TELLURIDE – The reach of support from the Telluride AIDS Benefit to its HIV/AIDS beneficiaries from Colorado to Africa continue to expand this year, with the 2014 TAB Gala Fashion Show week of events breaking TAB’s fundraising record.
This year, TAB will distribute over $177,000 to its seven beneficiaries, a record amount distributed by the 21-year-old nonprofit in a single year.
“It was a great year for TAB,” Executive Director Stash Wislocki said this week. “We couldn’t be more excited.”
The largest amount of money TAB raised in the past came in 2008, when it brought in $164,000. Last year, it raised approximately $150,000, up from 2012’s a $136,000.
“This year, we broke the record, with over $177,000,” said Wislocki. “Every year, we seem to grow, and every year, we seem to raise more money.”
After the TAB Gala Fashion Show (and the Telluride High School TAB Fashion Show, the Children’s Art Auction and the After-TAB Trunk Sale) take place in late February/early March, funds raised are dispersed in one large sum to TAB’s seven beneficiaries by the TAB Board of Directors. Those beneficiaries include the Ethiopian Family Fund, the West Colorado AIDS Project, Manzini Youth Care, the Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program, Brother Jeff, Ubunto Africa, and the University of Colorado Hospital Foundation.
Since TAB’s inception, it has disbursed over $2 million to its beneficiaries. Throughout each year, TAB also provides smaller donations to regional organizations, funding things like HIV/sexually transmitted disease testing for the Moab Health Clinic.
How does TAB continue to improve and grow its fundraising effort?
“We have had 21 years to figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” Wislocki said. “Every year, we are figuring out what works better.”
For example, during the Saturday night post-gala auction, a representative from one TAB beneficiary takes the stage to discuss what their organization has to give. The first year TAB organized the beneficiary presentation, that organization received $10,000. It’s gone up ever since. This year’s featured beneficiary was Ubuntu Africa, dedicated to improving the health of HIV-positive children in South Africa. Ubuntu’s goal was to raise $35,000 to go towards building a clinic at one of its orphanages. Fundraising during the TAB auction far exceeded that amount, and Ubuntu Africa received not quite $70,000 this year. “The goal was to create a clinic at their orphanage, and now, they have all the money to make it happen,” Wislocki said happily.
Wislocki said the TAB Art Auction, organized by art expert Bärbel Hacke, has also come into its own, raising an “astounding” amount of money each year.
“It’s been a learning lesson for TAB in figuring out what sells and what doesn’t,” Wislocki said. “TAB is able to raise an incredible amount of money.
“I say this all the time,” he said, that “per capita, we are the world’s most successful AIDS benefit. In the end, what makes this event so great is that it happens in a small region, of not so many people, who put on a huge event that makes a huge difference.”