Dear Friends of AEF,
Just a little over eight months ago, I assumed the role of Executive Director of the AIDS Emergency Fund and the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. When I left my leadership position in the philanthropic sector, I knew from my prior experience that there was a need for closer collaboration and sustainable partnerships if two small nonprofit organizations were going to grow and meet increasingly complex client needs.
For the past six months, the AEF Board of Directors, staff and I have been taking stock of the external environment in which we operate. We have observed the tremendous changes that have occurred since AEF came together as a band of compassionate volunteers to care for friends who were sick and dying of HIV/AIDS. Over the past five years, we have seen fewer clients, fewer infections, decreasing affordable housing options, and the changing face of an epidemic that is now seen as a chronic disease. We have engaged in open, honest and heartfelt discussions about what we can do to have a deeper impact on the clients we serve. As a result of these strategic discussions, we realize that we need to go beyond collaboration and that, in to meet the changing needs of our client base, we need to be open to strategic restructuring.
We are pleased to share with you that after discussion with potential partners, we are in negotiations to merge our AEF Emergency Financial Assistance and Housing Stabilization Programs with Positive Resource Center (PRC). PRC is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to assist people affected by or at risk of HIV/AIDS through culturally appropriate counseling, education, training and advocacy. PRC is enhancing its services by merging with Baker Places, a clinically-based residential treatment program for people with mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS-related issues to help them learn and regain the skills needed to live their lives fully and productively. Upon the completion of a due diligence process, the AEF Board of Directors will make the final determination on whether to merge with PRC. We strongly view this collaboration with PRC–Baker Places as an opportunity to bring like-minded services “under one roof” and place the needs of our clients front and center.
The Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which has shared administration with AEF, will continue to operate as a separate nonprofit organization with its own Board of Directors, staff and volunteers.
Brett Andrews, Positive Resource Center’s executive director, would become CEO of the newly consolidated organization.
(Photo courtesy of Terrence McCarthy)
Following the proposed merger, AEF will maintain its identity within PRC. Brett Andrews, PRC’s Executive Director, will oversee the new organization and AEF’s programs will be integrated into non-clinical services.
Under the new PRC, donors will be able to designate which program their gifts support. To our long-time donors and supporters, we want to express our deepest appreciation for your gifts to AEF and assure you that your continued support will enable AEF and PRC to provide greater access to a continuum of services. Additionally, the integration of these services under one roof increases effectiveness and efficiencies.
To our amazing volunteers who have been the backbone of AEF and BCEF, you will be able to continue to support events and activities that provide people with a myriad of disabilities and chronic diseases easier access to a more comprehensive array of services. We sincerely hope that you will continue your engagement with AEF’s programs and the clients we serve.
I am pleased to share that no AEF staff will lose their jobs as a result of this merger and will be retained at the newly merged entity. We will also remain for the foreseeable future in our current location at 12 Grace Street.
AIDS Emergency Fund
(Photo courtesy of Terrence McCarthy)
In the next few months, I will be working to both maintain our current programs and ensure the successful transition of AEF to PRC — its clients, staff and volunteers.
I have been so proud to work with a dedicated Board Chair, Board of Directors, staff and volunteers to get us to this next step. Most importantly, I am gratified that we have truly put the needs of clients first and are adapting our organizational structure to better serve those needs.