The past year was a momentous one for AID FOR AIDS, in many ways.
It represented our 15th year of existence – a miracle in itself – and saw us reach the $80 million mark in total shipments of recycled medication to the developing world. In 2011, we celebrated our 10th annual My Hero Gala, which was our most successful and enjoyable Gala to date. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Graciela Dauhajre, Graciela Hank, Professor William A. Haseltine, Maria Jose Hidalgo and Laura Messina Pilson as our new Board Members.
This year was marked by our increased emphasis on strategic partnerships. In 2011, we reached out to other organizations in a much more concerted and far-reaching manner, with the goals of raising awareness of our many programs, increasing our funding base and the amount of recycled life-saving medication, and serving a more diverse population of people with HIV or AIDS. These partnerships include:
• A new relationship with Marc Jacobs International, which included two t-shirt collections specially-designed for AID FOR AIDS.
• The deepening of our relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, with Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarette joining us on major HIV Prevention tours of Panama and Dominican Republic; and newly-crowned Miss Universe, Leila Lopes, being trained as our next official Ambassador of HIV prevention.
• An extension of our relationship with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which approved a new round of financing for the cycle 2011-2012. This money, along with the funds from other local partners in different countries, enabled AID FOR AIDS to continue growing our “Cuanto Sabes?” adolescent HIV preventive education program.
• The launching of a new awareness campaign, “A World Without a Trace of HIV”, in partnership with Air Europa Airlines. The campaign incorporates an in-flight video spot and a magazine display about AID FOR AIDS’ important work.
• A new round of financing from Robin Hood for the cycle 2011-2012. For years, Robin Hood has supported our New York Immigrant AIDS Link (NYIAL), and this year they increased their commitment and financial support of the program.
• The continuation of the joint Case Coordinator Program with Housing Works. Entering its third year in 2012, this program continues providing affordable housing opportunities and other services to hundreds of people with HIV in New York.
• The expansion of Bioscrip’s support to AID FOR AIDS. Bioscrip increased the number of sponsored drop-off boxes at its pharmacies from 2 to 10 and supported our Gay Pride celebration. Their continued support of our New York program will allow us to expand that program in the new year, with a number of new projects currently under discussion.
• The beginning of a strategic partnership between AID FOR AIDS and the Latino Commission on AIDS to expand the scope of our programs, jointly, in the United States and the LAC region.
• A major new initiative by our Advocacy Department to train transgender activists in Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to advocate for their rights, coupled with tremendous growth in the number of activists in the Latin America/Caribbean region using the “Observatorio Latino” online forum (that number now exceeds 8,000)
• A week-long medication donation drive last summer that helped spike an immediate hike in donations of unused/unexpired medication. More importantly, the drive brought the recycling program to the attention of hundreds of AIDS service organizations and potential new donors.
• And, finally, encouraging results in our Children’s Program from a partnership with ILVEM, a private company offering training in reading and writing skills. Some 60 percent of the participating youngsters with minimal or no reading/writing skills showed marked improvement, as did students with higher-level skills.
These are just some of the many things that have transpired at AID FOR AIDS. We are justifiably proud of our successes over the past 12 months. However, we are aware of how much is left to accomplish, in terms of providing appropriate medical treatment to people who need it, educating youngsters to avoid HIV infection, helping children cope with their HIV diagnoses, and providing support and tools to empower activists.
We hope you will continue to support our efforts in all these areas and we wish all the members of the extended AID FOR AIDS family a happy and healthy New Year.
Founder & Executive Director