Telluride AIDS Benefit: Beneficiaries Receive $145K In 2017

The Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB) is contributing $145,000 to eight AIDS service organizations in Colorado, Utah, and Africa, in 2017. marking a very successful 24th year for the organization. To date, TAB has donated over $2.5 million towards HIV/AIDS programs worldwide and 100% of funds raised during TAB’s week of events are being donated back out.

Bishop + Young in background, model up front is Jessica Duggan, behind her is Sue Knechtel. Photo Credit, Matt Kroll/Life Feeling Photography.

Each winter, the Telluride community comes together to keep HIV/AIDS at the forefront of important issues by donating its energy, time, money, and services, culminating in a spectacular fashion show and week of outreach events. In addition to the money raised, more than 150 people donate about 5,000 hours of their time to make TAB events happen.

“I know I am biased, but I feel that TAB encompasses all of the best parts of our community — compassion, creativity, talent, and an awesome generosity of spirit,” said executive director Michelle Maughan.

According to founding board member Ron Gilmer: “Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was greatly expanded and many prerequisites were dropped to make access to care easier for almost 45% of HIV positive people. Many of these improvements are likely to be cut or trimmed in the new administration, making funding sources like the Telluride AIDS Benefit more relevant than ever.”

TAB funds go to four organizations in Colorado, one in Utah, and three in Africa, with an average of 85% of funds staying in Colorado. TAB funds are uniquely important to beneficiaries because, unlike federal funding, they are unencumbered by rules as to how monies can be spent.

In Colorado, TAB funds support two organizations in Denver, Brother Jeff’s Community Health Initiative and The Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program (CHIP). In Grand Junction, TAB funds support the Western Colorado AIDS Project (WestCAP) and the Western Colorado Specialty Care Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Brother Jeff’s Community Health Initiative began as a volunteer organization based in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, run by Brother Jeff Fard. Brother Jeff and Ron Gilmer met when they sat on the Governor’s AIDS Council together in 2002 and TAB became the first funder of his work in 2004.

Both Western Colorado AIDS Project (WestCAP) and the Western Colorado Specialty Care Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital operate out of Grand Junction and provide care to people living with HIV in 22 counties on the Western Slope, serving over 40,000 square miles.

Tea + Cup in background, models left to right are Desiree Cain, Meredith Dinga, Allie Gausman. Photo Credit, Nicko Ferguson/nickosdreams.com.

When asked about what challenges their organization faces, Hannah Bernath, prevention services manager at CHIP said: “We are anticipating cuts to our federal and state funding due to the new administration. We have many clients at risk of losing their Medicaid. In order to keep them in care we will need to increase our ability to provide financial assistance, which will have to come from unrestricted funding sources such as TAB.”

In 2016, TAB provided 62% of these unrestricted funds for CHIP programs.

In Moab, Utah, TAB supports the work of the Moab Free Health Clinic’s HIV/STD testing program. The Moab Free Health Clinic has been busy creating community partnerships to grow its reach in that rural area. Over the past two years, they have seen more medical providers in surrounding counties with limited resources and services referring patients to them for HIV/STD testing.

In Africa, TAB funds support The Ethiopian Family Fund based in Addis Ababa; Manzini Youth Care (MYC) based in Swaziland; and Generation Ubuntu in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

You can learn more about TAB beneficiaries at www.aidsbenefit.org.

TAB also funds YEAR-ROUND FREE HIV TESTING at the Telluride Medical Center. Please contact the Telluride Medical Center today to set up a free HIV test at 970.728.3848.

If you would like to bring free testing to your community, or HIV/AIDS Education to your school, contact TAB.

Interested in getting involved? Contact Michelle at michelle@aidsbenefit.org.

TAB’s staff and board are already gearing up for the 25th anniversary benefit to be held March 1-3, 2018!

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