About Aunt Rita's
Since 2005 Aunt Rita's Foundation has operated in Phoenix, Arizona as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, but has a rich history dating back to the 1980's. In 1986 three individuals founded Aunt Rita’s Foundation in the beginning years of the epidemic. They saw in the mid 80’s a lack of resources and recognized something needed to be done, as they watched close friends die from the disease with nowhere to turn.
Randy Schrock, Gary Mangum and Skip O’Neill set on a humble quest to raise money in annual bake sales to provide relief for those living with, and dying from, AIDS. When federal government assistance through the Ryan White Care Act began in the early 1990's, funding became more plentiful and the need for Aunt Rita’s Foundation waned, and the final bake sale was held in 1996. In 2005, HIV/AIDS agencies came together and supported the return of Aunt Rita’s to help offset declining federal support.
Aunt Rita’s has come a long way since their bake sale days and has introduced fundraising events that have helped provide more than $1.5 million to 16 local HIV/AIDS Service Agencies since 2005.
AIDS Walk Arizona & 5k Run
AIDS Walk Arizona & 5K Run is the largest gathering in Arizona to support people living with HIV and raise community awareness. In its first year back it helped raise $175,000 and brought in over 3,000 participants. In the second year of the Walk Walgreens became the title sponsor of the event and introduced its Red Ribbon Campaign that helped the Walk surpass $300,000 in annual fundraising. The event is family-friendly and features Paws for the Cause, and Kids for the Cause. All proceeds benefit our 16 partner agencies.
RED Brunch is Aunt Rita’s end-of-year gala featuring entertainment, topical presentations on Aunt Rita's education initiatives, and the annual Heart Awards. Held every year around World AIDS Day, the brunch features panels from the National AIDS Memorial Quilt and commemorates the lives of those who have lost their battle with the disease. Proceeds help to sustain Aunt Rita's Foundation and support our Project HIVAZ initiatives.
RED is the Night
Beginning in 2017 Aunt Rita's introduces RED is the Night that promises to be a night filled with fantastic entertainment. Local restaurants will offer their delectable food for dinner. All proceeds benefit our 16 partner agencies.
Art for Aunt Rita's
Also new in 2017 is the springtime Art for Aunt Rita's in the Gallery District of Scottsdale. This event will feature original art from participating artists and galleries in the Scottsdale Gallery District. Proceeds benefit Project HIVAZ to advance HIV education in the community.
SAVORlife is Aunt Rita’s Do-It-Yourself fundraiser that allows supporters to hold their own fundraising events of any kind to raise money for our 16 partner agencies.
Funding & Prevention
Aunt Rita’s Foundation doesn’t only focus their activities on fundraising and funding. Project HIVAZ was formed to promote HIV testing and engage Arizonans in HIV awareness and prevention. A key goal of Project HIVAZ campaigns is to help eliminate the stigma of HIV and AIDS to enable honest discussions about HIV risk and transmission. In 2012 and 2013, new infections increased by an excess of 15% each year. Arizona’s ethnic minority populations are most at risk for new infections; 35% were among Hispanics, 16% among African-Americans and 7% among Native Americans.
Aunt Rita’s is a proud member of Arizona’s network of the HIV/AIDS service and charitable community, providing annual funding between $100,000 and $200,000 to local non-profits. The large events sponsored by Aunt Rita’s also brings community together and helps to raise awareness about the ongoing epidemic. Aunt Rita’s impact in our community is far more significant than just fundraising.
Aunt Rita’s Foundation provides the compassion many people need, and gives people suffering from HIV/AIDS and their families something priceless - hope.
Mission & Vision
VISION: To be the catalyst of HIV/AIDS awareness, education and support.
MISSION: In everything we do, we are dedicated to the elimination of, and suffering from, HIV and AIDS.
VALUES: Accountability, Integrity, Inclusiveness, Diversity, Collaboration, and Passion.