Sir Elton John continues his charity work to raise money for HIV/AIDS prevention with his big AIDS Foundation benefit. At Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)’s 13th annual benefit An Enduring Vision held at Cipriani Wall Street there were many familiar faces and supporters digging deep in their pockets and showing their support for John’s Foundation.
American Airlines, Goldman Sachs Gives, Robert K. Kraft, and Wells Fargo served as the Presenting Sponsors of the benefit, and the star-studded evening raised over $3.7 million for the Foundation.
As part of the evening’s program, EJAF Founder Sir Elton John and Chairman David Furnish presented Enduring Vision awards to five outstanding Foundation supporters. Governor Andrew Cuomo was honored for his extraordinary contributions to the fight against AIDS, especially his plan to end AIDS in New York State by 2020, and for his tremendous leadership in bringing marriage equality to New York. Atlanta real estate developer Charlie Hendon has been a devoted friend and generous supporter of EJAF’s work for many years. Jay Jopling, proprietor of the prominent gallery White Cube and a loyal EJAF supporter and advocate, has assisted the Foundation on numerous occasions by securing significant pieces of art for live auctions and art projects, helping to raise millions of dollars over the years for EJAF’s urgent mission. In addition to their extraordinary philanthropic support for the Foundation, Nathalie and Pablo Salame are also vocal champions of both EJAF’s work and LGBT rights issues.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper emceed the gala dinner for a seventh time. Elton John took the stage for an intimate solo performance at the piano. Also, guest auctioneer Andrew Gilkes of Paddle 8 conducted a live auction featuring such one-of-a-kind items as a Damien Hirst painting, tickets and backstage passes to Elton John’s upcoming New Year’s Eve concert at Barclays Center, lunch with Anderson Cooper and Matt Lauer, lunch with Mike Myers, and a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph.
“Things are getting better,” said Sir Elton in his remarks for the evening. “More people are getting treatment. The world is becoming a more tolerant, compassionate place. But we still have so much to do. What I’ve learned from fighting AIDS for the past 22 years is that often the people who need the most compassion are those who receive the least. That’s why I created this foundation. We are willing to take on the unpopular issues, and we are willing to put serious amounts of money towards bold approaches that bring us closer to a world without AIDS.”
Through the impeccable credibility and reputation attained based on more than two decades of extensive work, EJAF has emerged as a significant leader in the field of AIDS. The Foundation advances public dialogue on critical and controversial issues related to the epidemic and challenges misguided policies and attitudes that block progress in HIV prevention. Proceeds from An Enduring Vision will help support these efforts, as well as EJAF’s grant-making initiatives across the U.S., the Caribbean, and the Americas.
Images via Getty Images