amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

To the Ends of the Earth for AIDS Research

Johan Ernst Nilson ascends Tanzania’s famed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. 
Johan Ernst Nilson ascends Tanzania’s famed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Johan Ernst Nilson has quite possibly the most thrilling job in the world. And it’s a job that takes him—and those in his care—to the remotest corners of the planet.

A Swedish adventure explorer and world record holder—with over 40 expeditions in over 160 countries to his credit—in recent years Nilson has put his intrepid wanderlust to work in support of amfAR. He has generously packaged a string of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that have been auctioned off to adventurous amfAR supporters at the Foundation’s fundraising galas.

Nilson introduces his Rainbow Mountain Adventure package at the amfAR Inspiration Gala Los Angeles in October 2016.Nilson introduces his Rainbow Mountain Adventure package at the amfAR Inspiration Gala Los Angeles in October 2016.At last year’s Cinema Against AIDS, for example, an eight-day sailing trip for 10 people through the exotic Indonesian archipelago aboard a luxury 100-year-old teak and ironwood ship fetched a whopping $226,800.

Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the winning bidders on a package that sold twice—for a total of $190,000—at the 2016 New York Gala. This adventure was a 10-day exploration of the pristine landscapes of Mongolia, including the Blue Pearl, the country’s largest freshwater lake. The trip included horseback riding across the Mongolian grasslands and a communal meal with a nomadic family in a traditional dwelling.

“amfAR is one of the few organizations that focuses on results and not only ideas,” says Nilson, who is also a motivational speaker. “At every event I meet doctors, field workers and researchers working to make a difference. I'm so proud to be in the amfAR family!"

Nilson’s most recent offering was a journey deep into the heart of the Peruvian Andes to explore the kaleidoscopic slopes of Rainbow Mountain, a spectacular but little-known wonder of the natural world. It sold twice for a total of $120,000 at the amfAR Inspiration Gala Los Angeles in October 2016. All told, Mr. Nilson’s expeditions have so far raised more than $600,000 for amfAR.