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The Best HIV and LGBTQ Fundraisers of 2017

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Tuesday Dec 26, 2017

Dinners, galas, grants and donations are all par for the course when it comes to fundraising. There were numerous AIDSWalks, bikes, cycles (and even a horse race) to benefit HIV and LGBTQ organizations. But 2017 also saw a wealth of unusual fundraising events, among them the Life Group LA's annual Drag Queen World Series, Drag Queen Bingo, the Imperial Court's Night of a Thousand Gowns and Michael Musto's star turn "Fork on Left, Knife in Back." Here's the top picks of the year.

  • ACRIA's Holiday Dinner with GMHC Raises $375K for Programs
    On December 14, ACRIA held its 22nd annual signature winter fundraising event -- the Holiday Dinner -- on Thursday night at Cipriani 25 Broadway, raising $375,000 to fund ACRIA's lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs. To read more, click here.

  • Sir Ian McKellen Honorary Chair of Night of a Thousand Gowns 
    Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE was the Honorary Chair and will receive the Fred E. Tree Spirit of Stonewall Award at this year's Night of a Thousand Gowns. Also at this year's ball, we honored Dustin Lance Black with our Diamond Award. Black is the writer and producer of the current miniseries "When We Rise," airing on the ABC television network. To read more, click here.

  • 6th Annual Drag Queen World Series Benefits Life Group LA
    On Saturday, May 6, the defending champions The LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence return to Glendale Sports Complex to defend their title from The West Hollywood Cheerleaders in the 6th Annual Drag Queen World Series in a fun-filled, comedic and antic full game! This years colorful commentary was delivered by two Chico's Angels', Chita Parol (the smart one) and Frieda Laye (the "Friendly" one)! These two heavenly creatures are part of Chico's Angels, a trio of beautiful and comedic Latina drag queens who make up Chico's Angels: Kay Sedia, Chita Parol & Frieda Laye, who work for pennies for their unseen boss, Chico! Think a Latino drag queen/Three Stooges version of the '70s series, "Charlie's Angels." To read more, click here.

  • AIDS/LifeCycle Raise More Than $15.1 Million for San Francisco AIDS Foundation and LA LGBT Center's HIV Programs
    AIDS/LifeCycle announced that participants raised more than $15.1 million dollars to support San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. AIDS/LifeCycle remains the world's largest annual single event HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Nearly 2,200 cyclists pedaled out of Cow Palace this morning on the 16th year of AIDS/LifeCycle with 675 volunteer "roadies" supporting them during the 7-day, 545-mile journey. To read more, click here.

  • On WAD, (RED) Raises $500M for Global Fund text
    Ahead of World AIDS Day 2017, (RED) -- the AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver -- announces it has delivered a total of $500 million to the Global Fund, to fund HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa. To read more, click here.

  • Gilead Sciences Awards $7.5M to HIV Cure Initiatives
    Gilead Sciences, Inc. announced the second round of recipients of its HIV cure grants program. This new commitment will provide $7.5 million to support five additional HIV cure research initiatives led by top academic institutions and focused on translational research and efficacy studies in preclinical models. To read more, click here.

  • Over 2,000 Attend Unleash Your Muse: GMHC's 27th Annual Latex Ball
    Over 2,000 people from around the world celebrated the 27th Annual Latex Ball, the largest in the world for the House and Ball community, and attendees include fashion models, designers, renowned photographers, members of the House and Ballroom community and leadership from community-based organizations. The event incorporates an array of categories for competition, free HIV testing, HIV-prevention materials, and sexual health messaging provided by GMHC and over 20 community-based organizations, as well as the New York City and State Departments of Health. To read more, click here.

  • UCLA Receives $5M Grant for Sharing Research on AIDS and Substance Abuse
    The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded $5 million to researchers at UCLA to develop a resource and data center for millions of pieces of research, lab samples, statistics and other data aimed at boosting research into the effects of substance abuse on HIV/AIDS. The five-year grant, called Collaborating Consortium of Cohorts Producing NIDA Opportunities, will connect groups of investigators with National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research and data ranging from state-of-the-art bioinformatics to laboratory specimens, said Pamina Gorbach, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the principal investigator on the project. To read more, click here.

  • HIV Activist Jack Mackenroth Utilizes Best 'Assets' to Raise $75K for HIV/AIDS
    Jack Mackenroth is a UC Berkley graduate, a decorated athlete, a successful fashion designer, in-demand model, television reality star, HIV activist, social media powerhouse, and now -- a record-breaking fundraiser using all of his resources to break down stigma and increase donations. Jack has also been an out, HIV-positive man since 1990. Mackenroth's first attempt at major fundraising came in 2014, when he participated in his first BRAKING AIDS® Ride. The BRAKING AIDS® Ride is a three day, 285-mile, fully supported bike ride from Boston to New York. He was incredibly successful at raising awareness (and money) through sassy antics, style, and a sense of humor. He's so good at it that his personal campaign in 2014 raised $56,000. (The official goal is $3,500 per rider.) To read more, click here.

  • 5K Glitter Run Raises Funds for Los Angeles LGBT Center
    Thousands of people participated in The Glitter Run, a first-of-its-kind 5K fun run/walk on Sunday, August 20, in which people of all shapes, races, cultures, ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities joined together to celebrate the power and beauty of diversity. Presented by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the family-friendly event (free for kids 12 and under) will welcome people of all abilities and is supported by Premier Sponsor Macy's; Grand Sponsor Tito's Handmade Vodka; Major Sponsor Hornburg Jaguar Land Rover; and Supporting Sponsor Los Angeles Chargers. To read more, click here.

  • Amida Care Fund Announces 2017 Grants for HIV/AIDS Initiatives
    The Amida Care Fund at Stonewall Community Foundation awarded a total of $20,000 in new grants for innovative HIV prevention and services to several community-based organizations to help them continue their important work in the communities they serve. The 2017 grantees are Community Kinship Life, HEAT, Pride Center of Staten Island, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Translatina Network, and Trinity Place Shelter. Grant recipients are selected based on their outstanding work to address HIV/AIDS in LGBTQ communities throughout New York City. To read more, click here.

  • Jussie Smollett Raises $40,000 To Fight HIV/AIDS In Black Communities
    When you ask Jussie Smollett -- one of the breakthrough stars from Fox's uber-successful TV show "Empire" -- how he wants to be introduced, he always leads with the word activist. For many actors in Hollywood, that's just a public-relations gimmick; not Smollett. In a recent interview, he shared how his mother would admonish him and his siblings as children, "There are two things you must do: Love one another and be an activist." With his mother's voice and a sense of the type of real activism that generates change imprinted on his psyche, Jussie is not satisfied just using his voice and celebrity to draw attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He recently leveraged his $20,000 gift to raise $40,000 for the Black AIDS Institute. To read more, click here.

  • Thousands to March in AIDS Walk NY, World's Largest AIDS Fundraising Event
    GMHC and AIDS Walk leaders saw a larger than usual turnout at this Sunday's May 21 AIDS Walk New York in response to the recent House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that could soon throw thousands of HIV-positive people off their insurance. "We see this vote as a direct attack on our clients, many of whom may lose their health insurance and their ability to access lifesaving medications," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "The potential outcomes are devastating, not only for the LGBT community, but for all Americans. AIDS Walk New York is a chance for people who care about public health and social justice to rally together and raise their voices against this disastrous bill -- while raising funds to support those it could harm the most." To read more, click here.

  • New amfAR Awards Give Boost to Promising Young HIV/AIDS Researchers
    amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced the 2017 recipients of the Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research. Named in honor of amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim, the Krim Fellowship program supports bright young scientists seeking innovative solutions to HIV/AIDS. The three Krim fellows -- Daniela Monaco, Ph.D., at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Gabriel Ozorowski, Ph.D., at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA; and Jonathan Richard, Ph.D., at the Université de Montréal, Centre de Recherche du CHUM in Montreal, Canada -- will each be awarded $150,000 over two years. To read more, click here.

  • Charli XCX PSA Highlights Kiehl's LifeRide for amfAR
    Since 2010, Kiehl's Since 1851, the venerable New York-based purveyor of fine quality skin and hair care, has used a fleet of motorcycles to make noise for AIDS awareness. This year, for its eighth annual Kiehl's LifeRide for amfAR, kicking off July 31-Aug. 7, Kiehl's and amfAR are focusing their messaging on the rise of HIV diagnoses in young people. In a PSA launching July 19, amfAR supporter Charli XCX will share key statistics about the status of the epidemic among the younger generation. View the full PSA at KiehlsNYC on YouTube. To read more, click here.

  • AIDS United Awards Grants to 10 Community Orgs to Help End HIV Stigma
    AIDS United has awarded grants to 10 community-based organizations to help end HIV stigma and discrimination while building leadership among people living with HIV. AIDS United's Positive Organizing Project (POP), with generous support from Gilead Sciences, taps a new generation of leaders living with HIV to help end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. The leadership of people living with HIV continues to be needed to allow people across this country to live well with HIV, free from stigma, discrimination and fear. These grants come at an important moment in the HIV epidemic. In late September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people living with HIV who have achieved a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. This sends a powerful message to counter HIV stigma and harmful HIV criminalization laws. To read more, click here.

  • 12th Annual Saddle Up Raises Raises Funds for The Life Group LA
    Saddle Up LA, the 12th annual fundraiser for Los Angeles non-profit The Life Group LA, galloped out with "Dancing With the Stars" star Kym Herjavec (formerly Johnson) as this year's Saddle Up LA's Celebrity Honorary Trail Guide. The horseback ride was held on Saturday July 15, 2017 in the beautiful and majestic Griffith Park Mountains. If you don't have your own horse, no worry, there are plenty of horses available.
    To read more, click here.

  • Hudson Valley Dance Festival Raises Record-Breaking $146,297 for Dancers Responding to AIDS
    Changing leaves, crisp autumn air and breathtaking views of the Hudson River set the scene for this year's Hudson Valley Dance Festival on October 7, in Catskill, NY. Two performances of acclaimed and emerging dance companies at Historic Catskill Point raised a record $146,297 for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. To read more, click here.

  • Michael Musto Roast 'Fork on Left, Knife in Back' Benefits Callen-Lorde
    On Monday, May 22 at the Actors Temple, Lug Nut Entertainment and the popular dating app SCRUFF presented "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back: Broadway Roasts Michael Musto," a one-night-only charitable event to honor the pop culture journalist as it raises funds for Callen-Lorde, the vital community Health Center that provides sensitive, quality healthcare and related services targeted to New York's LGBT communities. Film and television star Rosie O'Donnell kicked off the evening with host, Emmy Award Winner Bruce Vilanch. Comedian Judy Gold lent a hand as Rachel Klein directs the evening's events. Actress Mindy Cohn of "Facts of Life" was there, as was viral sensation Randy Rainbow. To read more, click here.

  • Philly AIDS Fund's 18th Annual Black-Tie GayBingo Raises Funds for HIV/AIDS
    On Saturday, March 25, get a little bit of glam, a lot of fabulous, and a whirlwind of fun at the 18th Annual Black-Tie GayBINGO, where all the funds raised go to HIV/AIDS emergency services right here in the Greater Philadelphia region. Enjoy cocktails and a silent auction, six bingo games, dinner and entertainment from the Bingo Verifying Divas (BVDs), who dress in glamorous drag to entertain the crowd while raising funds for HIV/AIDS. At this year's event, AIDS Fund will award the "Favorite Straight Person of the Year" to Jeffrey Holder. In addition, the Founders' Award will be presented to Michael "Cherry Pop" Tambon and Brandon Robert Barlieb and the Ferrara Family Volunteer Award will be presented to A. Tyler Lynch. To read more, click

    Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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