AIDS Walk attendance, donations hold steady

In an era of dwindling dollars for HIV/AIDS service organizations, Minnesota AIDS Project administrators say they're pleased with the flat-line figures generated by the 11th annual Minnesota AIDS Walk. The May 17 event drew approximately 15,000 people and generated $620,000 for HIV/AIDS service organizations in Minnesota.

Last year's, the event brought in $630,000 and approximately the same number of participants, says MAP development director Antay Bilgutay. Additional donations trickling in over the next seven months boosted the final tally for the 1997 Walk to $765,000.

"We're extremely encouraged by the fact that we've stayed level," Bilgutay says of this year's figures. "The national trend is a downturn in AIDS fundraising. The Minnesota community has maintained its level of support for HIV/AIDS services, and that's amazing."

Many AIDS-service organizations across the country have seen sharp downturns in donations over the past year, Bilgutay says. Even MAP has seen its AIDS Walk fundraising figures slip in recent years, down from a record year-end tally of $820,000 in 1996.

Bilgutay says this year's event drew an increased number of teams, many of them sponsored by corporations. While corporate cash donations and sponsorships remained steady at $75,000, Bilgutay says in-kind donations by corporations for printing, services, and product were higher this year than last.

Seventy-five percent of AIDS Walk proceeds go to the MAP operating budget. The remaining 25 percent is distributed to 19 local AIDS service organizations.

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