The 18th annual Night for Life Gala, which will be held May 11 at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, is the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The organization’s other two signature events carry a similar theme — Tour for Life, for which owners of many of the Valley’s most prestigious homes open their homes, and Dining Out for Life, a designated time during which local restaurants donate a percentage of their sales. “We always try to promote life and have individuals live longer,” says Mesha Davis, chief development officer. “Just because you become positive with HIV doesn’t mean your life has to end.” She notes HIV can strike anyone, regardless of race, gender or age.
The evening will start with cocktails and a silent auction, then move to the ballroom for the formal dinner. The program will recognize community members for their work and contribution to the organization’s mission, with awards in such categories as Outstanding Philanthropist and Community Champion (the latter of which could be an individual, a group, or another nonprofit the Center has partnered with). A live auction will be the evening’s finale. “The whole intent is to raise money,” Davis shares candidly. “We try to provide a holistic approach of services needed for someone to be healthy who’s living with HIV or AIDS.”
- Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS serves about 6,000 people through its programs for men, women, transgender and youth.
- The organization reaches more than 30,000 people thanks to volunteer-staffed outreach to at-risk populations at such locations as homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and bars.
- Local bars have invited the organization to come and set up a spot to do testing. They have also helped raise money by selling ribbons people can dedicate to affected individuals, and then posting them in their establishment.
- The organization also works with clinical trials research, and has helped with 32 of the 34 medications now available. “Those drugs are instrumental to people living longer,” says Davis. “We’ve really helped globally.”
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