For a quarter century, Tulsa CARES has provided assistance, support and social services to more than 600 low-income clients living with HIV/AIDS every year. This effort recently got a record-breaking fiscal boost when the 19th Annual Red Ribbon Gala raised nearly $1 million.
Attendees – clad in sleek black tuxedos and evening attire in hues of crimson, cherry, ruby, wine, scarlet, vermillion and many more shades of red – were treated to a cutting edge presentation of Tulsa CARES’ past, present and future.
“Using interface technology provided by Steelhouse, we provided patrons with eight virtual reality stations where they used [virtual reality] headgear to view the Charles Faudree Center – set to open this spring – in a 360-degree environment,” said Todd Pyland, principal and creative director at Talmadge Powell Creative. “We thought giving the guest a tour would entertain them and provide insight on what TulsaCares offers. This technological opportunity was sponsored by Patriot Bank.” The Charles Faudree Center will serve as the new headquarters for Tulsa CARES.
Guests entering Cox Business Center’s large open lobby were led through a four-zone gallery installation depicting an agency timeline, education on the services provided and people supported by Tulsa CARES as well as explanations of myths, stigmas and facts of the disease, Pyland says. Much of this informative content is available in video format online by visiting redribbongala.org.
For the past 12 years, Ryan Jude Tanner has been involved with Tulsa CARES and is one of two people to have ever served as chairman of the event twice. Jay Krottinger was Tanner’s co-chair this year. Tanner shared his excitement for the event, particularly in recognizing gala honoree Patricia Chernicky.
“Last year we broke attendance and fundraising records, and this year we broke last year’s records,” Tanner says. “This is due in large part to Patricia and her work as a leading advocate to make this such a diverse, inclusive event. There was such a range there – in ages from 21 to 75, those who are HIV negative and those who are HIV positive, the gay and the straight. Single donations ranged the smallest at $10 to the largest of $33,000. It was just a fantastically diverse group of folks. I was honored to be part of honoring her with the first Patirica Chernicky Luminary Award, which will be given every year from now on. The Luminary is a great culmination of Patricia’s 15 years of support of Tulsa CARES.”
Pyland says conceptualizing next year’s gala began the day after this year’s event.
“We like to stay and help the gala grow year after year as a trend,” he says. “At $952,000 raised, we almost doubled last year’s high of $500,000. We’re always thinking about next year, and we’re excited to announce the 2017 chairs will be Raj Basu and Rebekah Tennis.”
The 2017 Red Ribbon Gala is already set for Saturday, March 4, 2017 and will again be held at the Cox Business Center. For more information on Tulsa CARES, visit tulsacares.org.