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What's the scoop?


On June 4, 2000, I’ll depart on my bicycle from San Francisco and seven days later I’ll ride into Los Angeles to complete the California AIDS Ride 7. I am asking for your support in this fundraising effort for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic and other HIV/AIDS Services of the center. 2799 other riders will be joining me on this ride and together we hope to raise over $9 million for AIDS services.

Hopefully the information here will answer any questions you might have and inspire you to contribute and maybe, just maybe, make you decide to do the ride yourself.

I thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

Why am I Riding?

I love cycling. I’ve been cycling on and off since college. I’ve done a couple trips on my bike in Europe, but they’ve been just a few days of cycling. The California AIDS Ride is the longest trip I will have taken on my bike. The course averages 80 miles a day, with a long day of over 100 miles. It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before. I know I can do it, but it will take a lot of training.

The AIDS crisis is not over, not even close. To give you an idea, only 12% percent of Americans living with HIV are under a doctor’s care. The LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Goodman Care Clinic offers a full range of primary and specialty HIV medical care, all at low or no cost. Particularly concerning to me is the fact that 25% of all new infections are among teenagers. As a response to youth needs, the Gay and Lesbian Center opened the Pedro Zamora Youth HIV Clinic, specifically designed to offer HIV-infected young people a welcoming environment.

The training, the fundraising, and the ride represent huge goals. These goals are inspiring me. I’m cycling, I’m writing this letter, and I’m even working in my studio. As a matter of fact, my studio colleague (Ben Mui) is doing the ride as well, and we are hoping to use photography to help our fundraising effort.

This ride is a big effort, and I can’t wait until May to begin to think about raising money and training.  I've got to start now.


Fundraising Effort

Every rider is required, in order to participate, to raise $2500. I sold a lot of grapefruit, oranges, and pineapples in Junior High and High School, but I doubt that if you summed ALL the sales together I was even close to $2500. I also know that when friends came to me the past two years to support them in Rides 5 and 6, I immediately contributed. No questions. I knew that they were making a big effort and a big commitment, and I admired them for that. I wanted to support them, and indeed felt honored to contribute to their effort. I pledged more to the ride than I had pledged to any other fundraising effort. My own fundraising goal for this ride is $3500.

All I can ask is that you contribute as much as you feel comfortable with. But, to give people incentive, I decided to offer a California AIDS Ride Portfolio to those who are interested and have contributed at least $200. The portfolio will be five 8 x 10 photographs, signed and numbered, limited in edition, and matted and ready for framing. Lots of people have said that they liked my photographs, but that they just did not want to pay the price that I was asking. That gave me the idea to offer a portfolio as a benefit to those who contributed to the ride. Typically I sell one 8 x 10 for $130. Hopefully you can see my commitment to the ride and fundraising by putting together this portfolio to give people incentive to contribute at least $200.

I have not chosen the photos for the portfolio yet, so I cannot describe them. I suggest that you visit www.triplefstudio.com/car7/Jon/fishfolio on occasion to see the photos to be included. Please assume that the photos will be interesting and do not be afraid to request a portfolio without seeing it.

Please let me know if you want a portfolio by emailing me at jfish@triplefstudio.com, telephoning me, or returning the enclosed card if you received this letter by mail. Be sure to reserve yours early, because they will be limited in edition. And remember, $200 is just a suggestion. Please feel free to donate more if you can.

Attached to the form are some highlights for filling out and mailing in the pledge form.


The Beneficiary

The Los Angeles beneficiary for the California AIDS Ride 7 is the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. The center is one of the nation’s leading HIV/AIDS care providers, and is a home to free or low cost heath, legal, employment, educational, cultural and social programs for over 15,000 client visits from ethnically diverse youth and adults each month.

The Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic provides an early intervention HIV clinic that includes an anonymous test site and sexually transmitted disease clinic, and a full range of primary and specialty HIV medical care at low or no cost. The Pedro Zamora Youth HIV Clinic is designed to offer the growing number of HIV-infected youth a welcoming environment. The LA Gay and Lesbian Center offers free or low cost counseling to people with HIV/AIDS. The center also operates a full scale pharmacy which offers express delivery of HIV/AIDS medications and pharmaceutical counseling to patients of the Center and those of 18 other affiliated AIDS service organizations.

The center’s Youth Services Department runs React, a unique program supporting HIV-positive youth and encouraging safer sex among those under 25 through educational events and activities. The program targets youth with safer sex messages through outreach at schools, clubs, and bars.

The LA Gay and Lesbian Center also administers a state-funded program called the California AIDS Clearinghouse which produces and distributes thousands of HIV/AIDS-related brochures, posters, and other education and prevention materials to AIDS service organizations throughout California.

The Youth Services Department provides services to the homeless, runaways, and other gay and lesbian youth in Los Angeles who have no where else to turn for help and are one of the highest risk groups for HIV infection. The Jeff Griffith Gay & Lesbian Youth Center on Santa Monica Boulevard supports a large number of HIV-positive youth and works to prevent new infections among this group by providing HIV/STD testing and education. This center is located in an area highly populated by homeless gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth. Also offered are job skills training, educational opportunities, counseling, support groups, and legal advocacy as well as hot meals, showers, art/exercise classes and clothing. All services are designed to help youth get off and stay off the street.

The HIV Law Project of the Legal Services Department provides legal services such as wills and durable powers-of-attorney to people with HIV and conducts clinics as a member of HALSA (HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance) to support the clients/patients of other organizations throughout Los Angeles County.

You may visit the L.A Gay and Lesbian Center at www.laglc.org.

If you have concerns regarding the amount of money that actually makes it directly to the beneficiary, 63% of all funds raised in California AIDS Ride 6 went to AIDS services; 21% went into event awareness, marketing, and administrative expenses (including staff salaries); and the other 16% went toward rider safety, support, and logistics of the ride. For more information, go to www.pallottateamworks.com.


Are you still with me?

Did you make it through all that? I hope so. If you pledge, I’d like to know so that I thank you and keep track of those who have pledged. Don’t forget, with a $200 pledge, you can reserve your limited edition California AIDS Ride Portfolio (while supplies last). And don’t be constrained by just $200. Why not $2000? Its OK if I exceed my goals!

Thanks again for your time and your support.