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Beer is Love Partner Highlight: Cascade AIDS Project

Sep 25, 2013 Comments (0)  | Tags: Beer is Love Beer is Love Partner Highlight: Cascade AIDS Project

Founded in 1983, Cascade AIDS Project is the oldest and largest community-based provider of HIV services, housing, education and advocacy in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Before 1983, two main organizations provided HIV-related services to the Portland area community: CHESS (Community Health and Essential Support Services) and Cascade AIDS Project (CAP). Their merger in 1983 consolidated HIV-related services and prevented competition for very limited resources. The new CAP was a bare-bones organization, consisting of an executive director and a PAL program coordinator. These two staff members were assisted by volunteers and a 21-member volunteer board of directors. Under the first executive director of the new CAP, services expanded to include a volunteer-operated Speakers Bureau, a Client Services Program, and the Oregon AIDS Hotline (a joint venture between CAP and the Oregon State Health Division). The total agency budget was less than $100,000.

In 1985, CAP was legally incorporated, and in 1986 it received a 501(c)3 designation. CAP became a strong voice in the community for HIV education, prevention and service issues. In 1986, “From All Walks of Life” became the first pledge walk to benefit AIDS care and education in Portland. The “AIDS Walk” fundraiser has become an annual event that draws thousands of participants, community recognition and support.

CAP has grown considerably since its beginning, from a two person staff to over 60, from a budget of $100,000 to over $6 million. CAP operates multiple programs from its main service site and receives support from over 600 volunteers. It has always been an organization that depends heavily on volunteers. This is true now more than ever, as CAP expands services to meet growing needs in the community.

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This past weekend, our Beer is Love program manager and other team members trekked to Portland to participate in the 2013 AIDS Walk Portland. Despite the typical fall Oregon downpour, the crew left the brewery at 7:30am Sunday morning, and arrived at Pioneer Square to take part in a cause that brought tens of thousands together. The crowd marched through 3.5 miles through downtown Portland, closing streets and drawing attention to this important issue. More than $45,000 was raised to support CAP and all the work that the organization continues to provide in our communities.

Cascade AIDS Project helps people put their lives back together; to secure housing, find essential medical care and deal with the countless issues that make the difference between giving up or getting up and going on. With HIV and AIDS, the huge emotional and financial burden to all affected by it can be staggering. Some people lose their jobs, their housing, their friends and family and any means of support. Imagine what it must be like for someone who suddenly finds they are without the essentials we so often take for granted. Shelter, life skills training, and emotional support; these are what CAP provides.

We are proud to support CAP and look forward to continuing our relationship through our Beer is Love program!

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