About Aunt Rita's
Three individuals founded Aunt Rita’s Foundation in the beginning years of the epidemic. They saw in the mid 80’s a lack of resources and recognized something needed to be done, as they watched close friends die from the disease with nowhere to turn.
Randy Schrock, Gary Mangum and Skip O’Neill set on a humble quest to raise money in annual bake sales to provide relief for those living with, and dying from, AIDS. When federal government assistance through the Ryan White Care Act began funding became more plentiful and the need for Aunt Rita’s Foundation wanted, and the final bake sale was held in 1996. In 2005, HIV/AIDS agencies came together and supported the return of Aunt Rita’s to help offset declining federal support.
Aunt Rita’s has come a long way since their bake sale days and has introduced fundraising events that have helped provide more than $1.5 million to 16 local HIV/AIDS Service Agencies since 2005.
Funding & Prevention
Aunt Rita’s Foundation doesn’t only focus their activities on fundraising and funding. Project HIVAZ was formed to promote HIV testing and engage Arizonans in HIV awareness and prevention. A key goal of Project HIVAZ campaigns is to help eliminate the stigma of HIV and AIDS to enable honest discussions about HIV risk and transmission. In 2012 and 2013, new infections increased by an excess of 15% each year. Arizona’s ethnic minority populations are most at risk for new infections; 35% were among Hispanics, 16% among African-Americans and 7% among Native Americans.
Aunt Rita’s is a proud member of Arizona’s network of the HIV/AIDS service and charitable community, providing annual funding between $100,000 and $200,000 to local non-profits. The large events sponsored by Aunt Rita’s also brings community together and helps to raise awareness about the ongoing epidemic. Aunt Rita’s impact in our community is far more significant than just fundraising.
Aunt Rita’s Foundation provides the compassion many people need, and gives people suffering from HIV/AIDS and their families something priceless - hope.