Walking Wonders

Clinic launches community partners program for AIDS Walk, announces Lynda Carter as grand marshal

On TV, she fought crime as Wonder Woman. In real life, longtime D.C.-area resident Lynda Carter is serving yet again as a hero, this time as the grand marshal for the 24th AIDS Walk, stepping off from Freedom Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 2.

”This city has been my home for many years and I have become very familiar with the work the [Whitman-Walker] Clinic does, from free HIV testing to full health care services,” said Carter in an Aug. 3 WWC release announcing her participation.

”As an actress, I have experienced playing a beloved action figure, but true heroic work is what Whitman-Walker Clinic does every day. I encourage everyone in DC to take part in this great event.”

David Mallory, director of AIDS Walk, says organizers are hoping to raise $1 million with the 2010 event.

”We think it is certainly doable,” he says. ”Last year we finished around $890,000, which in a down economy was really kind of heartening for us.”

To help reach that goal and to broaden the scope of AIDS Walk, WWC is changing the way it produces the annual walk by opening the door to ”community partners.” These other D.C.-area HIV/AIDS organizations will help produce the event in return for keeping half the money they raise.

”It’s an opportunity for these other HIV/AIDS organizations to raise funds that they need, to reach out to their supporters, their donors, so that we can all come together as one community on Oct. 2 for the walk.”

WWC will announce those organizations participating as community partners at a later date. Mallory says so far the clinic is ”getting a good response.”

Unlike the Community Partners program employed by Capital Pride annually – an arrangement begun when the clinic was managing the LGBT celebration – Mallory says organizations will not have to make an ”up-front investment” to participate as a partner with AIDS Walk.

”All the money that they’re going to receive back is going to be based solely on the amount of money that their team members raise,” he says.

”It might somehow dilute [WWC's] fundraising effort, but we thought the positive really outweighed any kind of concern about that because I think we’re reaching out to whole new audience.”

The 2010 AIDS Walk is scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at Freedom Plaza. Walk registration is $25; timed-run registration is $35. For more information, to register, or to become a community partner, call 202-332-WALK or visit aidswalkwashington.org.

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