NEW YORK, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York City AIDS Memorial's Board of Directors (http://nycaidsmemorial.org) today announced that the organization has reached its initial goal of $4 million to finance the design and construction of the new memorial, which will be located in the planned St. Vincent's Hospital Park at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in the West Village neighborhood. The memorial will honor the 100,000+ New Yorkers who have died from AIDS, celebrate the caregivers and activists who fought against it, and educate current and future generations about the history of the AIDS crisis and the ongoing struggle to defeat the disease.
The memorial has received two allocations in the recently-approved 2014 New York City capital budget. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was responsible for brokering the deal for the memorial's location within her council district and shepherding the project through the City's approval process, secured $1.5 million towards the project. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the first elected official to publicly support the project, secured an additional $1 million in City capital funds.
Private-sector donations totaling more than $1.5 million include generous support from The Arcus Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The M·A·C AIDS Fund, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Calamus Foundation, and The Keith Haring Foundation. The memorial has also received a significant donation from Lenox Hill Hospital, which will operate a new 24-hour emergency care center and neighborhood medical facility in the O'Toole Building, which sits immediately adjacent to the new park and memorial.
With initial fundraising goals met to cover the memorial's capital costs, the organization will now focus on raising additional funds for the memorial's ongoing maintenance as well as funds for public and educational programming, including a significant virtual exhibit to renew the fight against AIDS. Construction of the memorial is scheduled to begin in 2014 and slated for completion by late 2015.
Speaker Quinn said, "I thank all who have generously contributed in any way to fund this important asset for our community and City. This memorial will connect existing generations of New Yorkers with their history and help inspire a new generation of young people to become active in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS, which is still ravaging so many of our communities in all five boroughs of the City."
Borough President Stringer said, "When it is completed, the AIDS Memorial will be an important place of reflection for so many of us who lost loved ones and friends—and it will also be a reminder to future generations that New York City must be forever vigilant when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our residents."
John Gupta, Executive Director of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat of Lenox Hill Hospital and its Center for Comprehensive Care, said, "As we bring vital health care services to this storied neighborhood, we honor the unique importance of this site to the history of the AIDS crisis and to the many caregivers who came before us to serve the needs and health of this community. We're extremely pleased to contribute $100,000 to the Memorial. Having been recently recognized as a 'Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality' by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, we look forward to working with the New York City AIDS Memorial organization to continue to develop educational programming to renew the fight against HIV/AIDS."
"We are thrilled to reach our initial $4 million goal of fundraising and create a lasting memorial for our community that will become a true New York City landmark," said Keith Fox, President, New York City AIDS Memorial Board of Directors. "We are grateful beyond words to our donors, who are true heroes. Their support is essential in preserving the history of the impact of AIDS on our city, and educating future generations as we work to realize the promise of an AIDS-free generation."
Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, two young urban planners who have never known a world without AIDS, launched a grassroots campaign to create the memorial in 2011. Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs for the memorial during an ideas competition held in late 2011, sponsored by Architectural Record and Architizer and displayed at the AIA's Center for Architecture. The jury, chaired by Michael Arad, designer of the National September 11th Memorial, selected a winning design by Brooklyn-based architectural firm studio a+i. After the New York City Council designated a site for the memorial in March 2012, the New York City AIDS Memorial organization continued to work with the original team of architects to finalize the design.
The memorial will feature an 18-foot steel canopy as the dramatic gateway to the new park, as well as a central granite fountain, benches and a paving surface carved with educational and commemorative text. The text will be curated by a team of historians, artists, community members and activists led by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
To learn more about the memorial or to make a donation, visit http://nycaidsmemorial.org.
About New York City AIDS Memorial: The memorial project was launched in 2011 by urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn to recognize and preserve the history of the AIDS crisis through the creation of a memorial to honor New York City's 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, and to commemorate and celebrate the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis. Their efforts evolved into the New York City AIDS Memorial organization. For more information about the New York City AIDS Memorial, visit http://nycaidsmemorial.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCAIDSMemorial and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AIDSMemPark.
SOURCE New York City AIDS Memorial