A Message from GAWDA President Wally Brant

“Four years ago, Dave and Donna Mahoney landed in Maui for the 2000 Annual Convention Planning Committee Meeting. As they drove from the airport to the spectacular Grand Wailea Hotel on the beautiful Hawaiian beach, they passed neighborhoods of startling poverty. When they investigated, they were disappointed to learn that little or none of the convention money spent finds its way to the local people.

They were moved to start a program now called “GAWDA Gives Back” whereby our members’ voluntary contributions benefit a local charity in the convention host city. Since 2000, GAWDA Gives Back has contributed $139,000 to charities in Maui, San Francisco, Orlando, and Vancouver.

One of the perks of being President of GAWDA is selecting the local charity to receive your generous donations. This year, Kathy and I investigated several very deserving charities in the Las Vegas area. The more we searched, the more we found….ALL of the charities deserving; all of them under funded.

But there was one charity that tugged most at our heartstrings. One that we felt was neglected – not because of the lack of need, but perhaps for its somewhat controversial affliction.

The GOLDEN RAINBOW organization cares for the unfortunate victims suffering from HIV – not just those infected with the AIDS virus, but the families of those victims who suffer with their loved ones while enduring prejudice, discrimination, and economic trauma.

If you look at the facts presented below, I know you will be struck by the magnitude of the need. Clearly we must all do our part to rid the world of this horrible disease and to help those who are afflicted or affected.

As I thank all of GAWDA’s membership for your past generosity, I also ask that you continue your impressive and generous record of giving to the “GAWDA Gives Back” campaign. In October, it will make all of us feel better knowing that we are making a difference to a very deserving and needy group of fellow human beings.”

Wally Brant


With the development of antiretroviral drugs, the treatment of AIDS, and HIV, has progressed significantly over the years. However, many people continue to experience difficulties in obtaining these drugs, due to their high cost, and related quality medical care.

Here are some facts:

* An estimated 40 million people worldwide – 37 million adults and 2.5 million children younger than 15 years – are living with HIV/AIDS.
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that almost 1 million United States residents are living with HIV infection.
* Worldwide, approximately 11 of every 1,000 adults aged 15 to 49 are HIV-infected.
* An estimated 5 million new HIV infections occurred worldwide during 2003; that is, about 14,000 infections each day. Nearly 50% of these were among females.
* Approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year in the United States, about 70% among men and 30% among women. Of these newly infected people, half are younger than 25 years of age.
* Of the estimated number of AIDS diagnoses through 2002 in the United States, 9,300 were in children under age 13.
* The UN estimates that between 2000 and 2020, over 68 million people will die of AIDS prematurely in the 45 countries most affected by the disease.

In his January 2003 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush announced his “Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,” with the goal of helping millions around the world affected by HIV/AIDS. In a proclamation to America on December 1, 2003, President Bush wrote, “The HIV/AIDS pandemic presents one of the greatest medical and social challenges of our time. Over the last two decades, AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 20 million people. Three million have died in the last year alone. Fighting HIV/AIDS is not only a great challenge, but also a moral imperative for those who believe in the value and dignity of every human life. The United States remains committed to taking action, showing compassion, and bringing hope to those affected by HIV/AIDS.”

More About Golden Rainbow

Golden Rainbow provides housing and direct financial assistance to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS in southern Nevada. Specifically, Golden Rainbow:

* Provides affordable and comfortable housing to HIV/AIDS infected/affected individuals who frequently would have no other place to call home. Golden Rainbow owns numerous housing units that provide shelter to individuals and families impacted by the virus.
* Offers financial relief to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS by assisting with payment of rent, mortgages, utilities, health-related costs, groceries, childcare, transportation and many other expenses.
* Forms strategic alliances with other non-profit and public organizations striving to enhance the quality of life for those we serve. When other agencies are unable to assist, Golden Rainbow acts as the “safety net” for southern Nevada’s HIV-positive population.
* Depends on select government funds, private donations, corporate endowments, foundation grants, and creative fundraising.

Direct Financial Assistance Program:

Golden Rainbow Direct Financial Assistance Program assists with emergency short-term needs and limited assistance for eligible clients in order to provide and maintain an adequate living environment and medical care. This includes financial assistance to prevent eviction, termination of utility services and essential medical costs not covered by insurance.

Affordable Housing Program:

Golden Rainbow’s Affordable Housing Program is currently the only permanent housing program designed for people living with HIV/AIDS in Las Vegas, Nevada. We operate two four-plexes and a three-bedroom home. The units are affordable and are designed to be a place where our residents can feel at home, maintain medical care and live a normal life.

Collaborations with Other Non-Profit Organizations:

Back to School — In collaboration with Father Joseph at the Saint Therese Center, this program provides backpacks filled with school supplies and gift certificates for school clothes to low-income children in grades K-12 who have been infected/affected with HIV/AIDS.

Education – Golden Rainbow has partnered with the Southern Nevada Area Health Education Center on an HIV/AIDS prevention program, which teaches adolescents aged 10-17 about sexuality, teen pregnancy, STD’s, HIV/AIDS, and that the choices they make today will affect their tomorrow.

Please consider participating in this worthy cause and help us help those who cannot help themselves.

Please send your tax deductible contribution made payable to:
“GAWDA Gives Back”
100 North 20th Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1443

To be included in the list of published contributors, we must receive your donation by no later than August 25.