Aunt Rita’s receives Mathew B Harty Family Foundation grant
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Aunt Rita’s Foundation presented its annual Heart Awards at the inaugural Picnic in the Park recently.
Awards were presented to Sonora Quest Laboratories: Partnership of the Year Award, Carmen Batista of Maricopa County Public Health: The Unsung Hero Award, and Valerie Martinez of Sonoran Prevention Works: the Arena Award.
The Picnic in the Park event is a commemoration of World Aids Day and a celebration of the dedication of HIV workers and volunteers, according to a press release.
Presented by the Matthew B. Harty Family Foundation and with Bank of America as a premier sponsor, Helene Harty Miracle and Cesar Cramton were co-chair to the all-day event hosting some 200 individuals, the release states.
At the event, the Matthew B. Harty Foundation presented Aunt Rita’s with a $20,000 sponsorship check. Aunt Rita’s Foundation announced it would split the funds with a deserving HIV program in Arizona by creating the 2023 Matthew B. Harty Compassion Grant with $10,000 from the funding.
Dr. Matthew B. Harty, who passed away from HIV in 2019, was Helene Miracle’s brother.
“Matt was an incredibly dynamic man with a heart for the community and a love for Aunt Rita’s,” said Aunt Rita’s Foundation Executive Director Jimmy Thomason.
Aunt Rita’s Heart Award recipients:
• Sonora Quest Laboratories: Partnership of the Year. Sonora Quest has provided consistent access to no-cost HIV testing through the Get Tested AZ voucher service and for reducing the barriers and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Through Aunt Rita’s Get Tested AZ program, qualified individuals receive a voucher for free in-person HIV testing at nearly 100 locations at Albertsons/Safeway pharmacies. Qualifying individuals also may be eligible to receive free STI testing as well. Those preferring more privacy or who may be unable to get to a designated location also can request a free at-home HIV test.
• Carmen Batista, Maricopa County Public Health: The Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes students who have positively influenced a program or organization from behind-the-scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary and a commitment to excellence.
• Valerie Martinez, Sonoran Prevention Works: In the Arena Award, which honors an individual who has profoundly demonstrated an ongoing commitment to and fierce advocacy for the populations they serve. The award is named after a reference in a 1910 speech by Theodore Roosevelt who said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles … The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
With roots in Phoenix since 1988, Aunt Rita’s Foundation is dedicated to the elimination of and suffering from HIV and AIDS through collaborations with Arizona HIV service organizations and local and statewide government agencies. Aunt Rita’s Foundation helps fund HIV programs at 14 non-profit organizations through more than $2 million in grants.