DAP Health Rounds Out Its Fundraising Team
As seen in Desert Charities News
With two new hires, DAP Health enriches its development department just in time for the Coachella Valley’s season of giving.
Chief Development Officer Cortney Weir joins the advocacy-based non-profit after nearly 30 years at such organizations as the American Heart Association, the Arthritis Foundation, Best Buddies, and most recently, the California Southland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
For his newly created role, Assistant Chief of Philanthropy and Presidential Priorities Chris Boone recently relocated to Palm Springs from Los Angeles. Boone comes to DAP Health having spent time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Los Angeles Youth Network, The People Concern, and most recently, the National Parks Conservation Association.
“Removing barriers to care requires financial resources, which requires hiring top fundraising talent,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Cortney and Chris are the best of the best in the field of philanthropy. Together, I have no doubt we will fulfill our mission to bring wellness to our valley by providing health equity to all.”
Neither Weir nor Boone are new to the desert.
In 1984, at the age of 18, Weir moved from her native San Francisco to Palm Desert, where she and her roommate were the only two women living in a 10-unit apartment complex inhabited by gay male couples of various ages. “Those dear men really took me and Elizabeth under their wings,” says Weir. “I remember we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree, and suddenly, a Christmas tree appeared. If we were dating young men we should not be dating, they would chase them off. Whatever we needed, they would provide.”
When those same men became sick within a year, it was Cortney and her roommate’s turn to provide for them, going so far as to drive them to appointments at the original, tiny Vella Road offices of Desert AIDS Project, as DAP Health was formerly known.
“I remember taking people to the hospital and having them be turned away because they were living with HIV/AIDS,” Weir recalls. “I remember calling their mothers to say, ‘Your son is dying,’ and having them reply, ‘My son died for me a long time ago.’ I was in shock. My mother would have crawled over broken glass for me — and she was with me many times when one of my friends was incoherently calling for his mom. She’d hold their hand and say, ‘I’m here, honey. I’m here.’ Back then, the only comfort we had was one another and Desert AIDS Project. For me, coming to DAP Health is coming home.”
Born and raised in Seattle, Boone has been a longtime visitor to Palm Springs. Speaking to his role and to DAP Health’s purpose, Boone — who served as a board member of the Human Rights Campaign for six years — says, “It was honestly a unicorn of an opportunity. To be able to take what I’ve learned at other organizations I’ve worked at or volunteered with and apply it to a mission I’m so passionate about was very appealing.”
While Weir wasn’t looking to leave her previous employer, all it took was a campus tour led by Brinkman to convince her. “David is an impressive leader and visionary,” she says. “He’s so good at painting a picture of where he wants to go — what’s been achieved, what’s possible. And he’s right here! There’s nobody he has to answer to in Chicago, Miami, or wherever. Trust me, I asked around. Everyone said, ‘Seriously, DAP Health and David Brinkman are the real deal.’”
Boone will focus on DAP Health’s major benefactors. “David saw the need for someone to specifically do this work,” he says. “My biggest task, but an opportunity I relish, is getting to know the organization’s dedicated donors — their passion and personal story that bring them to support the organization. There are so many generous people in the desert. Some are currently supporters, but many we still need to meet and introduce to our work.”
For Weir, the biggest hurdle is time. “I can be an impatient person,” she says with a chuckle. “I want everybody to know — now! — that while we remain very respectful to the history of this organization, what it’s meant to the community, and whom we’ve served, the impact we can have on an even larger group of community members is very real. Donors are going to be very interested in what we’re building over here at DAP Health. Once we’re done with the next phase of our growth, people are simply going to be blown away.”