SFAF Plans to Raise $7.9M
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s plan for a health and wellness center for gay and bisexual men located in the Castro is moving forward, but the agency must raise significant funds while, at the same time, it figures out how to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars after it loses the AIDS Walk next year.
All told, SFAF expects to raise $7.9 million through a fundraising campaign, CEO Neil Giuliano recently told the Bay Area Reporter editorial board. That money would be used to renovate 10,000 square feet at 474 Castro Street that will integrate three of its programs - Stonewall Project, Magnet, and the Stop AIDS Project - as well as expand services.
Giuliano acknowledged that the fundraising campaign would be a challenge, but said consultants have indicated SFAF would ultimately be successful.
"It’ll probably be a little rough," Giuliano said in a February 1 interview. "We’re going to need a lot of community support to get it done."
The agency is currently in the "silent" phase of the fundraising campaign in which it hopes to raise $3 million to $3.5 million, Giuliano said. He said they are not calling it a capital campaign because the funds will be used for more than just construction costs. The funds are needed for build out of 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. Giuliano said the new center would be open by the end of October.
The larger space will allow for more counselors and more HIV testing services, he said, as well as bring together services under one roof.
SFAF’s donor pyramid for the campaign envisions top donors at the $2.5 million and $1.5 million levels. Consultants have indicated that such a campaign could be completed in 36 months, which is what Giuliano prefers, but it may stretch to 48 months.
"I might be optimistic saying it’s a three-year campaign," he said.
Giuliano hopes to raise half the money from individuals, corporations, and foundations, with the possibility of government funding. Board members will make "significant" contributions, Giuliano said.
Since Giuliano joined the foundation just over two years ago, the number of board members has gone from seven to 27, he said. Board members include people from corporations such as Gap Inc. and Wells Fargo. Each board member has had to commit to either giving or getting $10,000.
A campaign leadership committee has been reaching out to potential donors.
On top of the capital expenses, SFAF needs to raise money to support increased testing, staff, and other costs.
Giuliano said he’s hoping the public part of the fundraising campaign will begin by the end of the year, after the center opens.
Giuliano and James Loduca, vice president of public affairs, said that the center will have areas dedicated to community space and that the center would be welcoming.
Ideas that are proposed include a fireplace with a hearth and they plan to make the center "open, warm, and friendly." There would be naming opportunities as well, which would go toward the campaign revenue.
Recouping walk revenue
SFAF - the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit in the city - was recently left looking to fill a funding gap after MZA Events owner Craig R. Miller asked Project Inform to be the lead agency for the 2014 AIDS Walk, rather than the AIDS foundation, which has long been the partnering agency. While the amount has varied depending on the success of the event, the walk has contributed roughly $650,000 to SFAF’s operating budget in recent years.