amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

John and Marcia Goldman and Michael Tilson Thomas Honored at amfAR's San Francisco Gala




Contacts:  Bennah Serfaty, amfAR Senior Director of Communications, 212-806-1607, Natalie Jacobs, amfAR Coordinator, Media Relations, 212-806-1694,


San Francisco, November 13, 2010—Carson Kressley, Betty Buckley, amfAR Ambassador Cheyenne Jackson, Maggie Rizer Mehran, Vanessa Getty, State Senator Mark Leno, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole gathered with amfAR supporters from across the Bay Area last night for the Foundation’s twelfth annual San Francisco Gala, raising nearly $350,000 for AIDS research. Host Carson Kressley welcomed 400 guests to the Four Seasons, where John and Michael Goldman and Michael Tilson Thomas were presented with amfAR's Awards of Courage.

Legendary, Tony Award-winning Broadway star Betty Buckley performed a set of classic show tunes, including “It Might As Well Be Spring,” and a heartrending version of “Memory” to a roaring standing ovation. Broadway, film, and television star Cheyenne Jackson, a tireless advocate in the fight against AIDS, captivated the crowd with Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Musicians from the San Francisco Symphony also treated the audience to a rare intimate performance.

amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole spoke about a renewed sense of optimism in the field of AIDS research about finding a cure for the disease.  He reminded the crowd that the Bay Area is a hotbed of progressive AIDS research – amfAR has awarded $9.3 million in funds to nearly 200 research projects in the region.  Cole also spoke about amfAR’s newly formed Cure Consortium, which is enabling scientists to collaborate and share their findings.  Three of the initial seven consortium teams are based at the University of California, San Francisco.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier presented a Congressional proclamation to John and Marcia Goldman, praising the “unqualified love” that they have offered to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The couple’s daughter, Jessica Goldman Foung, presented the Goldmans with their Award of Courage, saying that her parents have taught her that “philanthropy is not about being sexy, or about supporting trendy issues,” but rather about addressing the most urgent areas of need, even when those areas have been forgotten.  The Goldmans, who have given significant support to amfAR through their John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, thanked their peers for joining them in “being warriors in this cause” and for continuing to give back.

Michael Tilson Thomas, musical director of the San Francisco Symphony and an internationally renowned composer and conductor, was presented with his award by California State Senator Mark Leno and Vanessa Getty, who called Thomas “a rock star of the classical music world.” Leno, who has been a friend of Thomas’ for decades, spoke of his compassion.  In one of the night’s most poignant moments, Leno shared that when his partner, Douglas Jackson, was dying of AIDS, Thomas came to his bedside, held his hand, and sang “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.” Accepting his award, Thomas also shared very moving stories of friends lost to AIDS, reminding the crowd of the tremendous effect that losing even one person can have on one’s life.

Auctioneer Aaron Bastian of Bonhams & Butterfields conducted the live auction.  Supermodel and Event Chair Maggie Rizer Mehran helped to present several auction items, including a weekend getaway for four at the luxurious Vanderbilt Hall guesthouse in Newport, Rhode Island, and an 18 karat gold Cartier Panthère watch. 

Nick Augustinos and Curt Kirschner, Derek Cabaniss and John Washko, Mario P. Diaz, Joel Goodrich, Jenna and Bryan Hunt, Fred Naranjo, and Maggie Rizer Mehran and Alex Mehran served as chairs of the black tie gala.  Gourmet dinner was prepared by Chef Michael Tusk of Quince Restaurant. Signature cocktails were provided by Skyy Vodka.

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

amfAR recognizes American Airlines for its commitment to the fight against AIDS and its generous support of amfAR’s mission.

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