The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards and D.A.P. invite you to … Imagine a world without HIV

by Barry Dayton


Desert AIDS Project has long been part of the fabric of the desert cities communities … almost since the first AIDS diagnoses in 1981. Even before it was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1984, D.A.P. was already providing essential programs and services to those living with or affected by HIV or AIDS, as a part of the Community Counseling and Consultation Center. The CCCC was staffed by volunteer nurses, social workers, and others who just wanted to help those who were so ill – many quickly dying – from this mysterious new disease.

One of those helping to lead the charge in those earliest days was internationally-known interior designer Steve Chase – truly a man of imagination. While D.A.P. likes to think he’d be proud that the gala bearing his name since 1995 has become a centerpiece of the Palm Springs social season, they’re also sure he’d say it didn’t mean much if the event hadn’t also raised millions of dollars for AIDS care, prevention, and advocacy over its soon-to-be 21 years. In fact, the gala raised $1.4 million last year alone.

Take a journey through your imagination at “The Steve Chase” on Saturday, February 7

The PSA currently running on local TV – in heavy rotation, thanks to gala sponsor Time Warner Cable – invites us all to “Imagine” a different world. The gala’s promotion is being helped by #imagineNoAIDS on Twitter and elsewhere in the online space, like the “digital wall” D.A.P. created for posting messages, photos, and videos about what that world without AIDS might look like.

D.A.P. board chair and Steve Chase gala co-chair Barbara Keller says, “We are so committed to helping bring about an AIDS-free generation that we’ve been out, all over the community – including our Desert AIDS Walk, the Pathways HIV Conference, and the inaugural Everyday Heroes event on World AIDS Day – asking people to tell us what their message of hope and imagination looks like.”

If you’re at the 21st Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center, presented by Integrated Wealth Management, you’ll see more of what it means to “Imagine.” The hysterically funny Mario Cantone will be the evening’s emcee, injecting his special brand of humor, while Broadway sensation Shoshana Bean will be the evening’s featured performer.

Mrs. Keller’s fellow D.A.P. board member and gala co-chair for seven years, Jim Casey, adds, “This year, we have an incredible team who have written a very touching story that will weave through the evening, using song and dance to interpret one couple’s story of what it means to live with HIV. We are so excited to have the incredible, combined talents of Scott Alan, whose songs have been sung by the elite of Broadway, under the creative direction of Live It Up Productions president Trini Garza and his co-creative director Brandon Alameda.”

The Standard Magazine is a proud Sponsor of the 21st Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards!

They join Desert AIDS Project in thanking Wells Fargo, Eisenhower Medical Center, Harold Matzner, Walgreens, One America Insurance, Annette Bloch, Desert Regional Medical Center, Helene Galen, Steve Tobin, Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove, Hard Rock Hotel, Donna MacMillan, Reaction Productions … and many, many more … for not only imagining a world without HIV but helping D.A.P. be a part of the solution in getting there.

Want to be there on February 7th? Reserve your tickets NOW!!

It’s as easy as calling JP Allen at 760-992-0440 or buying them online by clicking here.


Meet the 2015 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Honorees

The 3 Ws” – wealth, wisdom, work – are part of the criteria that many nonprofit organizations use when deciding on the best candidates for their volunteer board of directors. After all, these are the men and women who set policy, help guide the organization, and take on a fiduciary responsibility. Of course, finding people like these who share the nonprofit’s mission isn’t just limited to the board of directors.

Each year, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards honors two of these local community leaders, as well as others who make significant contributions to the overall cause of HIV/AIDS research, care, prevention, and advocacy. Meet this year’s honorees:

Helene Galen – 100 Women Award for 2015, presented by Senator Barbara Boxer

This well-known philanthropist seems to have generosity etched into her very DNA, as she continues the good works she began with her late husband, financier Louis J. Galen. Perhaps best-known is their $50 million gift to help build the Galen Center, a 10,000+-seat arena at Louis’s alma mater, the University of Southern California. Helene has continued supporting children, the homeless, education, the arts, and more. Locally, Helene’s recent gifts have included $1.5 million for a new theater at Rancho Mirage High School, as well as $1 million for the new Palm Springs Art Museum location in Palm Desert. She touches many lives through her donations to the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, the McCallum Theatre, Jewish Family Services, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Helene Galen has also supported D.A.P. financially, including as an Award Sponsor at the Steve Chase gala for several years and as a member of the 100 Women annual giving program that gratefully bestows this award on her. Thanks for being on the D.A.P. team, Helene!

Dave Morgan – 2015 Partners for Life Award, presented by Leslie Jordan

If you’ve been to the Copa Nightclub recently for an evening of entertainment or enjoyed the comedy of Leslie Jordan, the drag of Varla Jean Merman, or the musical stylings of Amy & Freddy, you may not have realized that you were already “Dave Morgan-adjacent.” That venue and those acts … and much more … all fall under the direction of Palm Springs resident Dave Morgan, who is owner of Reaction Marketing & Promotions. As its website says, Reaction “creates and executes custom promotions that get the reaction you want. We bring together entertainment and consumer goods to create explosive results on multiple platforms.” Dave and Reaction build their clients’ business with TV, radio, and print, as well as through on-premise programs, events, and tours. So, when this long-time D.A.P. supporter said, “Hey, I have this idea for a fundraiser,” they listened … and the popular “Dancing with the Desert Stars” event was born. And for four years, it’s been raising increasingly more money for client services, as it puts smiles on the faces of D.A.P. supporters. Quite a reaction, Dave!

Dr. Michael Gottlieb – 2015 Science and Medicine Award, presented by Dr. Steven Scheibel

His discovery of the elements making up would become known as AIDS before the first diagnoses were made in 1981 reads almost like the noire detective novels of the 1940s. That’s when the young assistant professor at the UCLA Medical Center, whose specialty was immunology, found a strange set of symptoms in a young gay patient – unexplained fevers, dramatic weight loss, and a severely damaged immune system. Dr. Gottlieb’s sleuthing work led to a total of five cases, as he and his forensic team analyzed blood and tissue samples and eventually named their suspect: a DNA virus laying waste to immune system T-cells, the ones that defend against invading infections. Doctors and researchers worldwide were adding pieces to the puzzle but Dr. Gottlieb was one of few who spoke freely about the controversial disease. His work in the early days of the epidemic is chronicled in “And the Band Played On” and Gottlieb was physician to both the late Elizabeth Glaser, co-founder of the pediatric AIDS foundation bearing her name, and Rock Hudson. Using a $250,000 gift from Hudson’s estate, Dr. Gottlieb was one of the founding chairs of amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, along with AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mathilde Krim, who was the Science and Medicine Award winner at the 2006 Steve Chase gala. Dr. Michael Gottlieb is a living legend in the world of HIV/AIDS!


But what’s “the report card” for Desert AIDS Project?

While it’s great to throw wonderful parties that raise lots of money for client services at Desert AIDS Project – and keep the message before the public that “AIDS is not over” – what’s going on at D.A.P.?

Click on the hyperlinks below for even greater detail of how Desert AIDS Project is bringing its mission of “care, prevention, and advocacy” to life on a daily basis …


Care                        D.A.P. has achieved status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)

lookalike, helping to improve the medical home created to provide integrated access to medical care and other services, all under one roof. The enhanced Medicare reimbursement this provides helps to create diversity in D.A.P.’s revenue stream for maintaining these essential services. A near-term goal is full-FQHC-status, to even further strengthen the funding stream.


Prevention            Get Tested Coachella Valley is off to a great start in rallying support for the

nation’s first region-wide HIV testing effort to bring about an “AIDS-free generation.” These efforts have been lauded by both President Bill Clinton – praising the campaign’s public/private partnership – and Sen. Barbara Boxer, who presented the Humanitarian Award to D.A.P. board chair Barbara Keller and the Vanguard Leadership Award to long-time D.A.P. supporter – and founder of D.A.P.’s Partners for Life annual giving program – at the 2014 Palm Springs Equality Awards.


Advocacy            Desert AIDS Project has been named one of the “Top 20 HIV/AIDS Charities” for

both 2013 and 2014 by, the largest source for expert content on the Internet, helping 85 million users each month. This is the second year has assembled the list and D.A.P. was on it for both years.


They have cited Desert AIDS Project for their:

  • high percentage spent on programs vs. overhead – 82% in both 2013 and 2014,
  • fundraising efforts – raising $100 for every $15 spent, and
  • financial transparency.

D.A.P. is proud to be in the company of HIV/AIDS charitable organizations like the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and amfAR, as well as international HIV leaders.

Truly, “it takes a village” to make success at D.A.P. happen – and they are grateful for the thousands of volunteers, donors, staff, and other essential supporters in their village who help them better serve the community each year.