Common Ground-The Westside HIV Community Center, is scheduled to host its annual fundraising event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3rd, at the Sheraton Delfina hotel, 530 W. Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica.

This year’s event, “A Toast to Common Ground,” celebrates the Santa Monica-based agency’s 16 years as what is considered the only comprehensive HIV service provider on the Westside.

The champagne brunch will be hosted by social activist Torie Osborn and will feature a spoken word piece by poet and educator Mark Gonzales.

Over 20 years into the HIV epidemic, over 3,360 people in the coastal community are living with HIV, and one in four does not know that they’re positive, according to Common Ground.

Agency officials said the success of their mission “to bring together diverse members of the Westside community in the fight against AIDS” is critical to address the AIDS pandemic and vital to the community’s health and future.

Common Ground was founded by a group of local citizens in 1992 in order to provide access to vital AIDS services on the Westside. By 1997, Common Ground had grown into a small organization with three core programs, including peer education for high school students, case management for people living with HIV/AIDS, and outreach services for homeless people.

By the end of 2003, the agency had expanded programs to provide a continuum of HIV care and prevention services that includes mental health, treatment advocacy and needle exchange; targeting outreach to women and people of color; and providing youth drop-in services and direct medical care linkage.

Admission to the champagne brunch is complimentary.

The event will include a raffle featuring gifts from Pearl of Paradise, the Sheraton Delfina and local restaurants.