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A Starry Night Benefitting a Humanitaria …

A Starry Night Benefitting a Humanitarian Giant 

Community members gather outside on DAP Health’s campus to honor late megadonor Annette Bloch and to pave the way toward healthcare and housing for all  

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

On the crisp, clear evening of Thursday, February 24, some 300 invited guests gathered under heaters in the courtyard of DAP Health’s campus for a very special event. The occasion was threefold. 

First, it was a memorial in honor of major donor Annette Bloch, widow of H&R Block co-founder Richard Bloch and an instrumental DAP donor who contributed more than five million dollars to the internationally known nonprofit over the last decade. Bloch passed away from cancer at the age of 94 in her hometown of Kansas City last year. 

The soirée also served to officially dedicate DAP’s newest structure, which neighbors chief headquarters the Barbara Keller LOVE Building, as the Annette Bloch CARE Building. 

Finally, it marked the ceremonial groundbreaking of Vista Sunrise II, DAP’s future on-campus affordable housing complex, its second such development of single-dwelling units, to number 60 in all. 

With cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres generously provided by Jerry Keller’s award-winning Lulu Catering & Events — Keller is a longtime benefactor of DAP; his late wife Barbara was the organization’s first female board of directors’ president — attendees were regaled by an enviable roster of speakers.  

Longtime, universally respected DAP CEO David Brinkman opened the night, speaking of how good it felt to be assembled, and of how Bloch valued togetherness. He also mentioned how important the expansion of DAP’s campus was to the late humanitarian. “I can see this community housing the homeless, providing medical care to those who cannot afford the cost of today’s healthcare system,” he said. “We are decreasing mortality and morbidity, improving the health of our community members, and decreasing healthcare costs. When Annette and I dreamt of achieving this in the Coachella Valley, she’d always say, ‘David, you’re going to replicate this model throughout our country.’ And I could just imagine what a driving force she was in her own family’s attainment of their dreams.” 

Bloch’s youngest daughter, Linda Lyon, then took to the podium, making the audience laugh with memories of her mother’s youth and young adulthood. She’d also brought along priceless images to accompany her speech. Lyon admitted she wasn’t sure how her mother would fare following her father’s 2004 death. “But she really came into her own,” she continued. “She loved life, she loved people, she lived large, but she always remembered something [my grandmother] said … ‘to those who have plenty, there’s a responsibility to give back.’” Lyon closed by saying she was channeling her mother, announcing the family foundation’s surprise gift of $1 million to fund DAP’s further campus amplification, which will culminate in a more than 50 percent increase in the number of clients it can serve annually, from some 10,000 to more than 25,000. 

Close friends of Annette, past DAP board member Terri Ketover and Mark Adams, spoke briefly about their personal connection to Bloch — Ketover referring to herself the late doyenne’s “faux sister” while Adams confessed his cherished memories of Bloch will “reside safely with me forever.” The pair then acknowledged the role former Desert Regional Medical Center CEO and DAP board member Carolyn Caldwell, alongside Supervisor V. Manuel Perez of Riverside County’s Fourth District, had in making the Annette Bloch CARE Building a reality. They then urged the crowd to raise their glass in recognition of the new building’s naming.  

Perez was next, speaking not only of his own pride in facilitating DAP’s purchase of the edifice formerly owned by the county, but of his admiration of community members who rose to the occasion to enable the funding and construction of Vista Sunrise II. “Together, you have done something quite profound through your support of DAP Health,” said Perez. “You’ve made it clear you understand that lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest factors that keeps people out of care, that prevents them from getting well and living their best life. And you removed those barriers.” 

Perez yielded the spotlight to longtime DAP client, Vista Sunrise I resident, and PromoHomoTV host and executive producer Nicholas Snow, who put a charming, human face on the importance a roof over one’s head has in the overall health of someone living with HIV/AIDS. He spoke of being in dire need of DAP’s assistance more than 10 years ago. “On the edge of homelessness, with no healthcare, very little money, no car, and very few possessions, I stepped into that building looking for help, a way to survive, a way to rediscover my reasons for living,” Snow said, noting he was speaking on the 21st anniversary of his sobriety. “Thank you for my home, thank you for my life.” 

Pedro S.G. Rodriguez, the executive director of DAP’s Vista Sunrise II building partner the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition appeared next. “All of us at CVHC are supremely dedicated to our mission because access to affordable housing is one of California’s — and particularly one of the Coachella Valley’s — greatest needs,” he stressed. “When the opportunity to partner with DAP Health on Vista Sunrise II arose, and we came to truly understand the organization’s campus model, we knew future residents were going to enjoy a quality of life that very few people in disenfranchised communities in America are fortunate enough to experience.” After acknowledging not only a few of his board members in attendance but invaluable partners such as the city of Palm Springs, the Riverside County Behavioral Health and the state of California No Place Like Home Funds, and Wells-Fargo Bank, Rodriguez said, “I think all that’s left for us to do is raise a glass in honor of the 60 future residents of Vista Sunrise II.” 

One of the Coachella Valley’s own, Oscar- and Grammy-nominated — and Tony Award-winning — lyricist, director, and producer David Zippel closed out the night, joking that participation order must have been determined alphabetically. He spoke of Bloch’s unquenchable joie de vivre and generosity, vowing, “She is sorely missed tonight, of course, and will be until each of our respective flames has been extinguished. But she will live on forever through her massive contributions to DAP, and for that I know we are all eternally grateful.” Zippel then led a moment of silence before the evening formally concluded, leaving guests to visit with one another and reminisce about Bloch and the importance of her legacy. 

“We could not have asked for a more perfect night,” says Brinkman. “From the weather and the stunning backdrop of our majestic mountains to the spirit of kinship and quality of the speeches, it was a remembrance worthy of Annette that catapulted all of us at DAP and in this community on the next step toward making her dreams a reality.” 

Read more about Annette Bloch in 'Gift of Giving'

Learn more about DAP Health's Vision Forward capital campaign

Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 2020

The 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards will honor Hank Plante, Garry Kief, and Ambassador Deborah L. Birx M.D.

The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards is attended by more than 2,000 of the Coachella Valley’s most fashionable humanitarians making red carpet arrivals and the after-party events unto themselves. This year marks the 26th year for Desert AIDS Project’s largest fundraising event which is named for one of DAP’s earliest financial supporters, the designer Steve Chase.  

Watch the NBC Palm Springs Special – Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 2019

For 26 years, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards has been honoring Humanitarians from all corners of the globe. They are people who radiate compassion – who seem to have been born for a higher purpose. Their ex­ample reminds us that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Since our very beginning, over 35 years ago, DAP has listened to the community we serve and taken its lead in solving tomorrows chal­lenges. This year’s honorees share DAP’s vision of health equity and justice. They are men and women who’ve led and continue to inspire others.

Your presence at the 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, be­yond supporting our honorees, also signals your continued support for DAP’s patients and clients. Attendees are humanitarians helping remove roadblocks to access for quality care and supportive services that allow our clients, who are your neighbors and friends, to live their fullest poten­tial. And the impact of your support is very tangible.

DAP serves 7,000 clients today. Last year alone we helped 426 clients with housing, tested 2,784 individuals for HIV, and over 1,300 for Hepatitis C. Our on-site medical teams provided 5,354 dental visits, and 7,160 be­havioral health sessions. Every month, 82 new patients walk thru the doors of DAP seeking quality and comprehensive health care. Because of YOU, those doors are always open.

2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Sponsors

PRODUCING: Harold Matzner, Walgreens

MAJOR: Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove, Desert Care Network, Desert Sun, Eisenhower Health, El Paseo Jewelers, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Living Out

STAR: Mark Adams, Steven Anders/The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment, Annette Bloch, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Jean-Daniel Kermelly, NBC Palm Springs, Saks Fifth Avenue

SUPPORTING: Blackbook, Jim Burba & Bob Hayes, Diageo, Lynn Hammond, Jerry Keller, Lauri & Charles Kibby, Garry Kief, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs / GRIT Development, Neil Lane Jewelers, Edward & Marie Lewis, LULU California Bistro, Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel, UC Riverside School of Medicine, Marc Walters & Richard Cassar, Wells Fargo

BENEFACTOR: Anthem, Carolyn & Daniel Caldwell, Colleen Crowley & Jack Martin, Coachella Valley Health Personnel, Freehold Communities, Gilead Sciences, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Image360, Patrick Jordan, Kaiser Permanente Foundation, Koffi, Frank Kurland, Laboratory Corporation of America, Perry McKay, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, Revive Wellness, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Sysco Riverside, White Cross Pharmacy

MEDIA: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, LOCALE Magazine, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV, Rage Monthly, The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine

Sponsorship Opportunities

Please click below to download this year’s sponsorship packet to learn more about how you can activate your companies brand at this annual event while supporting the mission of Desert AIDS Project.

2019 Desert AIDS Walk “Walk a Day in …


Contact: Steven Henke

[email protected]

(760) 656-8401

PALM SPRINGS, CA- September 13, 2019 – Desert AIDS Project (DAP) (desertaidsproject.org) has announced the 32nd Annual Desert AIDS Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The walk will kick-off at Ruth Hardy Park, where over 2,000 humanitarian hearts will unite to walk for the future of health care and remember those friends and family members who we lost because of AIDS. Registration is now available online at www.desertaidswalk.org.

Every walker makes an impact with their fundraising to help expand DAP’s HIV testing and comprehensive, compassionate care for nearly 6,500 Coachella Valley neighbors and friends. You can make it all happen, and it starts with Desert AIDS Walk. The event is family and pet friendly with water stations along the route.

This year’s walk theme is “Walk a Day in Our Shoes.” Participants will walk a 3.5-mile round-trip walk through downtown Palm Springs.  The annual event is notable for the diversity of community members who come together each year to support DAP and the community partners who also benefit from the walk.

Desert AIDS Project’s Chief Development Officer, Darrell Tucci, on this year’s walk: “Desert AIDS Project has a long history as a leader in community healthcare and is unique in its approach to providing comprehensive services to underserved communities. We are, at our core, a non-profit health care center, specializing in HIV and infectious disease, supported in large part by the communities we serve.”

When the Walk kicks off at 9 a.m. it will be led by six-time Emmy Award-winning TV journalist, Hank Plante who was featured in the documentary “5B” about the first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital. He will be joined by health care providers from Desert AIDS Project and Desert Regional Medical Center. For those who haven’t seen the film, The Desert Sun is teaming up with NBC Palm Springs and Desert AIDS Project to host a special screening of the documentary at 7 p.m. on October 11 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. “5B” tells the true story of the group of nurses and caregivers who opened the world’s first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital and changed the way patients were cared for during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Hank Plante, will participate in a Q&A after the screening with DAP’s Dr. Shubha Kerkar. The event is free and open to the public, with suggested contributions supporting the scholarship fund of the local chapter of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care (ANAC). Reserve your free tickets online at tickets.desertsun.com starting September 22.

Desert AIDS Walk registration begins at 7 a.m and walkers are encouraged to come early to explore the Health and Wellness Festival presented by Walgreens featuring 50 different booths, complimentary coffee and pastries courtesy of Koffi Palm Springs, a rock climbing wall, and a DJ who will be playing high energy music before the walk begins. At the end of the walk, participants can enjoy complimentary snacks provided by Sysco Riverside or food from Haus of Poke Food on Wheels and Hey Day Burger pop-up. Both will donate a percentage of sales to DAP. Kid’s Activity Zone. Live entertainment will continue until 1 p.m.

Desert AIDS Walk is presented by Desert Care Network in support of Desert AIDS Project. Hosting the mainstage for the third year in a row will be Bryan Gallo and Thalia Hayden from NBC Palm Springs.  They will be joined by Sandie Newton, the host of Your Health Today. DAP’s, -CEO David Brinkman and Chief Development Officer Darrell Tucci will speak about how funds from the walk will be used at Desert AIDS Project and why your support is essential to the mission of DAP. Tucci will introduce local political leaders who will welcome walkers. 

2019 Desert AIDS Walk Registration: desertaidswalk.org


7:00 AM – Walk Registration opens

8:00 AM – Stage Presentation

8:40 AM – Yoga Warm Up

8:50 AM – Moment of Silence

9:00 AM — Walk kick Off

10:30 AM – Walkers Return to Park – Complimentary Lunch sponsored by Sysco Riverside- Live entertainment and food trucks.

Desert AIDS Walk funds the work of Desert AIDS project:

  • Medical Care – Almost 6,500 clients call DAP their patient-centered medical home, and about half do not have HIV. In the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, DAP discovered health outcomes for our HIV positive clients increased when we provided healthcare to their life partners and family members who were acting as caregivers.  Today, DAP offers leading HIV specialty care as well as primary care for our community members not living with HIV.  Because there is enough love in this valley to help everyone thrive and also prevent new cases of HIV.
  • Transgender Care – DAP is guiding more and more transgender, intersex, and gender diverse clients on their gender journeys. In a little over a year, DAP has seen its client enrollment quadruple for these services. Too many transgender individuals in the Inland Empire assume they won’t ever access stigma-free and competent care. At DAP they never have to worry.
  • Hepatitis Center of Excellence – 202 clients have been cured of Hepatitis C since 2017. DAP averages 9 weeks to cure clients, and never turns people away if they do not have insurance. HCV is a silent killer, but DAP’s advocacy is a lot louder.
  • Dental Care – Dental access is vital for good health, especially for people living with HIV. DAP’s dental clinic had 5,188 visits last year and continues to add clients. A healthy mouth helps clients stay ahead of HIV, and everyone smile wider.
  • The DOCK – $25 STI screening and treatment. Confidential HIV and HCV testing. PrEP and PEP navigators to onboard new clients and help access cost assistance. Because we won’t stop the spread of HIV and STIs in the Coachella Valley if we don’t make testing and treatment available to everyone.
  • Behavioral HealthCare – Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists. Coping with HIV and life can be overwhelming. DAP Behavioral Health clinicians help clients find hope. Because with the right support, we can get through almost any storm.
  • Social Services –Case managers make accessing healthcare and support services a reality for DAP clients. Transportation, food, housing, and enrolling for federal, state and local resources to cover care. In a complex healthcare system, DAP takes the worry out of obtaining and keeping care. 
  • Housing – DAP helps clients into permanent residences and is developing more opportunities. Housing assistance is part of our prescription. Because access to medication is not enough to treat HIV—it also requires a place to live.
  • Back to Work—DAP’s back to work program has assisted over 200 clients re-enter the workforce when they were ready. This includes computer access, resume coaching, and placement. DAP helps clients determine readiness for employment and supports them throughout the process. Because having a job can be powerful medicine.
  • Client Wellness—A range of services, classes and support groups make DAP a community hub. Chair massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and reiki. Because the AIDS crisis taught us that holistic health works. Strength training, art, sculpting and sewing classes. Because curiosity is healthy. Aging with HIV, addiction and recovery advocacy, and many other support groups. Because DAP understands that when a few people get together to support each other, an entire humanitarian movement can be born.

2019 Desert AIDS Walk Sponsors

Desert AIDS Walk Presenting Sponsor: Desert Care Network

Health & Wellness Festival Presenting Sponsor: Walgreens

Major sponsors: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Gilead, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Koffi, NBC Palm Springs, Sysco-Riverside, and The Desert Sun

Other Sponsors: Alpha Media, Bolour Immigration Group, Barkingham Pet Hotel, CV Independent, Forest Lawn, Gay Desert Guide, GED Magazine, NBC Your Health Today, Palm Springs Disposal Services, Palm Tree Clinical Research, Promo Homo TV, Rage Monthly, Revivals Stores, Sempra, Supercuts Palm Springs

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services.  DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.


DAP Client Social Security Disability In …

Social Security Disability informational session – new claims and/or termination from disability

Attorney and Law Professor, Troy A. Tureau, LM, J.D., B.A. will be answering DAP Client questions on Social Security Disability pertaining to new claims, appeals and potential termination.

Location: DHD Room

Desert AIDS Walk October 22 Ruth Hardy P …

The 30th Annual Desert AIDS Walk

PALM SPRINGS, CA (October 13, 2016) – In 1987, former First Lady Betty Ford, actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Ann lead the first steps of the Desert AIDS Walk. On October 22 over 2,000 community members will unite in Ruth Hardy Park to walk in the 30th Desert AIDS Walk in support Desert AIDS Project, presented by Desert Regional Medical Center.

Desert AIDS Project has grown from a small group of volunteers who founded D.A.P. in 1984 to one of the most comprehensive and respected AIDS service providers in the country. In the past 12 months, individuals seeking care at D.A.P has grown by an astounding 65%. 50 new patients walk thru the door every month.

This year’s walk events begin at 8 am on Saturday, October 22 in Ruth Hardy Park. DJ JC DiStefano will energize the park while walkers sign-in and explore the Health & Wellness Festival featuring over 40 vendor booths and a kids activity zone. The main stage will be emceed by 2016 Queen of the Desert, Tommi Rose and 2016 Queen of the Desert Fan Favorite Pinkie Meringue Shimmer.

Prior to stepping off on the walk, which follows a 2.5 mile route through downtown Palm Springs, walkers will enjoy live entertainment from headliner Pepper Mashay and local talent Marina MacDesert Winds Freedom Band will perform along Palm Canyon Drive as walkers pass by.

Congressman Raul Ruiz and Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon lead the group of distinguished community leaders and D.A.P. partners making remarks prior to the walk stepping off at 9:30am. Joining them will be Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman, D.A.P. Board Chair Steve Kaufer Carolyn Caldwell, CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center, presenting sponsor of the 2016 Desert AIDS Walk.


8:00    DJ welcomes walkers with energizing music.
Breakfast courtesy of Koffi

Health & Wellness Festival opens

8:30     David Brinkman, CEO Desert AIDS Project

Steve Kaufer, D.A.P. Board Chair

8:35     Robert Moon, Mayor Palm Springs

8:40     Raul Ruiz, Congressman

Carolynn Caldwell, CEO Desert Regional Medical Center

8:45     Urban Yoga Warm-Up

Marina Mac Performs

9:00     Pepper Mashay Performs

9:30     Walkers Step Off

10:30   Walkers Return to Park | Health & Wellness Festival | Live Performances Continue

Gay Mens Chorus Performs

Marina Mac Performs

Pepper Mashay Performs

2016 Desert AIDS Walk Sponsors

Presented by Desert Regional Medical Center.

Major sponsors: Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Gilead, Wells Fargo, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Eisenhower Medical Center, City of Palm Springs, MDVIP, The Desert Sun, KMIR, Desert Oasis Healthcare.

Other Sponsors include: Revivals, Jus Chillin, Koffi, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Zin American Bistro, United Way of the Desert, VIP Mobile Suites, The Standard Magazine, Gay Desert Guide, and CV Independent

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) serves our community with primary and HIV-specialty services, including medical care, case management, and social services, including food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also provides HIV prevention education and free and confidential HIV testing at dozens of community test sites and events through its Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign. They also offer The DOCK, a sexual health clinic, whose services include STD testing and treatment; PEP & PrEP education and referral to treatment; free and confidential HIV testing; and well woman exams. With new advances in treatment, improved access to care through health reform and new prevention technology, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), D.A.P. is committed to bringing the HIV epidemic to an end.

About Pepper Mashay

Pepper MaShay exploded on the dance scene in the summer of 2000 with her mega smash hit “Dive in the Pool” (the un-official theme song from Showtime’s Queer As Folk & best described as the “It’s Raining Men” of the 21st Century).