SFAF Health Center Remains on Track
As it grapples with the pending loss of a major fundraising event in 2014, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation continues to move forward with plans to build a health and wellness center in the Castro.
The agency announced in October that it had signed a 10-year lease for 474 Castro Street in order to combine three of its programs under one roof - Magnet, Stonewall Project, and Stop AIDS Project - as well as expand services. SFAF executives estimate they need to raise at least $7 million for the project.
What was not publicly known at the time of the announcement was that the founder of AIDS Walk San Francisco had informed SFAF - the lead beneficiary of the fundraiser since its inception 25 years ago - that he plans to part ways with the agency following the 2013 event. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a December 13 article, MZA Events owner Craig R. Miller asked Project Inform to be the lead agency for the 2014 AIDS Walk.
While the amount has varied due to the success of the event, the walk has contributed roughly $650,000 to SFAF’s operating budget in recent years. The agency is now trying to determine how to make up the fiscal hit from losing the walk in two years.
The monetary challenge Miller’s decision has presented SFAF is not hampering its plans to open the health and wellness center in the heart of the city’s LGBT district, SFAF CEO Neil Giuliano told the B.A.R.
"We are full steam ahead with our Castro plans," said Giuliano. "We are bringing three strong brands into a new home for health and wellness."
The agency is currently developing a capital campaign it expects to launch sometime in early 2013 to begin raising the funds needed for construction on the site, which has housed a video rental store that is going out of business, as well as lease payments over the next decade. The larger storefront is costing SFAF upwards of $170,000 more a year in rent than the three current sites that now house its programs in the Castro.