Spring is a time of new beginnings...the flowers start blooming, leaves are slowly emerging from the branches, all around us we see signs of life's abundance as winter's chill begins to fade. Fresh starts naturally lead to reflections of what's come before- the obstacles we've faced, the challenges we've overcome, and all the blessings we've been granted. The Octopus Club faced plenty of hurdles in 2009, but with each one came yet another shining example of how our community is able to pull together to find creative solutions and overcome.

Each and every one of you played a crucial role in the success of this organization- you give so selflessly of time, energy and finances and we are elated to share with you the amazing results. In 2009, the Octopus Club was able to contribute $149,473.94 to the Paul Kirby Emergency Fund. I don't know about you, but my jaw dropped the first time I read this figure. I understand if your reaction was a little less amazed- after all, many of you have been involved with so many worthy causes over the years, but try this one on for size: since 1989, the Octopus Club has raised $1,377,444.15 for the fund. Each and every one of those dollars has gone towards assisting our neighbors, friends and loved ones suffering the effects of HIV or AIDS. Because of you, these individuals have been able to remain optimistic even when their circumstances have seemed bleak. You have given them more than just food and medicine when they were in need, you have given them hope. You have truly created a miracle.

Although each of you has played a significant role in this incredible achievement, there are a few souls we'd like to thank for continually going "above and beyond" the call of duty. The Octopus Club could not have accomplished this amazing feat without our out-going Head Octopi, Arthur Landon and Rich Segal. Most of you have had the pleasure of working with these gentlemen and know first hand the boundless energy they have poured in to making all we do a success over the past two years. We can not thank them enough for giving so selflessly and are confident that although their term has ended, they will continue to play an on-going role in all we do in the years to come. Although no one can fill the void that these men will leave in our leadership, Mary Morrison and myself will do the best we can to live up to the high bar they have set.

We have accomplished unthinkable feats, but our work is far from over. Every day new cases of HIV are being diagnosed in our community. The need for emergency funds continues and the Octopus Club will continue to do all we can to assist those in need.

Our first event of 2010, the "Love Of Fashion" show co-sponsored with Saks Fifth Avenue, was a great success, raising over $2,000 for the Paul Kirby Emergency Fund. The AGLIFF The Driskill Oscar Party donated $3,000 to the Octopus Club. This $5,000 is a fabulous start but just a drop in the bucket of what we hope to accomplish this year. We are currently gearing up for one of our largest annual events, ArtErotica 2010, taking place April 17th. If you haven't already, please mark your calendars and join us for the sexiest, kinkiest art show in Austin- tickets are now available at http://www.octopusclub.org.

Beyond the large scale events we're known for, the cornerstone of our success are parties put together and sponsored by you. The only limit is your creativity. If you're interested in hosting such an event, please let us know as we'd would love to assist in any way we can. Details are on the website.

Miracles happen every day, and with your help we can assure the trend continues in 2010!

Look forward to working with you,
Summer McKee
Head Octopi

Year Total
1989 $23,151.00
1990 $28,592.00
1991 $46,092.00
1992 $55,349.00
1993 $58,967.00
1994 $50,736.00
1995 $51,020.00
1996 $56,914.00
1997 $47,247.00
1998 $45,572.00
1999 $45,569.00
2000 $41,086.00
2001 $48,381.00
2002 $54,268.00
2003 $69,669.00
2004 $83,799.00
2005 $65,726.73
2006 $80,277.96
2007 $114,968.67
2008 $160,584.85
2009 $149,473.94
TOTAL $1,377,444.15