San Francisco AIDS Foundation brings AIDS awareness and education to Dreamforce

Last week, global leaders in the fight against HIV gathered in San Francisco to talk about where we are—and what more we have to do—to end HIV transmission and illness from HIV and AIDS everywhere. San Francisco AIDS Foundation joined forces with the (RED) brand to bring AIDS awareness and information to the annual must-attend tech event of the year: the Dreamforce conference by Salesforce. 

Why did notable politicians, nonprofit leaders and other long-time AIDS advocates convene at the annual Salesforce conference?

It was because of a new campaign by Salesforce, to raise $1 million dollars through donations and sales of (RED) products, to benefit the AIDS-awareness brand (RED). Deb Dugan, CEO of (RED), said that if $1 million can be raised during the Salesforce, conference, it will be matched by Mark and Lynne Benioff, and that amount would be double-matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (for a total of $4 million dollars raised in four days).

Established by U2 front man Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006, (RED) is a brand that engages for-profit companies in philanthropy to benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In the ten years since its founding, (RED) has raised $360 million for the Global Fund, according to Deb Dugan. 

“Perhaps the most important thing we do at Dreamforce is remind everybody to do something for someone else,” said Mark Benihoff, CEO of Salesforce. “This has been a core part of Salesforce philosophy since the first day we started our company where we introduced our 1-1-1 model. [We donate] 1% of equity, profit, and time. Every year, we love to dedicate and focus on a specific cause, it’s a very important part of us. This year, we’re celebrating the incredible work of (RED).” 

Kathryn Murphy, director of philanthropy at San Francisco AIDS Foundation, provided insight as a panelist for a presentation about innovative technologies and HIV prevention and treatment. Along representatives from Project Openhand and (RED), the panel focused on ways to leverage technology to improve health outcomes for clients.

“The experience was wonderful,” she said. “We were able to discuss how data collection and technology are not only informing nonprofit fundraising and program work, but actually innovating the way we reach new audiences and engage with both our donors and clients.” 

James Loduca, senior vice president of philanthropy at San Francisco AIDS Foundation, lead a panel discussion about HIV with prominent members of the HIV/AIDS community.

This included Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Dr. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Dr. Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis at UCSF, Dr. Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health and Diplomacy, and Ernest Hopkins, San Francisco AIDS Foundation director of legislative affairs.

Loduca offered a personal perspective on how people go through “seasons of risk”—in other words, times in a person’s life where they are at an increased risk for HIV acquisition. And, offering context about why it’s crucial to provide our community with sexual health, mental health and substance health services on-demand and without shame or judgment in order to prevent new HIV infections and overall improve the health and wellness of people in our community. 

“For 30 years, we have known that people who are gay, people who are trans, people who engage in sex work, people who use drugs, people who are homeless, people who live with HIV, we are all first and foremost people. And we are all worthy of love and belonging,” said Loduca. 

During the panel, Hopkins shared why certain populations, particularly African Americans in our country, are disproportionately affected by HIV, and why we need to include marginalized groups of people (such as transgender people, the Black community, people who use injection drugs, and immigrants) in our response to the epidemic.

“The global epidemic is a devastating, terrible story. And the epidemic in the United states is a devastating, terrible story. It is an epidemic that devastated populations across the nation in differential ways. If I look back on the beginning of the epidemic in the United States, past is prologue. When you start a process by discriminatory action, marginalization, criminalization, it’s no wonder that certain populations in the country still don’t have the things that they need. I think, when we look at getting people into care, when we look at how to integrate care and prevention, we really do need to look at very targeted ways to address the issues in community that have been marginalized over time,” said Hopkins.

After the event, Murphy shared why it is important for San Francisco AIDS Foundation to participate in these types of events. “Not only are we are able to share the many innovations and advances we are making in the fight here in San Francisco, but we are also about to identify new partners and ways we can continue to grow as an organization and service provider.”

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