Posted: Monday, February 20, 2017 – 12:20 PM
When the invitation says “Black Tie or Creative Formal Attire” you have to expect some out-of-the-ordinary sights. Like the gentleman wearing a full-length, semi-backless, black-sequined Bob Mackie creation and loving it; or the several men who turned their dinner jackets into mobile works of art, a stark contrast to the Scot who proudly wore his traditional dagger on top of his kilt. True, there were more conventionally-dressed guests among the 1,500 attendees at the 23rd annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, but these were the ones having the most fun.
The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards is a production of Desert AIDS Project (DAP), which for the past 30 years was, and continues to be, a provider of hope, support and compassionate care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Steve Chase, before he passed away from AIDS, was a much-loved AIDS activist; and the gala, which is DAP’s major fundraiser, was named in his honor.
Today, DAP employs a national-recognized model that it has developed known as “DAP Total Care,” which provides medical, dental, behavioral health and social services to treat the whole person, now serving more than 3,600 clients.
While the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS continues, DAP’s CEO, David Brinkman, used the gala to announce the organization’s promotion of a “90-90-90 strategy” to end AIDS in the Coachella Valley by 2020. This strategy provides that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; that by 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and, by 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Of course, no fundraising gala can exist without co-chairs and honorees, and the 23rd Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards was no exception.
In a new designation I have not seen before, Patrick Jordan, David Morgan and Suzanne Quardt, MD were “returning co- chairs,” and deserving so. But it was the Partners for Life Award honoring the legacy of Elizabeth Taylor and presented by Barry Manilow, that garnered the most attention, and was accepted by two of Ms. Taylor’s grandchildren.
Eisenhower Medical Center received the Science & Medicine Award, accepted by G. Aubrey Serfling, president/CEO of Eisenhower, and Martin J. Massiello, executive VP/COO, Eisenhower Medical Center.
Last in the evening’s program, but certainly not last in importance, philanthropist Barbara Keller, received the 100 Women Award in recognition of her work with the DAP auxiliary. Former Senator Barbara Boxer presented the award.
The Palm Springs Convention Center served as the venue for the gala where the evening’s entertainment, the legendary Pointer Sisters, and the duo La Bouche, had an enthusiastic crowd up and dancing at the foot of the stage.
More information about how you can help eradicate HIV/AIDS is available at www.desertaidsproject.org.