LA Business and Community Leaders Rally to Raise Critical Seed Funding for HIV Startup, The Stigma Project

Organization is Hosting Hancock Park Event to Accelerate the Volunteer Venture to a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation.

After two years as an entirely volunteer endeavor, nationally recognized HIV startup, The Stigma Project (TSP), has announced it is now a nonprofit public benefit corporation. On Sunday, April 27, 2014, a diverse host committee of business and community leaders, young entrepreneurs, and creative professionals will host the organization's first fundraiser at a private residence in Los Angeles. Proceeds from the launch event will provide essential seed funding for the organization's programs aimed at reducing the stigma associated with HIV.

The garden party themed event will be held at the Hancock Park home of Dean Hansell, a partner at Hogan Lovells and cofounder of GLAAD. Distillery No. 209 will be generously providing signature cocktails and popular car-service app Uber will be helping transport attendees to the fundraiser. Other sponsors include Apt2B.com, Hollywood Power Yoga, and amateur sports association WeHo Dodgball. Media sponsors include The Advocate and HIV Plus magazines.

In February 2012, TSP shared its first set of social-marketing ads on Facebook. The ads instantly went viral. National HIV & AIDS organizations and leaders shared the graphics, welcoming the organization's fresh approach to HIV awareness. The organization's founders Chris Richey, a fundraising professional who was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, and Scott McPherson, graphic designer and former creative director at Here Media, started the organization in order to redefine the way people think and speak about HIV. Their goal was to help people live "HIV Neutral," a term they coined to encourage people both HIV-negative and positive to work together, reduce stigma and help end the epidemic.

"Chris and Scott [are] crafting new kinds of activism that fit these times," says Peter Staley, a prominent HIV & AIDS activist and principle in the Academy Award-nominated documentary How to Survive A Plague. "There have been two contrasting views on how to fight [the epidemic]: a public health approach that seeks to fight the virus and the social determinants that feed it, or the finger-waggers who believe moralizing can magically fix our flawed human nature. The Stigma Project is on the right side of this history — putting the finger-waggers to shame."

For more information on the event and to download the media kit, visit www.tspsocial.com/invite