2019 GAIA Global Citizen Awards have a decidedly local angle

by Linda Hubbard on May 14, 2019

Laurie Hunter and the HRH Foundation received the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) Global Citizen Award on May 10 at a reception held on the 61st floor of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. The award is given annually to recognize exceptional individuals and institutions who have made extraordinary contributions to GAIA and global efforts to reduce glaring health disparities.

The HRH Foundation was created in 2000 by Menlo Park residents Shirley and Harry Hagey (top, pictured with their family)  to continue their charitable giving after retirement and to instill the values of philanthropy in their children. The Foundation supports local and global organizations working on issues including social services, environment/conservation, health and education.

HRH and the Hagey family’s commitment to GAIA stem from Shirley’s on-the-ground experience visiting GAIA programs in Malawi. Moved by GAIA’s impactful responses to the illness and suffering she witnessed, she opted to roll up her sleeves — and asked her family to join in.

Laurie Hunter (pictured right) has worn virtually every hat for GAIA, from donor to ambassador to current member of GAIA’s Board of Trustees. Beginning with her visit to Malawi in 2013 as a representative of Trinity Church in Menlo Park’s outreach team, Laurie witnessed the enormous impact of GAIA’s programs, fell in love with the people, and has considered the small landlocked nation part of her “community” ever since.

GAIA is a secular 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2000 in response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Its mission is to develop and implement innovative and caring healthcare programs in resource-deprived regions in Africa, especially those most affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

GAIA programs aim to achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV treatment targets in rural, remote Malawi by 2020: 90% of people living with HIV know their status; 90% of those are on treatment; and 90% of those are virally suppressed — a “treatment as prevention” strategy to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. More information about the Marin County-based  organization is available online.

Photos by David Arscott (2019)

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