Whitman-Walker Clinic May Reduce Services if Washington, D.C., AIDS Walk Fails To Generate Enough Money
Officials with the Washington, D.C.-based Whitman-Walker Clinic said that they may have to reduce services if next month's AIDS Walk does not raise enough funds, the Washington Post reports. Approximately 2,325 people have signed up to participate in this year's AIDS Walk, which is scheduled for Oct. 5. Participation in the event has dropped in recent years, declining from 30,000 walkers in 1999 to 3,500 people in 2001. The event costs $540,000 to produce, and organizers hope that it will generate $840,000 in donations this year. Michael Cover, a spokesperson for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, said that the organization has cut expenses for the event by 30% over the past three years, and the Post reports that the clinic has cut $2 million from its $26 million budget. But Cornelius Baker, executive director of Whitman-Walker, said that the clinic may have to cut services if the walk does not generate enough revenue. "If the walk does not meet our expectations, we will be forced to make some very difficult decisions," he said.
Cover said that participation for the event is lagging because of the sluggish economy, "questions about the spending practices" of the local United Way branch and the clinic's former involvement in the "troubled" Washington, D.C., AIDSRide, which was run by Pallotta TeamWorks (Morello, Washington Post, 9/25). Pallotta, which announced last month that it was suspending operations, has been criticized by AIDS groups that say the company spends too much money on overhead costs at the expense of the charities that the fundraisers are designed to support (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/27). Expenses for the 2002 District AIDSRide accounted for 86 cents for every $1 raised. Pallotta has never been involved in the Washington, D.C., AIDS Walk (Washington Post, 9/25).