By Robert Finkelstein, Esq.
Most of us are familiar with the tremendous work of NGLCCNY’s not-for-profit partner Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). Begun in 1981 by a group of six gay men, GMHC has grown from a telephone and answering machine in a living room, to the world’s first provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy.
GMHC serves a diverse group of clients, comprised of thousands of men, women and families living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. One-third of GMHC’s clients are African American, one-third Latino, and one-third Caucasian, and thirty percent of all its clients are women, most of whom are heterosexual. Through its various major events, such as the annual AIDS Walk New York and the Latex Ball, GMHC is at the forefront of raising money and awareness while empowering individuals, including LBGTQ youth, to take control of their sexual health through education, testing and support. GMHC is particularly proud that 88 cents of every dollar donated is utilized for direct services and programs.
With the effective advancement of HIV/AIDS medications over the years, GMHC’s services have evolved from assisting people with “dying with dignity” to serving people who are living with HIV/AIDS, by providing return-to-work training and assistance, a meals program, legal services, case management and more. As Dirk McCall, Director, Communications and Marketing, explained, “GMHC is much more than just an HIV/AIDS service organization -- we are a social justice organization and a leader in LGBT health services.” For example, during the recent meningitis outbreak among gay men and other men who have sex with men, GMHC was a leader in providing free vaccinations in New York City at its Testing Center and on Fire Island.
Director of Communications and Marketing, GMHC
Janet Weinberg, Chief Operating Officer, notes that GMHC continues its vigorous fight against AIDS while providing supportive services to the communities it serves. As Janet explains, “GMHC is currently seeking licensure from New York State in mental health and substance abuse services, which will allow us to expand our current programs in these areas, further advancing our mission to serve those affected by HIV/AIDS. These licenses will allow us to assist a wider array of the LGBT community, including HIV-negative people.”
As a former Executive Director of a Chamber of Commerce that worked closely with NGLCCNY as it began (the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce), Dirk, as well as GMHC’s Senior Managers and Board of Directors, fully appreciate the importance of working with Chamber businesses. “Just because GMHC is a not-for-profit entity does not mean that we do not engage in business. We are always looking to partner with businesses, particularly LGBT-owned ones,” Dirk explains. “Partnering with LGBT-owned businesses is reciprocally beneficial because we are able to support local businesses while further invigorating the LGBT community in our efforts to magnify the urgency of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
GMHC has already enjoyed great success in partnering with Chamber members for a variety of services, including working with L7z Group for assistance with Web Management & Strategy.
For more information about GMHC, to make a donation, or to learn about ways to partner with GMHC, please visit GMHC. You can also “like” GMHC on Facebook and follow GMHC on Twitter.