amFAR’s 10th Annual Gala

Rex Lee, Maggie Rizer, Martha Wash, Sebastian Siegel, Tracy Chapman, Art Agnos, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole gathered with amfAR supporters from across the Bay Area for the Foundation’s eleventh annual San Francisco Gala, raising $440,000 for AIDS research.

Host Rex Lee of HBO’s Entourage welcomed 420 guests to the Four Seasons, where Peter Poulos and Stephen Brady were presented with amfAR’s Awards of Courage. Gap Senior Vice President Julie Rosen and Gap Chief Marketing Officer Amy Schoening presented Stephen Brady with his award, acknowledging the inventive vision he has used to promote AIDS awareness through his long career in the fashion industry. Brady spoke about his personal dedication to fighting the AIDS epidemic, which he has shown through his devoted efforts to mobilize funding for amfAR. Peter Poulos was presented with his award by The Honorable Art Agnos, former mayor of San Francisco. Agnos recalled working with Poulos on political campaigns during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Poulos, who has spearheaded amfAR’s San Francisco fundraiser in the past and has raised millions to benefit HIV/AIDS causes, expressed pride in the leadership that the Bay Area community has taken on all fronts-through public policy, science, and fundraising-in the fight against AIDS.

Supermodel Maggie Rizer shared a moving personal story with the audience, speaking candidly about losing her father to AIDS at a young age. “I grew up learning about AIDS just like every other young girl grows up learning to recite the alphabet,” Rizer said, “…And I learned that one day I would wake up and my father would not.”

amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole also spoke about his recent trip to Cambodia, where he toured sites in amfAR’s TREAT Asia network. Cole shared photos of his visits with children orphaned by AIDS, and he expressed steadfast hope that through innovative research, we will find a cure for these Cambodian children and the 33 million others who are now living with HIV.

Later in the evening, Rizer and Cole came together on stage to remind the crowd that just $1,000 per year can keep an HIV-positive child on life-saving treatment. Thirty-seven guests stood up to pledge $1,000, raising a total of $37,000. San Francisco-based auctioneer Durwood Zedd conducted the live auction, a highlight of which was the “Southampton Exclusive” package, donated by honoree Stephen Brady. The item included a week’s stay for six guests in a luxurious Southampton home, use of a Range Rover, and meals at Red Bar and Silvers Restaurant. Brady agreed to double the offer, allowing the package to sell twice for a total of $29,000.

Also featured in the live auction: A vacation for four in the Napa Valley, including five nights in a scenic wine country cottage and meals at some of the country’s premiere restaurants, sold for $10,500; A tour of France for two couples, with stays at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris and the Chateau Du Portail Bed and Breakfast in the Loire Valley, sold twice for a total of $34,000; Kenneth Cole helped auction off a trip to New York City for two, offering seats at his table at amfAR’s New York Gala, the fashion week kick-off event that is known as one of the city’s most high-profile AIDS benefits. Cole doubled the package, allowing two bidders to win for a total of $20,000.

The evening culminated in an exhilarating performance by Martha Wash, the legendary soul, R&B, and pop diva. Many of the guests stormed the stage to dance along to Wash’s iconic hits, including “Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” and “It’s Raining Men.” Nick Augustinos, Curt Kirschner, Joel Goodrich, Tim Hanlon, Fred Naranjo, Lisa Sardegna, and David Carillo served as chairs of the black tie gala. Gourmet dinner was prepared by Chef Gordon Drysdale of Cafe Des Amis. WillaKenzie Estate and Hafner Vineyards provided wines for the evening. Signature cocktails were provided by Skyy Vodka and benefactor AriZona beverages.

Stephen Brady and Vanessa Getty
Stephen Brady and Vanessa Getty

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