To the ACRIA Family,
As friends, partners, colleagues, and supporters of ACRIA, we wanted to share this important update on recent developments and exciting upcoming plans, including a strategic partnership with GMHC.
In the spring of 2017, with the goal of continuing to strengthen our programs, enhance our ability to reach vulnerable populations, realize cost efficiencies, and maximize fundraising, ACRIA’s leadership initiated conversations with select organizations in our field about a strategic partnership or other alignment. During this dialogue, GMHC emerged as the best and most ideal fit for such a partnership. One particular example is how well our ACRIA Center on HIV & Aging, and especially its Research on Older Adults with HIV (ROAH) 2.0 study, compliment GMHC’s Long Term Survivor services. Much as ACRIA’s 2016 acquisition of Love Heals: The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education created an organization far greater than the sum of its parts, a formalizing of GMHC’s longstanding collaborative relationship with ACRIA will insure our lifesaving programs continue. It will also provide ACRIA with better infrastructure, stability, and an unmatched breadth of programs and services. At the same time, it will equip GMHC with additional resources to expand its existing work using our unique expertise in research, education, and technical assistance—most especially among older adults and young people—while giving them a portfolio of national programs and a singular community of supporters in art, fashion, media, and design. Our Board has enthusiastically supported and encouraged this partnership.
While these conversations were ongoing this summer, ACRIA’s leadership became concerned about some cash flow issues and retained a consultant to advise us. During the course of their work, we discovered that one individual had misappropriated some of our general operating funds. That employee was terminated immediately and the appropriate authorities were contacted. We have undertaken a thorough examination to establish the extent of the theft; secured ACRIA’s financial instruments; engaged critical financial technical assistance from New York State regulatory authorities; and implemented key controls that we are confident will ensure the organization can never be the victim of a crime like this again.
We are not only excited by the programmatic partnership on which we are embarking with GMHC, but also by the fact that their critical technical and human resources will support ACRIA during this transition. ACRIA will be stronger as a result. We are grateful for their support, look forward to sharing details of our strategic partnership soon, and, most important of all, we are excited about the work we will do together in the years ahead.
With thanks for your support,
Benjamin Bashein Stewart Shining
Executive Director President