25 Presents for 25 Years

A celebration of 25 years is a “silver anniversary.” It takes that name from an ancient tradition of presenting a wreath of silver to mark a commitment of 25 years. And while we have been committed to providing free legal services to Pennsylvanians with HIV and AIDS for 25 years, we don’t expect any wreaths, but a present would surely be appreciated.

What follows is the second round of “25 Things We Want” for our 25th Anniversary. Consider this our registry!

► P.S. Feel free to contribute any dollar amount toward an item rather than paying for the whole thing. For instance, if you want to buy us one hour of a landlord-tenant hearing, instead of a whole hearing, you can enter that smaller amount into PayPal.

  • 25 public benefit hearings: Our public benefits attorneys spend hours researching the facts and the law to make sure our clients can get the healthcare they so desperately need. For any given hearing, they must review case law, regulations, and the clients’ medical records. Winning means taking the time to get it right.
  • Each hearing from start to finish takes about 3 hours and costs approximately $750.  (3 hours per hearing/ $250 per hour ) 
  • 25 months of bilingual receptionist: Our bilingual receptionist is the “front line” for clients who call us seeking help. A receptionist who speaks Spanish and English means that Spanish-only speaking clients get the help they need without delay.
  • One month of pay for our bilingual receptionist costs $3,000.
  • 25 months of health insurance for our staff: Much of our work involves helping people get the health benefits they need. But our staff requires insurance as well. Insuring our employees lets everyone know we believe in and practice our message – access to healthcare should be available and affordable to everyone.
  • Each month we spend $4,336.33 for our health insurance coverage. 


  • 25 months of postage meter rental and maintenance: Remember last month when we said that we’re lawyers, and lawyers have to make a lot of photocopies? Well, we also have to send a lot of mail.
  •  Our postage machine costs us $222 per month. 
  • Upgrade of our email system: The first email was sent in 1971. Since then, it’s become the primary method of business communication. Unfortunately, the AIDS Law Project’s email system often acts as if it’s still in 1971. We want to upgrade to the 21st century, with an offsite “cloud” email system to allow for growth.
  • Estimate for setup and a year’s worth of email access = $2,000. 

None of our accomplishments this year would have been possible without your dedication to our cause and your financial support. You’ll recall our work for an HIV-positive honors student that resulted in a $700,000 settlement from the Milton Hershey School after the school wrongly denied him admission based on his HIV status. We also worked on almost 3,000 other legal matters.

Those living with HIV and AIDS still experience discrimination in matters that healthy people take for granted — health care, employment, and housing. You’re the reason we can be there for them.

Now in the Archive: Executive Director Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq. talks about the Hershey case, the Law Project’s other work, and raises tough questions in this interview originally recorded for World AIDS Day 2012.

Go to http://www.edgeonthenet.com/index.php?ch=features&sc=worldaidsday2012 and click on Ronda’s name in the left hand column for a pop-up video.