Erinn Carter - UNITE Here: Stop harassing community neighbors' fundraising for a cause they believe in
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The RED HIGH HEEL PARTY is a privately-produced and privately funded social affair hosted by Tom Crowe, a long-time donor and supporter of the Long Beach AIDS Foundation. Tom Crowe has long been involved in community fundraising for many Long Beach organizations. Mr. Crowe is a private citizen and is not a volunteer, staff or board member of the Long Beach AIDS Foundation. The Red High Heel Party is his own private annual party that originally started at his house after one of his dear friends nearly died and was helped by the Emergency Fund.
The event is being attacked by a pro-union group UNITE Here against a private citizen at the hotel Mr. Crowe chose. He has nothing against the two parties involved in the dispute and as a community citizen paid out of his own pocket to host this event. But UNITE Here is injecting politics into community health where the only people who lose are those affected by HIV & AIDS. We are neutral to the issues between the hotel and the organizing group. But UNITE Here in it's attempt to take a private event "hostage" against the hotel smacks in the face of being good community citizens, decency and helping agencies that need the financially assistance after five tough economic years. UNITE Here is also resorting to untruths about the negotiations and city-passed living wage laws enacted in order to get people to not attend a private function.
Neither Tom Crowe or LBAF is choosing any side in this ordeal. And while we believe strongly in community, pitting outside parties that have nothing to do with the unionizing issues is dead wrong. Seeking support is one thing, coercion is another. Strong-arm tactics to hurt people affected by HIV & AIDS is just plain wrong and UNITE Here needs to limit their grievance to hotel and not a private social event. Choosing a new venue is not the point. Freedom for Mr Crowe to choose as a private citizen is. And the cost he has personally spent so far and the time his friends and neighbors have put in with planning & promotion makes it prohibitive.
Mr Crowe is well known for mobilizing a community for fundraising, activism and building a better community. Mr Crowe organized one of the largest marches against Prop 8 when it became an statewide issue and has been documented in films and news reports of his caring for his community, friends and family. UNITE Here is being completely unreasonable in attacking a great community leader and citizen.
Mr. Crowe’s donations to the AIDS Life Emergency Fund through his party event is a private and personal choice. As the producer of his social affair, Mr. Crowe designs, plans and promotes the event as he sees fits. The Long Beach AIDS Foundation has no say in the planning or implementation of Mr. Crowe’s social event. LBAF does not supply volunteers, does not cover any event expenses or is involved in any planning with Mr. Crowe’s many friends and neighbors who are working on his event. LBAF is only the beneficiary of Mr Crowe's kindness.
Mr. Crowe’s event is no different than the many individuals and groups, who host BBQs, wine parties or other themed fundraisers year round for the benefit of the Long Beach AIDS Foundation at a location of their choosing. This has been the tradition that communities give from their hearts to the millions of nonprofits for over the last 125 years. In all of these community-based, private events hosted by citizens, donors or groups, the Long Beach AIDS Foundation traditionally does not provide volunteers, expense coverage or planning services.
The Long Beach AIDS Foundation values the contributions made from our supports especially in a time of great need. LBAF vigourously protects the privacy information of all those who contribute to the Long Beach AIDS Foundation, whether made directly or indirectly through private fundraisers. We will not release any information about any of our donors, regardless of the nature, as an entrustment policy.
While we may empathize with the concerns of any group’s grievance against a free-enterprise business, the focus and the mission of the Long Beach AIDS Foundation is to prevent the spread of HIV through education; and to support those impacted by HIV. We do not engage in politics and believe nonprofits serve all citizens.
It is unfortunate that some people choose to move a political agenda in an opportunistic fashion while health organizations who do not engage in politics, struggle to make a healthy impact on their communities with those who need help the most. We hold steadfast to the values that we believe in a healthy community through mental, social, emotional and physical well-being.
We hope those engaged in such behavior understand that LBAF remains neutral on politics so that we may do the hard work that needs to be done.
Please help us just do our work and support people who raise money through their hearts and wallet. We believe that our greater community believes in the unencumbered hard work of nonprofits and great community citizens who donate time, money, heart and hard-work.
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