December 2018

Denver Expands Services by Opening New Food Pantry

On November 5, Rocky Mountain CARES opened a new food pantry to serve people living with HIV. The pantry was made possible by a gift by MAC Cosmetics, generous community philanthropic donations and is also supported by the Food Bank of the Rockies, a regional food distributer to nonprofits in the area. Additional funding required to operate the food pantry is generated by the 340B program – a federal program that allows organizations like RMC to purchase lifesaving medications for the people we serve at a discounted price.

Many of the people we serve are experiencing homelessness and have expressed they feel underserved by local food banks at times. The opening of our new pantry has been an opportunity to make it different from the rest by offering an assortment of food that doesn’t require a traditional kitchen to store or prepare, and also includes other touches to make sure the people turning to us feel invited and welcome.  Hungry pets weren’t forgotten, either. There is a special section in the new pantry for pets, to ensure all household members go to bed full.

The Denver food pantry would not be possible without community support. Click here to show your support today.

EFA to Open New Building and Expand Services Thanks to Largest Gift in ARCW History

On the evening of January 3, 2019, the current Saint Louis Effort for AIDS office will close its doors for the last time. The following day we will move to a brand new office, which will open to the public on Monday, January 7.

The move to the new facility follows the recent merger with ARCW, and will allow EFA to expand services to create an HIV Medical Home in Saint Louis and is supported by a $1.7 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. This is the largest grant in the history of ARCW and is critical to our success in expanding and building HIV prevention, care and treatment programs in the area.

In recent years, EFA has seen an increase in the demand for its programs and services as a record number of people are living with HIV. In St. Louis, there are 6145 people living with HIV; however, only 50 percent are regularly engaged in care according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Bureau of Reportable Disease Informatics.

EFA will continue to offer HIV testing, case management services, support groups, PAWS and referral services. The new office will include a brand new HIV pharmacy and medical clinic.

2018 World AIDS Day Recognized

December 1, 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and mourning people we’ve lost to the disease.

ARCW, EFA and RMC commemorated World AIDS Day at 14 events across our service areas that offered testing, education and remembrance of loved ones lost.

In Denver, throughout the week of December 1, people in the community were encouraged to come to our location for HIV testing, and there was a special Diva’s Brunch at the Mile High Hamburger Mary’s. The performers incorporated World AIDS Day awareness, as well as HIV education and information about our services.

In St. Louis, there were fundraising events and commemoration ceremonies. The Club St. Louis raised funds for EFA in the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day, which culminated with a Final Push fundraising event where they matched the total raised amount, dollar for dollar. Community groups from all over St. Louis organized a commemoration ceremony on Friday, November 30. Attendees gathered in a night of Remembrance and Hope for those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and for those who continue to fight.

In Wisconsin, there were seven events across the State. Appleton hosted a vigil & testing event; Eau Claire hosted three separate events that offered education and testing; and, Kenosha was part of a community-wide event that commemorated the day and offered HIV testing and education with Vine Ministries. In Milwaukee, groups from across different faiths came together for a World AIDS Day commemoration service, and in Madison testing and education were offered at community events.

Follow us on our Facebook pages, ARCW, EFA and RMC, to stay up-to-date on outreach and community events.

St. Louis Development Director Receives HIV Community Engagement Award

On November 30, EFA Development Director James Lesch received the Community Engagement Award at a World AIDS Day commemoration event. James is a Saint Louis native who studied Communication at Saint Louis University. Active in the Saint Louis LGBT community in college, he moved on to use his Communications background to begin a post-grad career in publishing. James is a Partner at Vital VOICE, one of the nation’s oldest LGBT publications. He led the efforts to strengthen the magazine fiscally and rebranded and reestablished Vital VOICE within the Saint Louis LGBT community.

James was nominated by EFA case manager, Lynne Abernathy, who said, “Jimmy was a lifesaver for our agency when he stepped in and took over our annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser. He managed to recruit and surpass last year's number of participating restaurants and we also exceeded the prior year's grand total raised. Jimmy remained calm under pressure while planning and executing this event. He worked tirelessly day and night to ensure the success of our biggest fundraiser. Jimmy's dedication to our agency and the clients we serve are evident in his compassion and willingness to constantly go over and beyond the call of duty. As a fellow colleague, I am inspired by his commitment to the HIV community as well as to our agency.”

We congratulate James on his well-deserved award and thank him for his dedication to the fight against AIDS.

ARCW Prevention Staff Collaborate with Mobile Health Study

ARCW is carrying out its mission of being at the forefront of HIV prevention, care and treatment by collaborating with Dr. Ryan Westergaard and UW-Madison on a mobile health (mHealth) initiative. The goal of the study is to explore ways to optimize HIV care for patients with substance use disorders by using technology to identify time-sensitive determinants of lapses in care. In other words, this study seeks to understand if a smartphone app can offer real-time updates to support HIV care and treatment and prevent relapse.

During development of the study, researchers met with ARCW case management teams to identify successful ways to build trust and engage with clients. Transcripts from the six focus groups were reviewed to classify key themes and strategies, which will inform the next phase of the study. Case managers offered a wealth of knowledge to the study team, highlighting how ARCW is successful at engaging clients.

Key elements in building trust with clients include:

  • Open and honest (two-way) communication

  • Be responsive to needs identified by clients

  • Express compassion

  • Remain neutral when clients share information that may be counterproductive to goals

The timeline for the study includes enrolling clients into the study beginning in 2019. Questions regarding the progress of the Mobile Health Study, or looking to get involved? Contact Sarah Krechel, Research Coordinator, at or 414-585-8239.

ARCW Begins New Ryan White Funded Rent Assistance Program

ARCW has begun our newest Rental Assistance Program, funded by a recently-awarded Ryan White Part B grant. The goal with this funding is to ensure people living with HIV have access to stable housing, in an effort to increase their ability to access medical care and other vital services in order to maintain health. 

The U.S. Department Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ State AIDS/HIV Program administer several Ryan White Care Act programs, including this new initiative. This new program allows for ARCW to provide housing assistance that includes emergency rent and temporary shelter, unlike many other federally-funded housing programs.

The new rent assistance programs will be administered in two separate categories at ARCW. One category will provide financial assistance on behalf of clients who are homeless or unstably housed and not enrolled in any other housing program. These are clients who have typically fallen out of care and/or are virally unsuppressed.

The second category provides financial assistance for clients who are currently receiving short term rent, utility, or mortgage assistance and who are in need of additional rent and utility assistance to stabilize their current housing situation.

Email to learn more about this program.

Get Your Tickets for Camp Bingo 2019

Look forward to Sunday afternoons soon as a new season of Camp Bingo kicks off! All three dates will be at the Madison Concourse Hotel with host Cass Marie Domino and emcee Karizma Mirage. You can purchase tickets online now.

Each date will feature seven games of bingo, giving you a chance to win cash prizes, a costume contest, trivia game, and a 50-50 raffle with food and beverages for purchase. Each event features guest ball callers and tons of great prizes. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

  • CLUE on January 27
    with ball caller Krista from 93.1 JAMZ’s
    “Krista & The Morning Rush”

  • GODS & GODDESSES on February 24
    with ball caller Michael Bruno from Channel 3’s
    “Backstage with Bruno”

  • UNDER THE SEA on March 24
    with ball caller Aaron Rogers from
    MIX 105.1 & 99.1 The Mix

Everyone 18 years or over is welcome.

Philanthropy Celebrated at Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon

On Tuesday, December 11 over 125 community leaders and donors came together to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on ARCW at the Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon. Red Ribbon Patrons are ARCW donors whose cumulative giving meets or exceeds $10,000.

The keynote speaker, author and AIDS & LGBT Activist Cleve Jones, recounted his experiences in the gay liberation movement and reflected on his own struggles as a longtime survivor of HIV.

“It’s important to remember that I’m only alive because of people like you, and because of the movement... because of expanded access,” Jones remarked. He noted that the HIV Medical Home model was like nothing he’s ever seen. “I’ve been a lot of places and visited a lot of agencies, and I can tell you that you are in a league of your own.”

Guests also heard from ARCW President & Chief Executive Officer Mike Gifford and Vice President & Chief Development Officer Dan Mueller, and ARCW, on the importance of their gifts, ongoing support, and the nationally-renowned outcomes of our HIV Medical Home care model.

Mike Gifford summed up the impact of ARCW donors with, “You lift us up to new heights, you fund our innovation... we could not do what we do without you.”

Click here to support ARCW this holiday season.

There’s Still Time to Give This Holiday Season

This holiday season, consider giving to The Roma Hanson Holiday Meal Program. The program provides holiday meals for families impacted by HIV.

Your gift is much more than a holiday meal. You are giving hope and hospitality to thousands of people living with HIV, especially those marginalized by their friends, family, or community.

There’s still time to give to the meal program and you can click here to learn more.

In Saint Louis, your gift to EFA this holiday season will help ensure continued and increased access to care for people living with HIV in the greater St. Louis area.

In January 2019 we will implement a new model of care, beginning with our move to a new HIV Medical Home. Your investment in EFA is essential to our ability to ensure this model’s success. Please consider making a gift today. Click here to support the new HIV Medical Home in St. Louis this holiday season.

RMC recently opened a brand new food pantry in order to meet the needs of people living with HIV in the Denver area. Recently, RMC celebrated reaching 93 percent viral suppression among people served. Click here to support RMC today!

When you include ARCW in your estate plans and tell us about it, William Reinicker, a longtime ally of ARCW, will make an immediate contribution of $1,000 to ARCW, up to $10,000.

Informing us that ARCW has a place in your estate plans allows you to take advantage of a unique funding opportunity that ensures ARCW’s strength in the fight against AIDS into the future.

Click here to learn more.

EFA Welcomes Support from Broadway Hit

Saint Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) invites St. Louisans to their inaugural Staging Hope fundraiser on Thursday, January 24, at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza. Staging Hope will allow guests to be the first in St. Louis to see the three-time Tony Award-winning smash hit musical “AVENUE Q.” Part flesh, part felt and packed with heart, “AVENUE Q” garnered the triple crown (Best Book, Best Musical, Best Score) at the 2004 Tony Awards for its hilarious and heart-warming tale about real life in New York City as told by a cast of people and puppets.

One hundred percent of ticket sales will be donated to EFA. This unique event is made possible by the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza, who is generously opening the final dress rehearsal in support of EFA. It will be a night of anything can happen as guests will have exclusive, early access to experience this show’s full and final dress rehearsal before opening night.

The festivities begin at 7 p.m. with a pre-show reception where guests will be treated to a preview of Kemoll’s Chop House’s newest and most-popular appetizers. Kemoll’s is set to reopen in Westport Plaza in February. The fine-dining establishment announced the move after 30 years at the top of the Metropolitan Square Building in downtown St. Louis. Guests will also be treated to a pre-show cocktail menu by Pearl Vodka, Rebel Yell Whiskey Bourbon and Exotico Tequila.

At 8 p.m. guests will step inside the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza for a special performance of “AVENUE Q” the night before the musical opens for its six-week run.

At intermission guests will be treated to ice cream by Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery before the second act begins. Guests are encouraged to bring a few extra dollars for the show. During ‘The Money Song’ the cast breaks the fourth wall, stepping into the audience to pass around a hat for donations to support the mission of EFA.

Tickets for this event are $35, available online at This event is for ages 21 & over. Seats will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. All seats ordered together will be seated together.

“Avenue Q” has not been authorized or approved in any manner by the Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.

Giving Tuesday Exceeds Matching Gift Challenge

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is Giving Tuesday. A follow up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day people around the world support causes they believe in.

This year, ARCW donors had the opportunity to double their gift to the Roma Hanson Holiday Meal Program when the ARCW Junior Board, a group of dedicated, young professionals, stepped forward to match the first $1,200 donated.

Giving Tuesday raised nearly $5,000 with the addition of the matching gift.

We thank the Junior Board and all of our supporters who are helping to make the holidays bright for the people served this year.

ARCW Looks Ahead to 2019 Events

On Thursday, November 29, Jolly Holly Folly featured samplings from the area's best restaurants. Guests got to try samples and then enjoyed the closing performance of Doug Jarecki's 'Twas the Month Before Christmas.

We encourage you to share your gratitude by patronizing all the restaurants who supported our event. We would also like to thank our wonderful corporate sponsors because without their support this and other events would not be possible. Click here to see photos from the event.

Look forward to Sunday afternoons as a new season of Camp Bingo kicks off! All three dates will be at the Madison Concourse Hotel. Click here for tickets and information. Save the dates:

  • January 27, Clue Bingo

  • February 24, Gods & Goddesses Bingo

  • March 24, Under the Sea Bingo

Save the date for spring’s most fabulous gala, Make A Promise! This year’s event will be Saturday, March 30 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. Stay tuned for our fabulous theme announcement and more details.

It’s time to declare your New Year’s Resolution. Gear up and start your training now, and fundraising, for the 17th Annual AIDS Ride Wisconsin. Visit to register and use code: RERIDE19 by May 31, 2019 to receive an early registration discount. The ride features routes for every fitness level, as well as partial day, single day and multi-day routes. The Ride kicks off July 26 in Madison, and rides through Sunday the 28.

Our events could not be successful without the help of dedicated volunteers or community support. Are you interested in making an impact on your community? Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available at all ARCW special events. Contact Tricia Mallett at 414-225-1615 or

We’d love to hear from you on how we can learn and grow. Contact Tricia Mallett if you’ve got feedback or suggestions for our upcoming special events.