FEBRUARY 7, 1986 / MONTROSE VOICE 9
Human Rights Campaign Fund board members, (left to right) Eric Rosenthal,
Vic Basile and Vivian Shapiro during their recent visit to Houston. (Pete
Human Rights Campaign
Fund in Excellent Health
By Pete Diamond
Montrose Voice Staff Reporter
They came to Houston from across the
country—New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver—18 people committed to
pursuing basic human rights and furthering gay civil rights. They took time from
their personal schedules to come here,
each person paying the cost of their plane
fare and hotel room, all for a cause they
strongly believe in. But as board members
of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, it's
a committment they all make.
The Washington-based political action
committee met in Houston last weekend to
discuss the group's budget and fundraising efforts for 1986, in light of what board
co-chair Vivian Shapiro is calling a "critical year" for gay men and lesbians.
According to Shapiro, the Campaign
Fund is in excellent financial shape. In
fact, nearly $50,000 has already been
dispersed to candidates in key races, something she says the Campaign Fund has
"never been in a position to do before" this
early in an election year.
Much of this is undoubtably the result of
successful fundraising efforts by the
HRCF. The amount of money raised by the
HRCF has increased by nearly one third
annually since 1983. Last year, more than
$640,000 was raised nationwide for HRCF
But this year, gay men and lesbians are
facing a unique set of challenges. Federal
appropriations for the Departments of
Labor and Health and Human Services
were initially set at more than $230 million. Some of this money was earmarked
for federal and state AIDS research, treatment and education programs. A $50 million reduction of that amount, however,
together with the Gramm-Rudman Bill,
which seeks a balanced budget by 1991,
poses a serious threat to the future of these
"This will not be an easy task," says Vic
Basile, executive director of the Campaign
Fund. "Competition will be more keen
than ever and even our strongest supporters on the Hill will be facing enormous
pressure to cut back on even the most
worthwhile programs, including AIDS,"
Shapiro feels 1986 will also be a critical
year for many states, including Texas,
because it is an election year. She says
that while the current Republican-
dominated Administration believes they
will have a landslide in the November elections, the Campaign Fund hopes to prove
them wrong. Campaign donations made
early in the season, such as those already
given by the HRCF, can often be more val
uable for a campaign than donations
made closer to an election, according to
In an effort to meet these challenges, the
Campaign Fund has set a fundraising
goal for 1986 of $1 million.
While in Houston, HRCF board
members met with various representatives of the gay community to discuss
plans for establishing a Houston-based
liaison with the Campaign Fund.
"We're in a period of growth and success," says Eric Rosenthal, HRCF assistant for program and development. "But
1986 will be an easy year compared to the
cuts that will be made with Gramm-
Rudman through 1991. We don't feel it's
an appropriate federal response."
Rosenthal said it is important to continue lobbying efforts to guarantee AIDS
funding. He warns that if federal funding
for AIDS and AIDS-related projects is
reduced, the impact of the cutbacks will
certainly be felt in states such as Texas.
While AIDS is a "timely, critical issue,"
Basile says the HRCF is continuing its
efforts in the areas of gay civil rights and
military and immigration issues. The
Campaign Fund also provides support to
candidates of both parties, Republican
and Democratic, who pledge their support
of gay civil rights legislation.
Boosting support and strength for the
Campaign Fund has been the organization's recent merger with the Gay Rights
National Lobby. Basile says the merger
will maximize available resources and be
more economical. Furthermore, and moBt
importantly, he believes the expanded
organization wijl also be more effective
and influential politically.
Alpha II Show to
be Held at MCCR
From a Press Release
Alpha II, a non-profit group which raises
funds for organizations in the gay community, will hold its second annual "Fundraiser" at the Metropolitan Community
Church of the Resurrection, 1919Decatur,
on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
The show will feature 20 of the group's
members performing "musical mime."
Proceeds from the event will be used to
purchase a new sound system for the
church. A donation of $7 may be paid at
the door. Refreshments will be served and
door prizes awarded.
$1.50 all Vodka
to the Mine on
their new patio
Feb. 13th. ^
HOUSTON • 521-2519