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Flowers Heritage Foundation Hosts Annual Spring Gala To Raise Funds for HIV/AIDS Programs

Oakland, Calif., April 12, 2011 — Flowers Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and addressing unmet needs in health care services and system, will host its annual spring gala, "April in Paris" on April 28 to raise funds for programs that support people infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. This year's event will also honor the Downtown Youth Clinic at the East Bay AIDS Center and the winners of the "Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS" high school art competition.

All proceeds of the spring gala will benefit nonprofit, community-based organizations – such as the La Clinica de La Raza, Black Coalition on AIDS and the California Prevention and Education Project – that provide direct services to HIV/AIDS patients including food, transportation, care and treatment and testing and screening to reduce infections. The gala, which will be hosted by former CBS 5 news anchor Barbara Rodgers, will take place at the historic Bently Reserve in San Francisco and will feature silent and live auctions, fine dining and live entertainment.

The Downtown Youth Clinic, which provides medical care, community services and peer advocacy support to HIV-positive teens and young adults in the Bay Area, is this year's recipient of the Sylester Flowers Innovative Leadership Award. The award, which includes a $5,000 grant, is named for the founder of Ramsell Holding Corporation and the Flowers Heritage Foundation who, over the course of his 45-year career as a pharmacist, has been committed to providing care to the underserved and medically indigent.

"Dealing with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis is challenging for any individual, but it is especially hard for young people who often face social isolation after their diagnosis," said Michael D'Arata, FNP, Director of Clinical Services, Downtown Youth Clinic. "We are extremely grateful to be presented with this year's Sylester Flowers Innovative Leadership Award and will be using the grant to continue to develop programs that help bring youth together in a supportive environment."

The gala also will feature artwork from the fifth annual "Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS" high school HIV/AIDS awareness art competition and the winners of this year's competition will be announced. The competition is part of an interactive program in which Bay Area students learn important information regarding HIV/AIDS and are challenged to express their views of the disease through art. The program is promoted in 44 Bay Area high schools annually and typically receives more than 200 submissions. Previous program participants have become HIV/AIDS peer educators in their schools, public health ambassadors in their communities and pursued careers in public health. In addition, several students received full scholarships to art institutions such as the California College of Art, The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and Academy of Art in San Francisco using their "Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS" art pieces as admissions materials.

"With an increasing number of patients struggling to make ends meet and unable to afford life-saving medications, it is more important than ever to raise funds for HIV/AIDS programs that provide vital services," said Gregory Edwards, Executive Director of the Flowers Heritage Foundation. "In addition, we're proud to recognize the Downtown Youth Clinic and local high school students for their contributions in fostering a positive environment to not only educate others about the disease, but also provide support."

Tickets to the event are available online at www.flowersheritagefoundation.org. Table sponsorships are also available online or by calling the Foundation office at 510-587-2662.

About Flowers Heritage Foundation
The Flowers Heritage Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to identifying and addressing unmet needs in health care services and systems. Based in Oakland, California, the Foundation offers short and long-term public health solutions and works closely with partners, collaborators, communities, and stakeholders to achieve successful and sustainable outcomes. The Foundation was established by the Flowers family and is an outgrowth of their belief in giving back to the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.flowersheritagefoundation.org.