amfAR Raises $4.1M at Third Annual Gala in Palm Beach


Dionne Warwick and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger Honored

Sting and Amber Riley Performed

Julianna Margulies Hosted

PHOTO LINK HERE: Press Release Photos

Palm Beach, FL, March 3, 2024 — amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, held its third annual Palm Beach fundraising gala on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the home of Event Chairs James and Lisa Cohen.

The evening’s host, Julianna Margulies, opened the night by expressing her hope that the HIV-focused storylines on her groundbreaking show, ER, were able to help move the needle forward. Following that, she introduced the event hosts, James and Lisa Cohen.

In his remarks, James Cohen noted why a cure for HIV was still urgently needed and reminded the guests why they were in the room: to raise funds in support of research to end AIDS. On stage, amfAR Board Co-Chairs Kevin McClatchy and T. Ryan Greenawalt shared that six in 10 new HIV diagnoses in this country are in people below the age of 35 and that more than 50% of all new HIV cases occur in the South. Greenawalt also announced amfAR would make a donation to Compass Community Center, the oldest LGBTQ+ community center in south Florida, located in Palm Beach County.

The tribute to the legendary Dionne Warwick began with actress and singer Amber Riley performing a captivating rendition of one of Warwick’s timeless classics, “Don’t Make Me Over,” as well as one of her own originals, “A Moment.”

After a tribute video, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost made a heartfelt speech about how Ms. Warwick’s activism impacted the AIDS epidemic and presented the singer with amfAR’s Award of Courage. Touched by his kind words, Warwick recollected the moment when she, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John collaborated on the iconic “That’s What Friends Are For,” and how upon hearing the playback, Elizabeth Taylor then asked if Warwick would “give” the song and its royalties to amfAR as she felt it would not only bring much-needed attention to the AIDS epidemic but help amfAR get off the ground in its early days. Not only did it become the AIDS anthem, but it was the number-one single in the United States in 1986, won multiple Grammys and has raised tens of millions for amfAR to date.

The evening continued with a live auction that included exquisite pieces by Federico de Francesco, Jonas Wood, and Michael Kagan, alongside a glamorous Givenchy Paris Fashion Week experience and stunning diamond earrings from Macklowe Gallery.

Following an electrifying auction, celebrated filmmaker and fashion designer Tom Ford had the honor of presenting Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger with amfAR’s Philanthropic Leadership Award. In her acceptance speech, Dee noted her deep connection to the fight against AIDS through witnessing the epidemic firsthand in the 80s and 90s and expressed her hope that “we can maintain our humanity toward each other today.” Dee concluded by expressing gratitude to her husband, fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, and amfAR co-founder Elizabeth Taylor.

The night concluded as Julianna Margulies introduced the esteemed seventeen-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting, who graced the stage with intimate and captivating performances of “Roxanne,” “Englishman in New York” –- featuring surprise guest Shaggy, “Every Breath You Take,” “Fields of Gold,” and “Fragile.”

The evening’s event chairs included: Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, John and Amy Phelan, Howard and Michele Kessler, Barry Gibb, and amfAR Board Co-Chairs T. Ryan Greenawalt and Kevin McClatchy. 

Other guests in attendance included: Kris Jenner, Corey Gamble, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Flavin Stallone, Shaggy, Keith Lieberthal, Leonard Lauder and Aerin Lauder. 

This event was generously supported by Givenchy, Château Malartic-Lagravière, Piper Heidsieck, Bacardi / Grey Goose / Bombay Sapphire, Flecha Azul, Uovo, Fresh Victor and RUMOR Rosé.

Florida has the fourth-highest rate of new HIV infections in the U.S., after Washington, D.C., Georgia, and Louisiana. Close to 130,000 people in Florida are living with HIV, including about 8,100 in Palm Beach County. Only about 70% of people living with HIV in the state are virally suppressed (receiving consistent care), which falls far below the U.S. government’s target of 95%. amfAR has supported scientific studies at research institutions in south Florida since 1986 and has awarded over 90 grants totaling $6 million in the region. Three grants supported community-based education projects in West Palm Beach.

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 advocacy. Since 1985, amfAR has raised nearly $900 million in support of its programs and has awarded more than 3,800 grants to research teams worldwide.

Contact: Bennah Serfaty, amfAR Senior Director, Communications,