A Tribute to a Legend

Honoring Dionne Warwick, a champion of the fight against AIDS.

Photo by Nielson Barnard/Getty Images

Inspired to act by the loss of her valet to AIDS very early in the epidemic, Dionne Warwick embarked on a re-markable journey of activism that con-tinues to this day. 

In 1985, Dionne invited Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to join her in a collaborative rendition of the song “That’s What Friends Are For” as a fundraiser for a nascent AIDS research organization called amfAR. All four artists, as well as the songwriters, generously agreed to donate every cent generated by the recording to the Foundation. Clive Davis, the president of Arista Records, agreed to do the same.

The song was Billboard’s number one single for 1986. It won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 1986 Grammy Awards, as well as Song of the Year for songwriters Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager.  

In addition to raising millions of dollars for AIDS research, “That’s What Friends Are For” touched the hearts of millions and brought people together in solidarity with those who were suffering from and dying of a deadly new disease. 

In 2011, in commemoration of amfAR’s 25th anniversary, Dionne and her fellow recording superstars reunited for the first time to reprise the song at amfAR’s New York Gala.

In recognition of her unswerving commitment to the fight against AIDS, amfAR is proud to honor the six-time Grammy Award-winning legend with the amfAR Award of Courage at amfAR Palm Beach, March 2, 2024.


In 1982 Bacharach co-wrote “That’s What Friends Are For,” a colossal hit that became an anthem for the fight against AIDS and a hugely successful fundraiser for amfAR.

Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John perform the iconic song.