The gift will enable the NAMES Project Foundation to move more than fifty thousand individual memorial panels of the quilt to the Bay Area and step up its efforts to reach additional communities and populations affected by HIV.
Conceived by gay rights activist Cleve Jones following a 1985 candlelight march to honor San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, who were assassinated in 1978 by Dan White, a disgruntled member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the quilt is the longest ongoing community art project in the world. Taking its cue from march participants who taped placards displaying the names of the more than one thousand San Franciscans who had lost their lives to AIDS to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building, NPF was founded two years later, in 1987, to support the efforts of volunteers working to create a real patchwork quilt, which today weighs more than fifty-four tons and commemorates more than a hundred and five thousand people who have died of AIDS-related complications.
"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 National AIDS Memorial executive director John Cunningham. "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."