RED is the Night

Aunt Rita's spices up fundraising with second annual event

Courtesy of Aunt Rita’s Foundation, April 2018 Web Exclusive.

GLAAD award-winner comedian Marga Gomez was voted the best San Francisco comedian in 2017 by the San Francisco Bay-Guardian.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation presents its second Annual RED is the Night, a latin-inspired evening benefiting the nonprofit’s Impact and Compassion grants, which will support an Arizona HIV Service Organization that is delivering supportive services to people living with HIV.

The event will take place April 14 at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness and will feature Latin-inspired hors devours and cocktails as well as entertainment by GLAAD award-winner comedian Marga Gomez, Flamenco dancing by Yumi La Rosa and Carmela y Mas and her eight-piece Latin jazz band.

“We are very excited about the envisioned compassion grant, and hope that the fabulous entertainment we have lined up for RED is the Night helps to spur community giving to support this new grant from Aunt Rita’s,” said Glen Spencer, executive director for Aunt Rita’s Foundation.

In 2009, Yumi La Rosa founded her own group, Yumi La Rosa Flamenco Dance, and presented her very first dance production, “Mujeres,” at Tempe Center for the Arts.

In February, Aunt Rita’s Foundation announced 12 partner agencies who will receive grant funding from its fundraising activities in 2018. The named agencies and the services funded by Aunt Rita’s are:

1. Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, youth HIV behavioral health
2. HIV Care Directions, HIV case management
3. Chicanos Por La Causa, HIV support groups
4. Ebony House, HIV testing and counseling
5. Maricopa Integrated Health System, HIV women’s support group
6. Native Health, HIV testing and counseling
7. one•n•ten, LGBTQ youth HIV empowerment
8. Phoenix Shanti, HIV recovery and housing
9. Shot in the Dark, syringe access program
10. Southwest Behavioral Health, HIV housing and employment
11. Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, HIV integrated testing program
12. Terros Health, homeless HIV empowerment

These agencies provide critical HIV services in Maricopa County, and collectively form the network of local AIDS Service Organizations that deliver services to help our community effectively end the HIV epidemic.

Carmela y Más, a band featuring a kaleidoscope of Afro-Cuban and Latin-Caribbean rhythms, has been delivering electrifying musical performances for 30 years.

“Providing financial support to these organizations, and bringing the HIV service and patient community together, are the founding principles behind Aunt Rita’s Foundation. We are privileged to support these outstanding organizations and the vital HIV programs they offer,” Spencer said.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation is also announced its new Impact Grant funding opportunity in Arizona to support the State Health Department’s goal to achieve the 90-90-90-0 benchmarks by 2020. This initiative seeks to have 90 percent of all HIV positive Arizonans tested, 90 percent of all HIV tested individuals retained in medical care and taking life-saving anti-retroviral medications, and 90 percent of patients taking these medications to have an undetectable viral load. It is now accepted that persons living with HIV that have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others. This fact is better known as U=U, or undetectable equals untransmittable. The final benchmark goal is to have 0 percent stigma and discrimination about HIV. The impact grant will be awarded to the statewide AIDS service agency that submits the most compelling and innovative grant application to help achieve these ambitious statewide goals.

Along with RED is the Night, the 2018 fundraising efforts of Aunt Rita’s Foundation include AIDS Walk Arizona Oct. 28  in Downtown Phoenix and RED Brunch Dec. 1 at Sheraton Grand Phoenix, with proceeds from each of them supporting the grant funding that it provides to Arizona HIV service organizations.

RED is the Night proceeds will support Aunt Rita’s Impact Grant – and, hopefully, a new Compassion Grant; AIDS Walk Arizona proceeds will support Aunt Rita’s 12 partner agencies (above); and RED Brunch will support Aunt Rita’s Impact and Compassion grants.

For more information on RED is the Night, or tickets, click here. For additional information on Aunt Rita’s Foundation, visit

RED is the Night
6-10 p.m. April 14
The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness
1102 N. 1st St., Phoenix

HIV Fast Facts

• HIV is 100% preventable using condoms, PrEP, and effective treatment of people living with HIV

• HIV is 100% treatable with a long list of well-tolerated HIV medications available, and 6 regimens that are one pill daily.

• Since its formation in 2005, Aunt Rita’s Foundation has grant funded more than 1.8 million dollars to local HIV service organizaitons.

• A.R.S. 15-716 prohibits discussion of sex education in high schools that presents homosexual sex as safe sex; as a result, it is not discussed at all, putting thousands of children at risk every day and innumerable numbers of them who may have died as a result of this silence.

• 38% of all new HIV infections in Phoenix are between the ages of 13 and 29.

• The average annual cost of HIV treatment is $25,000, and for a 20-year-old the estimated cost over his/her lifetime is 1.5 million dollars.

• In Arizona 85% of new HIV infections result from men who have sex with men.

• Blacks are six times more likely than whites to become HIV positive in Arizona; Hispanics and Native Americans are three times more likely.

• Only half of all Arizonans living with HIV are in medical care to treat their condition. Unawareness of status, stigma, and HIV myths are the likely reasons people are not in care.

• The worst HIV status is “unknown,” and the CDC recommends that all Americans be HIV tested at least once

Source: Aunt Rita’s Foundation.