Press Release

National AIDS Memorial Receives $2.4 Million Donation From Gilead Sciences to Support the AIDS Memorial Quilt as It Moves Home to San Francisco

November 27, 2019 at 2:16 PM EST

Grant Will Support the Transfer of The Quilt, its Programs and a New Public Education Initiative to Reach Communities Adversely Impacted by HIV

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 27, 2019-- Today, the National AIDS Memorial and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) announced a $2.4 million donation from Gilead to support The AIDS Memorial Quilt (The Quilt), its public education programs and its relocation to San Francisco under the stewardship of the National AIDS Memorial.

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The grant will provide important resources as the National AIDS Memorial works with The NAMES Project Foundation (NPF) to move more than 50,000 individual memorial panels of The Quilt from Atlanta to San Francisco, where it will permanently reside. The grant will also support The Quilt programs, which include displays, panel making and conservation, and a new educational initiative that will be launched in 2020 to help reach communities and populations adversely impacted by HIV through the symbolism of The Quilt.

“Gilead has had a tremendous impact as a scientific leader in the development of therapeutic treatments for HIV/AIDS and, through its philanthropic efforts, has made a difference for causes and in communities impacted by the disease,” said John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial. “This grant will provide important resources to the National AIDS Memorial in support of The Quilt moving to San Francisco, its programs and new educational efforts to reach communities that are disproportionately impacted by HIV.”

Earlier this month, NPF announced that The Quilt and its programs will relocate to the National AIDS Memorial in early 2020, becoming an integral part of its mission to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS-related complications are not forgotten and that their stories are known and understood by future generations.

Each year, thousands of The Quilt panels are displayed throughout the United States and the world, serving as a memorial, a storyteller and an educator. It has been a powerful symbol to fight prejudice, raise awareness, link hands with the global community in the fight against AIDS, promote healing and foster hope through education and prevention.

Gilead’s philanthropic efforts are focused on supporting communities that are disproportionately impacted by disease, enhancing access and advancing education efforts like that of The Quilt to continue to raise awareness of the epidemic.

“Gilead is honored to support The Quilt, which is a national treasure and a poignant tribute to those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS,” said Daniel O’Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead Sciences. “We are proud to be a long-standing partner to the National AIDS Memorial, supporting its work to educate and inspire a new generation of advocates in the fight to end the epidemic.”

The Quilt is an extraordinary piece of history, art, activism and hope. Thirty-two years ago during the height of the AIDS epidemic, a group of strangers gathered at a San Francisco storefront to remember the names and lives of loved ones they feared history would forget – and with that seemingly simple act of love and defiance, the first panels of The Quilt were created. Three years later and just a few miles away in Golden Gate Park, another small group of San Franciscans, also representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic, gathered in a dilapidated grove in Golden Gate Park to restore it and create a serene place where people seeking healing could gather to express their collective grief through a living AIDS memorial, which is now known as the National AIDS Memorial.

The Quilt was conceived by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones. Since the 1978 assassinations of gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, Jones had helped organize an annual candlelight march honoring these men. While planning the 1985 march, he learned that more than 1,000 San Franciscans had been lost to AIDS. He asked each of his fellow marchers to write on placards the names of friends and loved ones who had died of AIDS-related complications. At the end of the march, Jones and others stood on ladders taping these placards to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building. The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt.

Inspired by this sight, Jones and friends made plans for a larger memorial. A little over a year later, he created the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman. In June of 1987, Jones teamed up with Mike Smith and several others to formally organize the NAMES Project Foundation. Generous donors rapidly supplied sewing machines, equipment and other materials, and many volunteered tirelessly. At the 1987 National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C., the Quilt contained more than 1,900 commemorative fabric panels. The Quilt, sewn together by friends, lovers and family members, now contains more than 50,000 panels, weighs more than 54 tons and commemorates more than 105,000 individual lives of people who have died of AIDS-related complications.

Today, The Quilt is a visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic and continues as the largest ongoing community art project in the world. There are more than 1.1 million people currently living with HIV in the United States, with more than 15,000 people having died of AIDS-related complications in 2017 alone. In 2016, more than 38,000 people received an HIV diagnosis, with half of those living in the South, and Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounting for the largest number of HIV diagnoses.

About the National AIDS Memorial

The National AIDS Memorial relies solely on funding from longtime personal donors and corporate partners to support its mission as a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember. The National AIDS Memorial, known as “the Grove”, was created more than twenty-eight years ago in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a place where those impacted by AIDS could both grieve and begin the process of healing. In 1996, legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi was signed into law by President Clinton that elevated “the Grove” as this nation's sole federally-designated National AIDS Memorial. More than 50,000 individuals from around the world have contributed 225,000 volunteer hours to support the National AIDS Memorial and its mission. For more information visit www.aidsmemorial.org.

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.

For more than 30 years, Gilead has been a leading innovator in the field of HIV, driving advances in treatment, prevention, testing and linkage to care, and cure research. Today, it is estimated that more than 12 million people living with HIV globally receive antiretroviral therapy provided by Gilead or one of the company’s manufacturing partners.

For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.

Source: Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Chris Ridley,
Gilead Sciences
(650) 235-2220

Kevin Herglotz,
National AIDS Memorial
(415) 874-9650