tyne Daly, Lauren Bacall and Carol Channing." "". Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- Partners, Aid For AIDS website http://www.aidforaids.net/partners.html. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- A Faire of the Heart website. Event Committee."". Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- Aid For AIDS website. ibid. ""
- The Serra Project website. Video.""
- A Faire of the Heart website."". Retrieved July 3, 2011.