How the AXM Foundation helped DESTIGMATIZE come to life!

During our fundraising campaign for DESTIGMATIZE, not only did we use social media networks to help with our campaign but we also reached out to our local LGBT community here in Manchester. We reached out to charities, organisations, media outlets and other influences to help us raise funds for our precious project in hopes that we would be heard and that somewhere, somehow, people would understand why our project is so important to us and the HIV community.

One of the very few people that actually reached out to us was the AXM Foundation. Our GoFundMe campaign had reached one of the foundations representatives, Stuart Donnelly and I received a phone call inviting me to their ‘Pitch To Enrich’ event held in local LGBT bar in Manchester’s famous gay village, New York, New York.

This was our first public appearance where I was given the opportunity to voice my idea to the charity in hopes to receive a £500 grant, competing against other contestants with equally great ideas. For me, even though we were in the process of raising funds, I was just excited that an organisation took our project seriously and had given us the opportunity to raise awareness.

For somebody who wouldn’t regard myself especially great with public speaking, I knew I had to bite the bullet and speak passionately about what I am passionate about which is protecting HIV positive people from discrimination and it was a wonderful opportunity!

The ‘Pitch To Enrich’ event was equally as special for the foundation as this was their first major event and I was more than happy to take part as I had already volunteered prior to the event, raising funds for the foundation and collecting money on their behalf ahead of their launch.

Fundraising with Michael Keegan for the AXM Foundation

I’d like to publicly thank the AXM foundation for believing in me and our project. They were the first foundation that listened to us and this was before any other media coverage we received after the event.

The AXM Foundation was created in honour of Hayden Pope, who tragically passed away earlier this year and it was his dying wish that a foundation would be created in his name so his legacy could help those who had creative ideas that could benefit the LGBT community in some way, or even if you are a struggling individual yourself, wanting to make some sort of difference or change in your life, it’s very easy and painless to pitch your idea to the AXM Foundation. If you’re a struggling individual, or you would like to make a change or difference to either yourself or your own community, we highly encourage you to get in touch with the foundation so that you can apply for a grant.

Not only were we given a public platform to raise awareness about HIV stigma, but we also received a shock donation from one of the foundation’s advocates, Penny Crayon, whose company very kindly donated £250 to our cause.

AXM Foundation’s ‘Pitch To Enrich’ event – Image credit: AXM Foundation

After our appearance at the foundation’s event, our idea spread across the our local community and an article was posted about the event on Manchester’s Canal  St Facebook page which gave us more promotion. Following this, we had more shares, more donations and two months later we’ve brought our idea to life!

The AXM Foundation played a key role in bringing our project together and we hope to maintain a great relationship with them.

Even if you are in a moment of doubt or you think that your project isn’t worthy enough to pitch for a grant, pitch your idea anyway. They will listen to you!

Another representative from the foundation Karen Richards approached me during the event before my pitch and told me that it only takes one person to believe in you. This is the one piece of advice that I would like to pass on to our readers who need a clean break, who want to make a difference and most of all, who needs a sense of self belief and self-worth. If you use your voice, somebody will be there to listen to you.

Believe in yourself and your creativity and work with the foundation so they can help you.

For more information about the AXM Foundation, please visit their site here for more information

For direct contact, get in touch with Stuart Donnelly: