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In 1992, a small group of Oklahomans planned a black-tie affair that would raise money for the newly formed Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, or OACF. That first event was small and intimate, raising $84,000 for HIV/AIDS health and medical agencies in the state.
“The money we raise will also be used to give grants to those with AIDS and HIV,” says Mary Dean Streich, board president. “Each year, the party gets bigger and bigger. It’s an upbeat and fun evening of dancing and great food.”
“The organization began in 1991 because two of our founders and supporters — Barbara and Jackie Cooper — lost their son to AIDS,” says Loretta Brower of OACF.
She says the group’s focus has shifted since inception.
“We reacted to people with AIDS,” she says. “As time went on, we had programs that were proactive, like education and our ‘Get Tested’ campaign.”
Red Tie Night 2012 will feature entertainment from T-Byrd Gordon and the Music People Luv Band with performance artist David Garibaldi. Dinner begins at 8 p.m., followed by a live auction at 9 p.m.
Throughout the event, a silent auction will feature such items as vacations, artwork, sports collectables, vintage jewelry and more.Money raised from the gala helps support programs and grants to 15 different HIV service agencies throughout the state.
“One of the most commented-on aspects of the gala are the decorations,” Bower says. “This is truly one of the most phenomenal events, and a lot of that is because of Mr. Cooper. He’s so passionate about the agency and what it does for those with HIV/AIDS.”
To make reservations and purchase tickets, visit okaidscarefund.com.
Photo by Shannon Cornman