After much thought and deliberation, we have decided to end the AIDS Walk. Over the past year, we have solicited input from volunteers, staff, board members, donors, and sponsors. We have crunched numbers and reviewed data. We’ve asked tough questions and challenged ourselves to look through new lenses. We are confident this is the right decision.
The walk has been a long and wonderful tradition, rooted in the epidemic over the years. It has served as a means of outreach, empowerment and education. Historically, it has been a way to honor lives lost, to raise community awareness, to provide an opportunity to come together in solidarity, and of course, to raise funds.
Our walk, like many other AIDS Walks in the country, has struggled in recent years. Community visibility has faded. Participant numbers have decreased as people move away from walks or to other types of events. Funds raised have steadily declined over the years, yet expenses to put on the event remain consistent. Those of you who have been involved over the years have surely noticed these changes, despite the unwavering commitment of a core group of walkers and our efforts to re-energize the event.
The important issues the Walk addressed—visibility, awareness, honoring lost lives, and raising needed funds—can and will be addressed in other ways. We are committed to providing opportunities to meet these goals, and already do in the following ways:
- Honor lives lost: World AIDS Day, December 1
- Raise community awareness: Pride Festivals, Ethnic Fest, World AIDS Day, and other community collaborations like Art AIDS America
- Come together in solidarity: World AIDS Day, Advocacy Day, etc
- Raise Funds: Dining Out for Life and new fundraising events
As you might imagine, it takes an incredible amount of time and resources to produce an event of this scale. We believe this time can be better spent on community outreach and prevention, reducing HIV related stigma, strengthening relationships with our supporters, funders, donors, and community partners, and launching new and innovative events that will re-energize supporters and draw in new people who care about and support our cause.
The bottom line is that we want to use our resources wisely. We want you and all of our supporters to feel confident that we are using funds in the most responsible way.
We’re looking forward to what is to come. We’ll be launching a new event this fall and will be creating additional opportunities in the coming year so that you can continue to be a part of our efforts to end AIDS In our community. We will need your support and advocacy as we make this transition, perhaps now more than ever before as we work to end AIDS in Washington State by 2020.
How can you or your team stay involved with PCAF and continue to make a difference in the lives of people in our community who are affected by HIV or AIDS? Teams are encouraged to host smaller, individual fundraisers for PCAF (called Third party events) to support this cause you believe in. For a list of ideas, see the Host an Event page. Staff are available to support your fundraising efforts.
As we make this transition, we reflect with great gratitude on all who have been a part of the Walk over the years. Thanks to all walkers who have fearlessly raised money, donors who have generously contributed, and sponsors who have provided the structure to make the Walk possible. Thanks to every one of you who showed up to take a stand, raise awareness, honor those who are affected, and remember those who have died. Your spirit and generosity have made a huge impact in our community and in the lives of those living with HIV or AIDS.
We hope we can count on you to continue to stand with us as we move forward in a new direction.