PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 20, 2021): Jimmy Thomason, who spent 12 years with Bank of America, most recently as Vice President of Global Human Resources, has been named executive director at the nonprofit Aunt Rita’s Foundation, which has provided more than $2.1 million in grants to 14 partner agencies and develops innovative gap-filling educational and HIV prevention and testing programs that complement and support existing critical community-based resources.
Thomason succeeds Glen Spencer, who had been executive director since 2016 after serving as a member and chair of the Aunt Rita’s Foundation board of directors beginning in 2007.
“Glen built a remarkable infrastructure and reputation for Aunt Rita’s and has done so much for so many people. My goal is to build upon and expand that foundation with more programs and services,” Thomason said. “There have been incredible strides in treating HIV both locally and across the country, but challenges remain both perceptually and in real-life terms in addressing HIV including the fact that 15 percent of individuals living with HIV don’t realize they are infected.”
Among the programs designed by Aunt Rita’s is distribution of free Home HIV Test Kits, “especially for people not in the LGBTQ community who may be infected and not aware of it,” Thomason said. The kits are mailed to interested individuals in unmarked packages through GetTestedAz.org. The program also provides vouchers for confidential HIV and syphilis tests at 100 Safeway stores and Sonora Quest locations statewide.
Under Spencer’s leadership, Aunt Rita’s also created the HIV and Aging Initiative to provide the rapidly aging HIV-positive community with specialized support.
Looking forward, Thomason, who is living with HIV, plans to organize an Aunt Rita’s Cultural Council to engage community leaders more reflective of the demographics of the community to identify and address needs and challenges, particularly those affecting people of color and minority communities.
Prior to being named executive director, Thomason was a member of the Aunt Rita’s Foundation board of directors beginning in 2016, becoming board chair in 2019. He has received fundraising and volunteer awards from the Southwest Center for HIV and Aids, one-n-ten, Phoenix Pride and other organizations. While at Bank of America, he also served as the community outreach chair for the LGBT employee network.
For more information about Aunt Rita’s Foundation, visit www.auntritas.org.