With 22 “Out of the Closet” store locations in the United States—including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami—the popular and award-winning store chain is the largest retail fundraising vehicle in the United States for HIV/AIDS medical care and services
AMSTERDAM (April 29, 2012)—Out of the Closet Thrift Store commemorated “A Royal Birthday”—Queen’s Day—with “Cheap Chic: Fashion for Charity.” The event featured royal acts, “cheap chic” models and fun surprises and will take place at the fashionable—and charitable—Out of the Closet Thrift Store on Friday, April 26, 2012 at 158 Jodenbreestraat. “Cheap Chic: Fashion for Charity” also served as a celebration of the first anniversary of the store, which opened in April of last year. With stores throughout the United States—including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami—the Amsterdam location is one of twenty-two “Out of the Closet Thrift Store” locations and the very first outside of the U.S. For more information, please visit: http://outofthecloset.org/nl/.
During the day on Friday, the store became a “Royal Palace,” with refreshments for all customers and a celebratory gift bag with purchase. From 17:00 to 19:30 at night, the store hosted an invitation-only party with entertainment and fun surprises.
Owned and operated by the nonprofit charity AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the “Out of the Closet Thrift Store” chain is the largest retail fundraising vehicle for HIV/AIDS medical care and services. AHF is also the largest global AIDS organization and currently provides medical care and services to more than 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe.
Ninety-sex cents of every dollar earned by the re-sale of donated clothing, accessories, furniture and other items goes directly into the organization’s programs around the world, including HIV/AIDS testing, education, prevention, outreach and the care and treatment of patients worldwide. Boasting more than 1 million shoppers per year, the chain has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS medical care since the first store opened in Los Angeles in 1995.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been operating its global programs from its Amsterdam satellite office since 2001.
“We are thrilled to be marking ‘Out of the Closet Thrift Store’s’ one-year anniversary in Amsterdam and look forward to celebrating in full majestic style, worthy of the royal birthday we are also commemorating,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Whether donating merchandise or shopping at the store, the people of Amsterdam can feel good that about being both fashionable and charitable, since 96% of the funds earned through ‘Out of the Closet’ go into the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.”
“Out of the Closet” stores are renowned for donations made by popular celebrities and major television and film studio production houses. Past celebrity donors have included: Elizabeth Taylor, Ron Howard, Bruce Willis, Ellen Degeneres, Carol Burnett, producer Aaron Spelling, Richard Gere and many others. In 2011, AHF opened its first built-from-the-ground-up facility in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida dedicated in honor of actress and activist Elizabeth Taylor, who was a donor to “Out of the Closet” and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and was well known for her fearless advocacy and tireless fundraising on behalf of people with AIDS throughout her life.
In Los Angeles, “Out of the Closet Thrift Stores” are a popular part of the landscape of the city, with a fierce celebrity following. Among the celebrity shoppers—and outspoken fans of the fact that the stores offer free HIV testing services and benefit an AIDS organization—are actress Pauley Perrette (of the top-rated U.S. TV show NCIS) and musical artist Kesha.
“We are grateful for the warm reception we have received from the community this past year during which we have already inspired tons of regular shoppers and donors,” said Chris Vermaak, the store manager. “We hope that new visitors who walk through our doors are amazed at what they find: trendy fashion at great prices and a way to give back to a good cause.”
In addition to funding lifesaving services, many of the stores—including the Amsterdam location—offer free HIV testing services, part of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s innovative community-based, alternative-site testing initiative—the largest HIV testing program of its kind.
Founded in 1987, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s mission is to provide cutting-edge medicine and advocacy, regardless of ability to pay. As the largest global AIDS organization, AHF Healthcare Centers serve more than 200,000 patients in 28 countries, providing lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment to those in need. In addition to operating free HIV/AIDS healthcare centers, AHF also offers free HIV prevention, testing and referral services through innovative, community-based initiatives such as at select “Out of the Closet” stores and mobile testing vans.
A global AIDS leader, AHF vigorously advocates on behalf of its patients and the 34 million people who are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Whether sponsoring legislation at the local level, lobbying national governments or helping to shape global policy, the organization’s efforts focus on increasing access to prevention, testing and treatment to ensure that all those who need services receive them.