The Telluride AIDS Benefit is Robert Presley’s legacy. It now reaches out in many ways to many different places/institutions: locally, through its education initiative; regionally to the Denver Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program (CHIP) and Brother Jeff’s Health Initiative; internationally, through The Telluride Project in Manzini, Swaziland, Sub-Saharan Africa and Ethiopia; and to neighbors on the Western Slope through TAB’s primary beneficiary, the Western Colorado AIDS Project or WestCAP.

In 1994, WestCAP  was still a very small nonprofit operating out of Grand Junction under the direction of a small board of directors and administered part-time by a nurse, Shelley Nielsen. Nielsen did great work with the Mesa County Health Department and as part-time executive director/case manager for WestCAP. Clients being served lived primarily in Mesa County, until Presley worked his magic.

Thanks to Presley and TAB, WestCAP  has grown into a much larger private non-profit providing resources, referral, case management, financial assistance, and support to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families in 22 counties on the Western Slope.

The biggest bonus of the money donated by the Telluride AIDS Benefit continues to be the fact that the funding is discretionary.

AIDS prevention efforts remain the primary initiatives funded by TAB’s annual gift to WestCAP.

WestCAP  also uses a considerable chunk of those funds to assist with nutritional support and to contract with bi-lingual Spanish speakers to do outreach work in the Hispanic community and to translate documents into Spanish for monolingual clients.

TAB money helps pay for supplement care in the areas of purchasing medications that are not on the ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) formulary, paying insurance premiums andhigh co-pays for HIV medications.

WestCAP uses TAB funds to provide client assistance with clothing, vitamins, utilities, transportation to medical care, participation in the client retreat, training for staff to enable them to deliver services appropriately and purchase computer equipment.

WestCAP recognizes the fact that many donors may not like the thought of their money paying salaries, but if there is no one to decide how the money is spent, write the checks, and tend to the budget, the organization would cease to exist. Federal funding sources tend to be restrictive and cover little or no administrative costs.

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