In stark contrast with the nationwide trend of declining fundraising success, New York’s 30th annual event raised more than the previous year. The NewYork event also holds the distinction of being the country’s largest and most visible single-day event dedicated to fighting HIV.
Over 30,000 sponsored walkers volunteered to raise money and support for what Governor Cuomo calls “the crusade” to end AIDS. The 10-kilometer walk benefits Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and 40 other vital HIV service organizations throughout the tri-state area.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was honored by GMHC for his commitment to ending AIDS in New York State by 2020. Cuomo kicked off New York AIDS walk with a speech honoring the 130,000 New Yorkers lost to the disease and calling on other states to join his commitment to ending AIDS. (Watch the entire speechhere.)
GMHC’s Chief Executive Officer Kelsey Louie said New York is “leading the country in ending AIDS as an epidemic” and the turnout there demonstrated the city’s “capacity to continue being at the forefront of the fight."
While AIDS Walks in other locales have witnessed a downward slide in their fundraising abilities, Louie said New York has, “successfully reversed the trend of declining returns.”
AIDS Walk New York founder and senior organizer Craig R. Miller said, "We never would have gotten anywhere in the early years of the AIDS epidemic if we weren't prepared to be fierce when we had to be — and we had to be a lot. As we mark the Walk's 30-year milestone today with a $4.88 million fundraising total, it's clear that our supporters are still fierce, still determined, and eager to see this through."
The New York AIDS Walk opening ceremony included participation from Tyne Daly (It Shoulda Been You), David Hyde Pierce (Director, It Shoulda Been You) Nick Wechsler (Revenge), Kit Williamson (Mad Men), Bellamy Young (Scandal), and CBS-2 News Anchor Dana Tyler.
Montego Glover (It Shoulda Been You) performed an emotional a cappella rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s "True Colors," and Victoria Clark (Gigi) closed the opening ceremonies by singing "You'll Never Walk Alone."
In addition to Governor Cuomo, several other elected officials made appearances, including Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy Douglas Brooks; United States Representative Jerrold Nadler, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, New York State Assemblymembers Richard N. Gottfried and David Weperin, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.
This year AIDS Walk New York’s presenting sponsor Duane Reade continued implementing its successful initiative, which allows Walgreens and Duane Reade stores’ New York customers to make donations when making a purchase. The program has raised more than $1.3 million for HIV service providers over the past five years.
Other sponsors of the event include pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squib and Gilead; as well as Delta Air Lines, Quest Diagnostics, Gap, The Keith Haring Foundation, Williams-Sonoma, Bloomberg and numerous private individuals.