Major Grant Awarded to Proposed AIDS Museum
Almost six months after announcing non-profit incorporation and a slew of investors, Steve Stagon can now say he’ll be getting a building to house his anticipated World AIDS Museum and Educational Center.
This new accomplishment is a result of the Community Foundation of Broward’s $94,000 grant to the museum, specifically to get a home. It’s called a "capacity building grant" and Stagon is excited to use it.
"This allows us to open the first World AIDS Museum ever in the world," Stagon told SFGN. "We have a very good idea. This is a necessary endeavor."
In January, SFGN reported that Stagon had announced major community support for the "endeavor" and was plowing ahead with it.
At the celebratory event (hosted by Jimmy Cunningham and Tom Stravecky with food by Jason King of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, wine by Michael Iacino, and flowers by Bobby Kyser of Panache) Stagon, who was diagnosed with HIV 23 years ago, displayed his significant progress at turning his longtime dream for an AIDS museum into a reality for Wilton Manors. Having managed the complex challenges of 501c3 incorporation, and having enlisted the support, partnership and funding of community leaders, Stagon led an enthusiastic crowd through a sampling of proposed displays, and through an outline of the structure and purpose of the museum.
Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis, one of the advisors on giving out the hefty grant, said the money is important for preserving the history of HIV/AIDS.
"It is a bold undertaking," he said, "but the challenge is well-placed in the hands of the Museum’s board."
Stagon told SFGN that this is phase one of the endeavor to open the museum on Wilton Drive, and hopes to do so by the end of 2013. While he has a spot in mind for the museum, Stagon didn’t want to share where it is exactly because it’s still being negotiated.
However, while he had hoped to create five galleries for the museum, the January plans he had set forward won’t be coming to full fruition.
"We’re not going to be able to do all five galleries," Stagon told SFGN. "We can probably do one of them. This will be the first phase of what will be a first-class museum."