May/June 2015

Merger Between AIDS Network and ARCW Shows Early Signs of Progress

ARCW President and CEO Mike Gifford speaks at the Red Ribbon Affair, April 17.

In his first public speech to a Madison audience since the February 1 merger of Wisconsin’s two leading AIDS service organizations, ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Gifford explained that the merger of the two organizations is about innovation and “the ability to do even better together.” Gifford was in Madison Friday April 17 for the annual Red Ribbon Affair fundraising gala and spoke to the need for the HIV community to come together to combine resources as the state enters the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic.

Gifford formally expressed the desire for ARCW to build upon HIV services in Madison and south central Wisconsin through new, innovative partnerships and enhancing HIV care and treatment by “drawing upon as much expertise as possible.”

“In 76 short days we have expanded access to care, securing state licensure for, staffing and enrolling 10 patients in our new behavioral health clinic,” said Gifford. “We have trained 17 people on the use of Narcan to save lives from opiate overdoses, and we have expanded the offerings of the food pantry and services provided to dental patients.”

Gifford also announced the completion of a national search for an HIV pharmacist to help lead a new ARCW Pharmacy in Madison. Brad Plunkett, RPh received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Butler University and will bring 20 years of HIV experience to ARCW when he joins the staff on April 30.

One focus of the merger is to ensure that the new ARCW has the financial resources available to it to defeat AIDS and here Gifford noted early progress announcing a $75,000 gift from local philanthropist, William F. Reinicker and a $50,000 grant from the Washington DC-based AIDS United. “Locally and nationally, our merged organization is already proving its ability to secure new financial resources,” he said.

For more information about the merger between the AIDS Network and ARCW, click here.

900 Ready to Electrify The Promise May 2, Allies to Be Honored at 2015 Make A Promise Gala

More than 900 people have registered for the ARCW Make A Promise gala May 2 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year’s theme, Electrify The Promise, “refers to the power that comes from people joining forces in love and generosity,” said Mary Hartwig, ARCW Director of Special Events. The springtime event will take place in a mystical world of an electric garden coursing with energy and pulsing with the beat of new life.

The annual event will begin with Milwaukee’s most colorful silent auction and the opportunity to bid in live auction on a one-of-a-kind, historic quilt made  from vintage AIDS Walk Wisconsin t-shirts. Handmade by ARCW allies, the quilt demonstrates the history of and support for AIDS Walk Wisconsin down to the stitching which is in the shape of hearts and ribbons.

In conjunction with its 25th anniversary as a donor to ARCW, MillerCoors will be honored with the ARCW Vision Award. The award can only be awarded to ARCW donors whose cumulative giving history exceeds $1 million. MillerCoors, presenting sponsor of ARCW events in Milwaukee, has invested more than $1.5 million to ARCW and was the first well-known Wisconsin corporation to support the organization.

In 2014 people with HIV could start purchasing life insurance. Tim Clark, recipient of the 2015 Courage Award, couldn’t be more pleased even though he wasn’t at that table for those negotiations. Since 2009 Clark, who is HIV-positive, has advocated for HIV-positive people to have the ability to buy life insurance. Clark used his own resources to present studies to convince life insurance executives that the longer patients successfully live with HIV, the more they should be able to secure their products. In the midst of his advocacy, the breakthrough happened through another company altogether, but not after Clark placed himself at the service of other long-term survivors of HIV.

Endurance events require endurance volunteers. This year ARCW honors the volunteer Steering Committee of the ACT Ride, Wisconsin’s AIDS Ride. The 300-mile bike event through Wisconsin’s scenic terrain is designed to urge riders to go past their limits, build an inclusive community, inspire action and raise much needed money for the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin. To date, the event has raised more than $3.1 million over the 12 years of the event.

Perhaps no other Major League Baseball team has made more of an investment in the fight against HIV than the Milwaukee Brewers have in Wisconsin. In recognition, ARCW will honor its charitable arm, the Brewers Community Foundation with its 2015 Philanthropist of the Year Award. Their donations exceeding $185,000 since 1995 not only have advanced the ARCW mission, they have communicated to Brewers fans that HIV is a public health issue that still deserves attention and funding.

New this year will be the bidding via cell phone for the silent auction. Attendees are reminded to charge their cell phones prior to the event. Those guests without cell phones can place bids through volunteers posted through the auction area who can do their bidding for them. The auction catalogue will be posted to the event web site prior to the event on May 2nd.

If you have purchased a ticket, we encourage you to pre-register before the event on our website to help make your check-in experience that night as easy as possible. Everyone who pre-registers before the event will be entered into a drawing for two complimentary tickets to the 2016 Make A Promise Gala.

There are a few tickets remaining for the event. Visit our website or contact Kristin Wollenberg at 414.225.1570 for details.

ARCW at 30: Archives Moved to Special Collections at UWM

As 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of ARCW, an extensive collection of the history of ARCW has been completed. Led by Doug Nelson, ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer from 1988 to 2012 and Michael Doylen, Assistant Director of Libraries and Head of Archives for the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, more than a year of curatorial work has been completed on the transferred records. The collection will be carefully cataloged and properly held in the archives of UWM. The compilation is a celebration of the impact ARCW has had on the AIDS epidemic. The collection also sheds light on the development of prevention programs, health and social services, the changing demographics of infected and at- risk populations as well as education programs. 

The transfer of these records is the first phase of a new HIV/AIDS History Project, which now will include an oral history project, an online exhibit and an ongoing acquisitions project. ARCW and the UWM Libraries are actively raising money to complete a $50,000 fund raising campaign to fund the completion of the project. To learn more about how you can help make history, call ARCW Chief Development Officer Dan Mueller at 414-225-1543.

HIV Prevention Leader Represents ARCW at University of Wisconsin Heroin Summit

As communities across Wisconsin continue to face the effects of the on-going heroin and opioid epidemic, elected officials and public health professionals are turning to ARCW for help in crafting their response.

“ARCW has a proud history of leading Wisconsin’s response to AIDS and advocating for enlightened public health policy to support HIV prevention, care and treatment,” said ARCW Vice President for Government Relations, Bill Keeton. “Since 1994, ARCW has been working to reduce HIV transmission risk among individuals who inject drugs, including heroin, which is resurging throughout the state – from the bigger cities through our rural communities.”

In February, ARCW Director of Prevention Services, Scott Stokes, was invited to be a part of an expert panel hosted by the Evidence-Based Health Policy Project. The project, which is made possible through a partnership of the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs, the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, and the Wisconsin Legislative Council, regularly presents in-depth discussions on significant health care and public health topics.

Joining Scott on the panel were Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, State Representative John Nygren, and representatives from the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, UW Health, the University of Wisconsin and Brandeis University. More than 100 guests were present for the discussion which covered a range of topics from the history of the use of opioids in the treatment of pain, to the use of prescription drug monitoring programs used by clinics and pharmacies, through the use and distribution of naloxone to prevent needless opiate-related deaths.

Scott is a nationally-recognized leader in the development and operation of successful harm-reduction based interventions and programs.  He discussed the value in strategies designed to help people suffering from addiction to embrace incremental changes that reduce negative drug use consequences and improve overall health.

“Our goal is to identify individuals most at-risk for HIV infection, and help them stay HIV-negative by using nonjudgmental approaches,” said Stokes. “We know our naloxone distribution program continues to save lives, and when combined with our HIV prevention messages, we are giving at-risk individuals the information and materials they need to stay alive and free of HIV until they can choose and achieve sobriety.”

ARCW VP Offers Advice to MU Students on Making A Living, Making A Difference

From left to right: Marquette student Jadelyn Martinez, Dan O’Brien, Sarah Milnar, Marquette student Maggie Stang and Dan Mueller, ARCW Chief Development Officer.

On Monday, April 13 Marquette University students took part in a unique career planning forum focusing on jobs that focus on others.

Entitled Making A Living, Making A Difference, the event featured Dan O’Brien, Regional Director for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order), Sarah Milnar, Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement for the Center for Youth Engagement and ARCW Vice President and Chief Development Officer Dan Mueller.

Panelist commentary went from general overviews of what it is like to be a non-profit leader to specific advice and strategy. “Even on the most vexing day, I know when my head hits the pillow at night that I am making a difference,” said Mueller, a 1985 Marquette graduate who majored in Journalism and Spanish. Among his advice? “When it comes to a career in non-profits, clarity is your friend,” said Mueller. “There are so many things that need to be done in a non-profit that a clear job description with clear goals is essential to set you up for success. If you are serious about joining a non-profit, ask to see the annual performance evaluation tool your potential employer would use to evaluate you and make sure it ties out to your job description. If it doesn’t, walk away from the offer. There are more astute non-profits out there.”

Mueller used the opportunity to announce a new initiative, the ARCW Development Fellows, which will provide college students with year-round internship programs at ARCW in philanthropy and communications.

The event was cosponsored by Marquette’s Centers for Peacemaking and Community Service.

ARCW Red Ribbon Patron Luncheon

October 28, 2014 – ARCW donors with cumulative giving at or beyond $10,000 were treated to a luncheon in their honor by ARCW at the InterContinental Hotel Milwaukee. The luncheon featured a keynote by Douglas Brooks, President Obama’s lead advisor on HIV/AIDS.

Red Ribbon Affair Celebrates 30 Years and New Beginnings

The Red Ribbon Affair took place at The Edgewater Hotel.

Madison’s hot new hotel, The Edgewater, was the venue this year for the annual Red Ribbon Affair that included a silent auction and dinner attended by 239 allies in the fight against AIDS. The guest list included a Who’s Who of public officials and donors, including Congressman Mark Pocan who congratulated the leadership of both the AIDS Network and ARCW, not just on their 30th anniversaries this year, but also on the February 1 merger of the two organizations. In the keynote, given by Mike Gifford ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer, guests were acknowledged as the driving force making advancements like the merger possible. The event held on Friday, April 17 raised $58,690 for ARCW. For photos from the event, click here.

Camp BINGO - BIG in Every Way

Competitors get ready for another round of Camp BINGO.

Hundreds of Allies in Madison beat the winter blues in February and March by attending a series of BINGO fund raising events that were both helpful to ARCW patients and hilarious. Camp BINGO features a sassy take on the traditional game starting with the fact that each monthly event has its own theme. The February 22 event was referred to as Camp BLINGO (click here for photos) and encouraged all attendees to attend as their gaudy best. The March 29 event, Big Gay Wedding BINGO, featured attendees in bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns (click here for photos). Madison celebrity ball callers participated along with Emcee, Cass Marie Domino.  These ARCW events included costume contests and multiple chances to win prize money. More than 719 people attended Camp BINGO in February and March raising $21,666 for the fight against AIDS.

Allies Plan Parties, Raise Money for ARCW Patients

If these allies inspire you to plan a fund raising event to support ARCW, coordinate your efforts with ARCW Special Events by calling 414-225-1598.

A Friend in Need Triggers The Remedy

Completely volunteer driven, The Remedy event took place at the Boot Hill Pub in La Crosse.

When La Crosse ally Travis Pyka was told by a good friend in another state that he had been diagnosed HIV-positive Travis did what seemed to come naturally. He offered his friend an ear whenever he needed it. And then he turned to fund raising to help generate awareness and much needed funds to support the fight against AIDS in our state. The third annual Remedy event was held in La Crosse at the Boot Hill Pub on February 25 and featured menu samplings of La Crosse area restaurants, dancing, an auction and drag show. The mayors of La Crosse, Onalaska and La Crescent officially kicked off the event, which was attended by more than 250 people including Miss Wisconsin 2015 and Mr. Gay Wisconsin US of A, Taylor Ashton. The event raised more than $5,000 for ARCW prevention, care and treatment programs. Photos of this fun and important event can be found on Truly Unique Photography's Facebook page.

LGBT Hockey Enthusiasts Use Blades to Fight AIDS

Participants in the Madison Gay Hockey Association at the Alliant Center in Madison.

On February 7, The Madison Gay Hockey Association gathered at Alliant Energy Coliseum for an open skate and exhibition hockey games to raise money and awareness for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. The seventh annual Blades Against AIDS was hosted by MGHA, an adult developmental ice hockey league for people of all sexualities and gender identifications. The event raised $4,000 for ARCW.

For information on any of these activities, please call Kristin Wollenberg in Milwaukee at 414-225-1570, or Dan Curd in Madison at 608-316-8601.