July/August 2014

AIDS Walk Wisconsin Names American Television Personality and Fashion Mentor Tim Gunn Honorary Chair of 2014 Walk/Run

Gunn to auction off private dinner in Milwaukee to raise money for the Walk

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) announced June 6 that national fashion icon and television personality Tim Gunn will be the Honorary Chair of the 25th annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run. The event will be held on Sunday, October 12 at the Summerfest Grounds. ARCW produces the event and is the primary beneficiary of funds raised by the event.

Mr. Gunn is the Emmy® Award-winning co-host of the Lifetime Network’s “Project Runway.” In the show, he serves as a mentor to contestants who vie for top-designer status in the fashion incubator reality TV series, often using his popular catchphrase “make it work.” Off camera, he is a fashion educator and author. He co-authored the book Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, which was published in 2007.

“I am delighted to be named Honorary Chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin, and this is tremendously meaningful to me,” said Gunn. “We need to strengthen the fight against AIDS, and I know that AIDS Walk Wisconsin will keep Wisconsin a national leader in helping people with HIV live long, healthy lives.”

To help raise pledges for AIDS Walk Wisconsin, Gunn will participate in an auction that will allow the winner to attend a private dinner with him at a Milwaukee restaurant the night before the Walk.

“I am looking forward to what will be a wonderful evening with someone who cares deeply about the fight against AIDS. I know Wisconsinites are caring and generous, and I am counting on these strong Midwestern values to demonstrate that in this special auction. I know it will be a memorable evening to help raise money for people who need the support,” Gunn said.

“For our 25th anniversary, we are excited to welcome everyone’s favorite fashion mentor, Tim Gunn, as our Honorary Chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run,” said Mike Gifford, President and Chief Executive Officer of ARCW. “We are thrilled and pleased to have him serve as our Honorary Chair. The fashion industry continues to be active in the fight against AIDS, and Tim Gunn is a voice of encouragement and acceptance for LGBT youth in today’s media and a tremendous support for people confronting HIV.”

Gunn served as a member of the administration and faculty at Parsons School of Design for 24 years and has a rich and deep history with the institution. In August 2000, Gunn was appointed Chair of the Department of Fashion Design at Parsons with the charge of retooling and invigorating the curriculum for the 21st century. Under his direction, the department was repositioned as the indisputable leader in fashion design education in America and as one of only a handful of leading programs in the world. Upon leaving Parsons, Gunn received the title of Honorary Chair of Fashion Design at the school. In addition, Liz Claiborne, Inc. endowed a scholarship in his name.

Over the past 25 years, more than 120,000 registrants have participated in AIDS Walk Wisconsin and raised more than $11.3 million. One hundred percent of the pledges raised from AIDS Walk Wisconsin have stayed in Wisconsin to benefit people living with HIV in the state.

“Today, people with HIV live longer in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the United States,” said Gifford. “This doesn’t mean the fight is over. In fact, we need to be more determined than ever. Every time someone registers for the Walk and raises pledges of any amount, they are helping our patients be among the healthiest in the country. It is hard to think how Wisconsin’s fight against HIV/AIDS would look today without the impact of AIDS Walk Wisconsin.”

“I urge everyone to join me right now and register for AIDS Walk Wisconsin at www.aidswalkwis.org. Raise pledges, bid on dinner with me and I will see you in October for what I know will be a terrific celebration of all your efforts,” said Gunn. “Make it work!”

Check your email for details on how you can bid on dinner with Tim Gunn in Milwaukee and register for AIDS Walk Wisconsin today at www.aidswalkwis.org. All registrants who raise a minimum of $1000 will be invited backstage for a photo with Tim Gunn prior to the Walk’s opening ceremonies.

Past Honorary Chairs of AIDS Walk Wisconsin

  • Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Stephanie Klett, 2013
  • Milwaukee Brewer and National League MVP Ryan Braun, 2012
  • Green Bay Packer Linebacker and World Champion Clay Matthews, 2011
  • Indie Rock Sensation Bon Iver, 2009
  • BD Wong, 2006
  • Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett & Kris Barrett, 2005
  • Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle & First Lady Jessica Doyle, 2003
  • Bill Brochtrup, 2002
  • Eric Benet, 2001
  • Six-Time Olympic Champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 2000
  • Danny Glover, 1999
  • Chastity Bono, 1998
  • Four-Time Olympic Champion Greg Louganis, 1997
  • Bette Midler, 1996
  • Vice President Al Gore & Tipper Gore, 1995
  • Darryl Hamilton, 1994
  • Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Milwaukee Bucks Coach Mike Dunleavy, 1993
  • Milwaukee Brewer & Baseball Hall of Famer Paul and Linda Molitor, 1992
  • Bud and Sue Selig of the Milwaukee Brewers, 1991
  • Milwaukee Mayor John O. Norquist and Susan Mudd, 1990

The Performing Arts Kick Off ARCW 30th Anniversary

Mark your calendars for Friday, August 22, for spectacular Life Performance: Acts Against AIDS

ARCW fund raising events are gateways for friends to become allies in the fight against HIV. Such is the case with John Paradowski and Dr. Sharon A Hansen. They have attended Make A Promise and have been moved to action. This summer, John and Sharon are the creative minds behind Life Performance: Acts Against AIDS, a Kennedy Center Honors-type of evening. The most noticeable difference is that the honoree isn’t an individual, it will be the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin itself.

The event will take place on Friday, August 22 at 7 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield.

Featuring appearances by The Milwaukee Ballet; The Milwaukee Chamber Theater’s Norman Moses; First Stage Children’s Theater; Leslie Fitzwater, Mezzo Soprano; Kurt Ollmann, Baritone and Jeffrey Peterson and Paula Foley Tillen on piano, this evening-length concert will be a one-of-a-kind evening kicking off a year-long ARCW 30th anniversary celebration. ARCW was founded on August 23, 1985.

Visual artist, Ram Rojas, a former member of the ARCW Board of Directors, will be painting live on site.

One of the keynote features of the evening will include performances from the “One Voice Community Choir,” a special community choral ensemble of talented volunteers from throughout the city. The choir, with more than 60 members already, is rehearsing  for the big night. Life Performance: Acts Against AIDS promises to be a remarkable night of performing arts.

“The evening will be divided up into different acts that acknowledge the various phases of the AIDS epidemic, from its darkest days to the challenge and the promise of today,” said Dr. Hansen. “I can’t tell you how honored we are by the response we have received from the other participating arts organizations. We are thrilled to present this evening as a way to raise additional funds for ARCW.”

“When you attend ARCW events you are often left wanting to do something to help either raise awareness or funds for ARCW,” said Mr. Paradowski, an organist and co-artistic director. “That was the case with us. I have attended so many Make A Promise events that when Sharon and I got to talking about this idea, it seemed natural that we reach out to the non-profit that inspired this in the first place.”

“Sharon, John, and all the performers are volunteering their efforts, representing a significant contribution to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary,” said ARCW President and Chief Executive officer Mike Gifford. “This is an unprecedented arts event. We are grateful to them and eagerly anticipating the performances that will commemorate and celebrate what the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin has been about.”

Attendees will be treated to a post-performance reception at the theater.

Tickets to Life Performance: Acts Against AIDS, can be purchased by calling the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts box office 262-781-9520. Tickets for Acts Against AIDS go on sale 7/24 at the theater.

ARCW Program Feature

Worth Fighting For: Wisconsin House

Securing safe, affordable housing remains one of the most significant challenges HIV patients regularly face. Too often, people living with HIV are forced to move from house to house, sleep in their car (if they have one) or face living on the streets. These conditions make it extraordinarily difficult to adhere to strict HIV treatment regimens and focus on the routine of caring for oneself.

At ARCW, housing is health care and our commitment to making sure that no one with HIV is homeless is a commitment worth fighting for. In addition to offering rent and utility assistance programs designed to help people with HIV stay in or find safe housing, ARCW also continues to operate a transitional living facility for people with HIV (Wisconsin House) as well as a six unit apartment complex (Gardenview Apartments) for families with an HIV-positive family member.

ARCW housing programs have been recognized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) a total of four times, a designation that demonstrates how the housing programs ARCW offers make a difference in the lives and health of people with HIV.  SPNS designations also serve as a way for HUD to demonstrate to other grantees that the program ARCW offers should serve as a model for their programs.

Unfortunately, as the needs of our patients utilizing our transitional living facility have changed, the current Wisconsin House building has become obsolete and no longer serves residents well. To address this, ARCW will be moving Wisconsin House from its current site on Milwaukee’s North side to a new location just south of Downtown.  While the address may be different, the same great staff and programs offered at the old location will be available at the new location.

While the new Wisconsin House is in a great location and is well suited to provide a great place for ARCW clients to live, it does need remodeling, painting and other repairs totaling $42,000. To contribute to the Wisconsin House renovation, please call Dan Mueller, ARCW Chief Development Officer at 414-225-1580.

Allies Come Out for ARCW: Event Re-caps

28th Annual Make A Promise

Vive le Promise, a night to remember - Soiree sets attendance and fundraising records

The 28th Annual Make A Promise Gala sold out in record time, as nearly 1100 people gathered on April 26 to dine, dance and raise $304,177 for ARCW prevention, care and treatment programs. The event broke fundraising and attendance records for the fifth straight year.

Long-time donors and friends of ARCW, Will Radler (2014 Vision Award) and Susie and Cary Silverstein (2014 Philanthropy Award), along with 49 Wisconsin HIV Social Work Case Managers (2014 Leadership Award), were honored for their dedication and commitment to the fight against AIDS.

The Baroque-funk theme was on display the moment guests entered the Wisconsin Center. Living statues and a “living scene” greeted people as live music from French chanteuse Robin Pluer filled the silent auction area. Models in French couture, styled by Project Runway alumnus Timothy Westbrook, mingled with guests. A performance by Drag Divas from Scarlet in Chicago was also followed by a surprise drop of a kabuki curtain showcasing the after-dinner dance floor. Friend of ARCW and WISN Channel 12 anchor Toya Washington served as emcee for the evening.

Next year’s event will be held again at the Wisconsin Center, on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Mark your calendars now and watch for ticket information in early Fall.

HBO's The Normal Heart

ARCW Donors and Staff Invited to Exclusive Screening

On Wednesday, May 21, HBO and MilwaukeeFilm presented the Midwest premier of The Normal Heart at the Landmark Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee. ARCW donors and staff were among the 600 attending as guests of MilwaukeeFilm.

Following the screening, guests attended a VIP reception hosted by HBO.

The powerful film chronicles the arrival of AIDS on the east coast, the founding of Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City, the nation’s first AIDS service organization and the loss of so many gay men during the earliest days of the epidemic.

Only three other cities received preview screenings, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

After the screening Jeff Smith, ARCW Associate Director of Prevention, said “It reminded me why I chose this as my career, why I have stayed with it all these years and why I come back each day to continue the wonderful, important work we all do.”

ARCW thanks Jonathan Jackson MilwaukeeFilm Artistic Director and HBO for this opportunity.

Big Gay 5K

The 3rd Annual Big Gay 5K was held on Thursday, June 5, raising $5,451 for the fight against AIDS. The event, which supports AIDS Walk Wisconsin, drew nearly 100 runners and 25 volunteers to Veteran’s Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront, kicking off PrideFest weekend. Volunteers from BMO Harris, FrontRunners and Diverse and Resilient hosted rest stops. Cream City Foundation was presenting sponsor. Top five winners included: 1st place, Dan Ruge; second place, James Brown; third place, Adam Buck; fourth place, Robert Williams and fifth place, Luke Spychalla.

2014 Challenge Party Breaks All Records

On June 20 more than 130 guests paid a minimum of $300 each to attend this year’s Challenge Party hosted at the eco-friendly home of Patrick Mitsune and Brett Timmerman. The home is located in the award-winning urban development Kane Commons perched alongside the Milwaukee River. The record crowd attended the event which is sponsored by “Challengers” who covered 100 percent of the costs of the event so all revenue raised goes directly to the charity of the attendees’ choice. Four charities were featured for this, the 26th annual event: The American Civil Liberties Union; the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin; the Holton Street Clinic and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. The event raised a record - $78,575. Guests allocated $20,600 of the event’s total to ARCW and Mike Gifford, ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer accepted the gift on behalf of ARCW. ARCW thanks the 2014 Challengers for their leadership with this event: Neil Albrecht; April Calvert; Anne Curley; Sue Haertel; Peter Larson; Dale Leifker; Patrick Mitsune; Emily Phillips; Carlos Rodriguez; Steph Zilli and Sal Zizzo.

Thank You David Cuene

ARCW ally and major donor David Cuene recently donated the funds for a Chevy Silverado pickup truck to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. The truck will be used by Ed Richards, who maintains ARCW facilities and offices statewide. ARCW is located in nine cities throughout the state, and operates 12 facilities all requiring upkeep. “This generous gift helps ARCW avoid greater expense either in leasing or having to purchase a vehicle and we are deeply grateful to David for his support,” said Dan Mueller, ARCW Chief Development Officer.

Mark Your Calendars

For information on any of these activities, please call 414-225-1570.

Friday, August 22, 2014 - Life Performance: Acts Against AIDS

Presenting Sponsor: Direct Supply
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Brookfield
6 PM – Tickets: $100, $50, $30
Wilson Center Box Office, 262-781-9520 (starting 7/24)
ARCW 30th Anniversary Kickoff Gala

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Cocktails For A Cause

Presented by the ARCW Junior Board
Zen on 7, Hotel Metro, Milwaukee

Saturday, September 28, 2014 - Out in the Park (Benefiting ARCW)

A Private LGBT Charity Event
Presented by Mini of Chicago & BestGayChicago.com
Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, IL
7 PM to 12AM – Tickets: $39 (includes parking)

Sunday, September 28, 2014 - ArtPOP! 2014

An Art Auction Benefiting AIDS Walk Wisconsin
Taylor’s, Milwaukee
2:30 PM to 5 PM
$20 at the door

Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 25th Annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run with Honorary Chair Tim Gunn

Presenting Sponsor: MillerLite
Milwaukee Summerfest Grounds
10 AM - Register. Pledge. Fight AIDS. “Make It Work!”

Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 29th Annual Make A Promise Gala

Presenting Sponsor: MillerCoors
Wisconsin Center
400 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee