Oklahoma Aids Care Fund awards $186,207 in grants for HIV/AIDS services

Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund Executive Director Cher Golding. Photo provided.

(Oklahoma City, OK) - Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund (OACF), a fundraising and advocacy organization, announces funding for 14 organizations providing direct services for Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS.

Each year, 100 percent of the net proceeds from Red Tie Night, OACF’s flagship fundraising gala, help support Oklahoma communities impacted by HIV/AIDS. This year, OACF contributes over $186,000.00 to benefit HIV/AIDS service programs.

“Although the advancement of treatment and care for those living with HIV/AIDS has greatly improved, Oklahomans still face barriers to accessing quality care and services to assist them and their families with issues surrounding this disease. As a result, the need for funding to support the HIV/AIDS service organizations in Oklahoma has also increased. In addition, Oklahoma is still experiencing an increase in new infection rates. This year the request for funding from OACF far exceeded what we had available to grant,” said OACF Executive Director, Cher Golding.

Golding continued, “It’s heartbreaking not being able to meet all the needs in our community. As a statewide organization, our community grants program provides prevention, treatment and emergency services in 54 of the 77 counties in our state. Our reach is large but we simply must do more. Our Board, staff and fundraising volunteers are committed to raising more money to meet the growing needs and provide indirect support for the clients our grantees support.”

This year’s grants focused on one of three areas: HIV/AIDS education and prevention, testing, and counseling and/or emergency assistance for those living with HIV/AIDS. The following grants were awarded:

AIDS Support Program (Winds House) – for the Positively Health Living Program to purchase equipment and provide cooking classes for residents living with HIV residing in emergency housing at the Winds House.

Be the Change – to support the Community Promise Initiative which is an evidence based intervention addressing HIV risks associated with injection drug use among adolescents and young adults.

Diversity Center of Oklahoma – to provide psychosocial counseling and therapy for individuals coping with an HIV diagnosis and complications from the disease.

Expressions Community Center – to support the facility management of a collaborative center for HIV-related services, support groups, trainings and outreach services.

Grateful Day Foundation (Oklahomans for Equality) – to support an annual HIV Wellness Retreat for those living with HIV/AIDS. The retreat provides healing arts, therapies and workshops focusing on advances in treatment and care.

Guiding Right, Inc. – operating support for the Link to Life program in Tulsa and the Food is Life program in Oklahoma City. Link to Life provides free testing and linkage to care for newly diagnosed individuals in the Tulsa area. Food is Life is a partnership with OU Infectious Disease Institute and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and will establish a farmers market in one of the highest at-risk communities void of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Heartline – to support HIV/AIDS related support and referrals for the calls to the 2-1-1 phone and texting systems. The program connects callers with HIV/AIDS resources while providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Health Outreach Prevention Education (H.O.P.E.) – to provide free HIV prevention, outreach and testing services in rural Oklahoma. This program addresses the challenges for those living in small rural communities in need of broader anonymous care.

Latino Community Development Agency – to support an HIV/AIDS prevention program targeted to under-served, uninsured high risk communities in central Oklahoma. This program serves the Latino Community along with a broader and diversified clientele in a bilingual and bi-cultural environment.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma – to provide legal services for those living with HIV/AIDS. Services range from advice to full civil representation at District, Federal and Administrative Courts.

NorthCare – to support the Young Okies United (YOU) Program that seeks to address the risks of HIV infections for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-29. This demographic makes up 50% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections in Oklahoma. YOU provides outreach to youth at risk for HIV/AIDS while addressing health disparity issues and sexual health challenges.

Other Options, Inc. – to support the Friends Food Pantry to provide food and nutritional supplements for over 2,000 households affected by HIV/AIDS. Funding will also support equipment and transportation needs for the program. 

Planned Parenthood Great Plains – to support the Get REAL (Real Education About Life) Program that provides safe sex, HIV prevention and educational outreach in central Oklahoma.

RAIN Oklahoma – to support the expansion of HIV/AIDS prevention education, unreimbursed case management supportive services and urgent client needs that are unavailable through other resources. The goal of the program is to reduce health disparities for those living with HIV/AIDS and keep them moving through the continuum of care to reach full viral suppression and maintain good overall health, wellness and stability.

The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund is a fundraising and advocacy organization dedicated to providing financial support and resources to HIV/AIDS service providers in the state of Oklahoma. Since its inception in 1991, the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund has awarded more than $12.5 million for HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs to organizations in our state.

The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund was organized by Barbara and Jackie Cooper following the death of their son to AIDS. Dealing with this devastating disease firsthand compelled them to reach out to others living with HIV/AIDS and those vulnerable to the disease.

For more information about OACF, visit www.okaidscarefund.com.

The Gayly – July 18, 2017 @ 1:25 p.m.