AIDS Interfaith Network names Crystal Hope Awards for 2007

Posted on 05 Apr 2007 at 8:47pm
By Staff Reports

Texas Instruments, MCC of Greater Dallas, Jeff Hurt to be honored at new fundraising event on April 21 at Westin Park Central Hotel



Jeff Hurt

The AIDS Interfaith Network on Wednesday, April 4, announced that Texas Instruments Inc., the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas and Jeff Hurt are the recipients of the 2007 Crystal Hope Awards.

The awards were established in 1995 to recognize businesses, churches or faith based groups and individuals or organizations that have collaborated with AIN to make a significant contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to the Rev. Steve Pace, AIN’s executive director. This year’s recipients will be recognized at the 2007 “Bloomin’ Ball Sowing Seeds of Hope,” the agency’s new fundraising event set for April 21 at the Westin Park Central hotel.

Andy Smith, president of AIN’s board, said: “All of our contributors, donors and volunteers are worthy of consideration and the 2007 Crystal Hope recipients are exemplary models of those who have partnered with AIN to keep HIV/AIDS in the forefront of people’s minds.”

Smith explained that the board chooses the award recipients from nominees made by the board and staff. Past Crystal Hope Award recipients include Dr. Brady Allen for his significant work in treatment of HIV/AIDS; Dallas restaurateur Monica Green for her support with AIN’s community awareness initiatives and fundraising events; Steven Lyle, director of Worldwide Staffing of Texas Instruments, for his personal volunteerism and for connecting his company and AIN; and Andy Scanlon, for his work in sustaining the annual Leo Party that has raised funds for AIN’s Daire Center for 19 years.

Texas Instruments Inc., has a multi-layered relationship with AIN and offers support on many different levels, according to Pace. He said that as a corporation, Texas Instruments has provided financial assistance through donations, grants and sponsorships, and the TI Foundation has provided funding to help sustain AIN’s programming. The company encourages its employees to volunteer for AIN and to attend events benefiting the agency, Pace said, pointing out that Andy Smith is a TI employee.

Pace added that Texas Instruments executives and senior staff have shared their business expertise, knowledge and support with AIN’s staff and board, and the company educates its employees about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and encourages them to share that information with their families and communities.

Pace noted that in 2005, Texas Instruments helped provide the resources for a local World AIDS Day event that brought together community leaders, corporations, government officials and policy makers, and the company has helped call on the corporate community, foundations and other donor groups to step up at the time when decreases in federal funding for HIV/AIDS compromises many of the local service organizations like AIN.

Texas Instruments has been the corporate support for the Dallas Coalition of HIV/AIDS Services in their efforts to address long-term sustainability, and the TI Foundation also recently provided program funding for the Coalition of which AIN serves as the lead agency.

“Texas Instruments is a model of what we would like to see from the corporate world,” stated Pace. “They have consistently helped keep HIV/AIDS on the local agenda and have used their resources to help reach people who might otherwise never consider that they are affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Pace said the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas has kept HIV/AIDS in the forefront and partnered with AIN on many local events. He said the church has highlighted HIV/AIDS issues from the pulpit, provided pastoral services and care for persons with HIV/AIDS, collected and distributed goods for AIN’s clients and supported AIN events or events of which AIN is a beneficiary.

In 2006, the church’s board decided the church would partner with and support AIN as a beneficiary of the Black Tie Dinner instead of applying to become a beneficiary itself, Pace said.

He said the church has consistently used its resources to educate and inform others about HIV/AIDS as well as to help market AIN’s mission, needs and events. In the winter of 2006, the church held a food drive to replenish AIN’s Diare Center kitchen that helped reduce AIN’s food expenses by 20 percent for three months. The church also held several clothing drives to assist some of AIN’s most needy clients.

Pace said church members frequently volunteer their time and expertise at AIN, and have purchased Black Tie Dinner tables for AIN for the past three years. In October 2006, the church partnered with AIN for the four-day event “Connections: HIV/AIDS And Drugs” to provide education and information to churches, faith-based organizations, local HIV/AIDS service organizations, and LGBT community leaders about the connections between crystal methamphetamine use and HIV/AIDS.

Church members shared their inclusive faith, their time and talents, as well as their resources with AIN to help bring greater awareness of HIV/AIDS, promote prevention and to serve those who have HIV/AIDS, he said.

“From the late 1990s, many people had the impression that HIV/AIDS was over,” added Pace. “But Metropolitan MCC of Greater Dallas has helped us provide a multi-faceted approach to helping people know that HIV/AIDS is still an issue for everyone. They are a wonderful example of how a faith community can get involved and provide both a positive and far-reaching impact.”

Pace said that Jeff Hurt, a community leader, educator and meeting planner, was named a recipient of the Crystal Hope Award because he has applied his expertise, skills and talents to help raise the level of awareness regarding HIV/AIDS issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and to help raise AIN’s profile in the local community.

Pace said Hurt’s life partner was a registered nurse and an HIV/AIDS case manager at Parkland Hospital for many years, so Hurt truly understands the underlying needs and issues regarding HIV/AIDS, as well as how the federal funding cuts negatively affect AIN’s clients.

He said Hurt has provided many volunteer hours, energy and financial support for AIN through event and meeting planning, fundraising, marketing and public relations, and has helped AIN reduce expenses for their events and marketing by persuading his contacts and resources to partner with and support AIN, and created many of AIN’s event marketing materials.

Hurt organized AIN’s hospitality room at the Black Tie Dinner last year, marketed AIN’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and provided logistical and strategic support for this year’s AIN fundraiser the Bloomin’ Ball, Pace said.
He has also served as an AIN liaison and spokesperson to many community organizations and events.

“Not everyone is willing to give their expertise and skills to help an organization,” said Pace. “Jeff Hurt took the skills he uses at his daily work, combined them with his passion for HIV/AIDS issues and utilized them for AIN so that the clients of AIN could be better served. He’s done more for us in marketing and PR in a two years than we were able to do ourselves in the past seven years.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 6, 2007

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