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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 8, 2006

Three new staffers join Taskforce development office

Cleveland--The development department of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland has a brand new face--three of them, in fact.

With the departure this summer of longtime development director Judy Price, the Taskforce broke her duties into two separate jobs, a development director and a special events coordinator, both of which have now been filled. In addition, a new grant writer is filling out the development staff.

Melvin B. Mixner II, brother of Clinton administration LGBT liaison David Mixner, is the new grant writer. He brings with him 25 years of experience in the Cuyahoga County administration, as well as coordinator of foundation relations for Lake Erie College.

Denise Seyranian steps in as special events coordinator. She was the director of sales and marketing for the Cleveland San Jose Ballet.

Seyranian also organized the Scott Hamilton gala for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for three years, in addition to doing private consulting and work as the director of marketing and community outreach for American Music, a foundation that helps educate people about song tradition in America.

�She has a very eclectic special events background,� said Taskforce executive director Earl Pike, �which is what we were looking for. We weren�t looking for someone who just knew how to do one type of event.�

Pike estimated that the Taskforce was involved with over a dozen major events per year, including Dancin� in the Streets, ArtCares and AIDS Walk Cleveland. Even with events not run through the AIDS Taskforce, like Dancin�, the Taskforce is still called upon to work towards getting the event together and making it successful.

Completing the trio is development director Racheal Seibert, an attorney who found that courtrooms were not her preferred battleground for social justice and change.

�I went to law school because I really wanted to impact positive social change in the community,� Seibert said. �I think along the way, I just found that the practice of law was not the way for me to do that.�

�I still wanted to advocate for people who were vulnerable in some way,� she continued. �I started off at the [Cleveland Museum of Art], and it was a really good way to learn from a really great development department what each person in the department does.�

She also did work at the Mandel Foundation, �the flip side of fundraising,� where she learned how foundations evaluate programs and grant requests.

�One of the reasons she seemed a really good fit for us,� said Pike, �is she has, aside from her development experience, she has a lot of social justice experience, and at the end of the day, we�re all about social justice.�

�It�s so enormous,� Seibert said of the affliction she is now working to stamp out. �AIDS is not just a disease, it affects the people who love people with the disease, affects issues of housing,� among other tribulations people with HIV face.

�I�m meeting committed, dedicated people who want to make the changes I was interested in making when I started this work,� she concluded.

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