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Impactful Planning

Karla Kjellin and Jeff Elder give back
Karla Kjellin and Jeff Elder

Impactful Planning

Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder wanted to give back. Then they discovered planned giving at DAP Health and created a bona fide legacy.

As seen in Issue 4 of DAP Health magazine 

Words by Greg Archer • Photo by Peter Grant

The way the light catches on the silver lettering of the Karla Kjellin-Elder & Jeff Elder Social Services Wing signage at DAP Health encourages another look. Maybe it’s the modern design — sleek, long, and lean — or the way the name spreads out so boldly along the wall. Regardless, you’re bound to notice and possibly wonder: Who are the Elders?

It’s fun keeping up with the engaging couple. In conversation, it becomes vividly apparent that Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder have long been committed to giving back to their community. This is true as it relates to DAP Health, specifically when the couple began to mindfully plot out their estate plan. They saw all too clearly how a legacy gift assists the nonprofit in continuing to ensure the overall health and well-being of the community. 

Empowering Social Services: The Impact of Legacy Gifts at DAP Health

The Elders first got involved with HIV/AIDS-related services with AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, which now is under the Radiant Health Centers umbrella. They had lived in Orange County at the time and eventually rooted themselves in the organization — Karla was extensively involved with the food pantry, while Jeff was on the board and became president. When they moved to La Quinta in 2018, they realized it was time to take a tour of DAP Health.

“It was unbelievable and overwhelming what DAP Health was doing,” admits Jeff of discovering the organization’s reach. “AIDS Services Foundation hadn’t been able to do all that yet. You saw what could really happen out here in the desert. So, we got very excited about the organization and wanted to get involved.”

The Elders began attending various galas and Partners for Life events, suddenly finding themselves among people who were passionate about helping. The more involved they became with the nonprofit, they donated their time and resources, and learned more about planned giving — specifically, opportunities for “naming rights.” DAP Health’s social services wing was brought up.

A Vision for the Future: Expanding Impact Through Planned Giving

“‘Social services’ sounded like a motherly thing,” Karla shares. “I think DAP Health strives to be a kind of family for people who may have lost theirs because of ailments or whatever. That’s very sad, to think that somebody is basically homeless, even if they have a home, because they have nobody to nurture and care for them. That’s the good thing DAP Health does — nurture the whole person, not just the ailments, not just a condition. That’s why the term ‘social services,’ to me, sounded like a big hug.”

That department at DAP Health connects clients to social services for which they are eligible. This includes ensuring individuals have access to food, housing, transportation, home health care support, and more.

“We want to give, and be part of the community,” Jeff says. “If you’re part of a community, you help make it a healthy community, a really functioning community.”

Leaving a Lasting Legacy: The Elders' Commitment to Community Welfare

They’re both quick to point out that when it came to establishing some kind of legacy gift, they wanted it to benefit DAP Health. To that end, they created their first-ever trust, and divided it into five parts — one each for their four children, and one part for a charity of their choosing. Their intention was clear. Each child would need to donate 10% of whatever they received in the inheritance to a charity of their choice, but to make the donation in the Elders’ name.

“We set up a donor-advised fund, and that fund is how we donate 90% of the money,” notes Jeff. “There are two organizations we give a lot of money to — DAP Health and The Living Desert. And so, when we pass away at some point, our children can give to various charities, and we would expect that a big portion of that will probably go to DAP Health.”

Planning it all in advance brought about a stronger sense of clarity and vision for the Elders. “To me, it’s like having or donating to a utility. It’s just something you do,” Karla says of philanthropy. “So yes, you can take your inheritance and give it to your kids, but it’s also important, I think, to have a portion of your money go to a charity, just like a portion of your income goes to a utility and a portion goes to rent.”

There are several kinds of donations accepted by DAP Health. To be sure, individuals can give money. But assets can also be considered. This can be anything from donor-advised funds, life insurance, and real estate to retirement plan assets and appreciated securities.

“There’s an entry point for everyone when it comes to planned giving,” says DAP Health Interim Chief Development Officer Chris Boone. “You can volunteer at one of our four Revivals store, you can give money, you can participate in our annual Health Equity Walk, go to a gala. There’s something for everyone.”

End-of-life conversations, however, may not always feel comfortable. “Sometimes, having those kinds of conversations can be difficult, because you’re talking about end of life and the decisions you’re trying to make,” Boone says. “But at the end of the day, the conversation is always centered around, ‘What do you want to leave, and what do you want to be remembered for doing in this world?’ Planned giving is all about impact, and helping others in your community.”

Moving forward and into 2024, Boone says he and the DAP Health team are excited about new possibilities that have emerged. In addition to sharp attention on planned giving, the goal is to have the organization’s Vision Forward capital campaign wrapped up in the next year, which, he says, “is a fantastic milestone. We can’t wait to celebrate our success thanks to donors like the Elders.”

Another significant opportunity to expand DAP Health’s impact is the recent acquisition of the Borrego Health system, which saw the nonprofit go from serving 10,000 patients a year at two locations in the Coachella Valley to more than 100,000 patients a year at 25 clinics located throughout 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego. The list of services offered now includes OB-GYN, pediatrics, urgent care, pharmacy, and veterans’ health — all of which will be covered under DAP Health. “We’re really excited about it because it really opens the door to a whole new community of folks to help. And that’s going to be huge. It’s a big thing to chew on,” Boone notes.

The Elders admit they were nicely taken aback when they first saw their names on the wall at DAP Health. Deep down, it felt like a full-circle moment for the couple, who have long been donating their time and resources to charitable organizations, and, in turn, making an impact.

“We tell people, ‘If you have money, give money. If you have time, give time. And if you have both, give both,’” states Jeff. “We’ve been fortunate. Some people hoard their money, so that when they die, their kids have this giant inheritance. We gave our kids a good education and raised them well. And they seem like they’re OK. Our plan really is about getting as much as we can out of life while we’re still alive, but whatever is left, a big piece of that should still go to charity because we really should be helping.”

Learn more about planned giving at PlannedGiving.DAPHealth.org.

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.

Molly Bondhus and Wil Stiles Honor Barba …


Contact: Steven Henke

[email protected]


PALM SPRINGS, CA- September 17, 2019 – Designers and fashion boutique owners Molly Bondhus and Wil Stiles will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the WIL STILES store with an ‘Awesome Anniversary Sale!’ exclusively at Revivals Stores (www.RevivalsStores.com). Bondhus and Stiles are donating to Revivals Stores new men’s and women’s clothing valued at over $500,000. 100% of the proceeds will directly benefit Desert AIDS Project (DAP), honoring the late Barbara Keller’s selfless dedication to the organization. Beginning October 16, 2019, customers can shop for the collection exclusively at all three Revivals Stores locations. A special preview event is planned for media and invited guests the evening of October 15, at the Palm Springs Revivals location.

Bondhus and Stiles were part-time Palm Springs residents for five years beginning in 2004 and in 2009 made the desert their official home. WIL STILES first opened its doors the morning of the 2009 Desert AIDS Walk. As Carol Channing sang with a band across the street, crowds of energetic and cheerful walkers made their way down Palm Canyon and past the new store. Simultaneously smiling and teary-eyed as they watched from the doorway of their shop, Bondhus and Stiles knew that they had made the right decision to relocate to Palm Springs. During the past ten years, the store has enjoyed tremendous community support and become a favorite of locals and tourists, alike.

Dane Koch, Director of Retail for Revivals Stores explains the impact of the donation. Molly and Wil have supported us for many years, checking in with us regularly and reacting to our merchandise needs. We have sold thousands of dollars of their product and made a lot of shoppers happy as they have been able to buy upscale clothing at Revivals prices.  We believe this most recent gift will inspire others in the community to donate to Revivals and support the life-changing work at Desert AIDS Project.”

Desert AIDS Project lost one of its most important advocates and strong voices when Barbara Keller passed this year. Bondhus and Stiles hope to honor the legacy of Keller’s philanthropy with this special anniversary sales event. “When Wil and I were initially approached about being featured for our donations to Revivals, we hesitated.  The goal of our philanthropy is not recognition or seeing our names projected on a wall. We give and support because we believe in our community and giving back,” commented Bondhus, who went on to say, “It is up to all of us, not just the wealthiest, to do as much as we can to contribute. While direct donations get attention, the countless hard-working volunteers in the desert do the bulk of the heavy lifting to support the work of our great charitable organization.”

Bondhus and Stiles shared the impact Barbara Keller made in their lives and how she inspires them to continue giving back to the community. “For those of us who knew Barbara, her exceptional combination of intelligence, strength, and fearlessness got your attention from the moment you met her.  Combine those qualities with her innate glamour and charisma and you had the unstoppable Barbara Keller. Barbara’s commitment to social justice issues, and her ability to reach across the political spectrum to gather support for a worthy cause, was unmatched in the desert. All of us need to take Barbara’s passing as a personal call to step up and take action to improve the lives of others in our community.”

Bondhus and Stiles have been active in volunteering and fundraising for LGBTQ and AIDS-related charities in both Minneapolis and Palm Springs for over 23 years. Past efforts included several years of coordinating fashion shows at major fundraising events for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS(DIFFA) in Minneapolis. Since the WIL STILES Store opened ten years ago, all excess inventory has been donated to Revivals Stores in support of Desert AIDS Project, as well as cruiser bicycles and gift certificates to various Palm Springs charitable auctions. Bondhus previously served on the board of AIDS Assistance Program(AAP). The couple provides direct financial support to: Sanctuary Palm Springs and NCLR, Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, RAICES and the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund.

About Revivals Stores and Desert AIDS Project

(Revivals Stores) Greater Palm Springs residents know and love Revivals Stores and have voted it as Best Resale \ Thrift \ Furniture \ Consignment\ or Vintage Clothing Store in four local reader contests this year.   Revivals Stores won Best Furniture Store and Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Sun’s 2019 Ultimate Pride Contest, Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Magazine’s 2019 Best of the Valley, Best Thrift Store in CV Independents 2019 Best of Coachella Valley Contest, Best Thrift Store in GED Magazines 2019 Out Awards Contest, and Best Consignment / Best Thrift Store and Best Vintage Clothing Store in Palm Springs Life’s 2018 Best of the Best Contest

Revivals Stores are reinventing today’s thrift store experience, offering selections of new furniture and accessories under their owned brand, Mode at Revivals while featuring national brands such as Scott Living and Ashley Furniture at affordable price-points. Shoppers at Revivals can choose from brand new furniture and accessories while mixing their new style with thrift store finds from the decade of their choice.

Revivals has three locations: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert.  The stores are staffed by 180 volunteers who support the mission of Desert AIDS Project (DAP), enabling Revivals to make an annual $1 million contribution to DAP. DAP has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service providers in the United States. 

Revivals employees and dedicated volunteers create a unique retail experience for the 29,000 people who shop the stores each month looking for a unique thrift store find while shopping brand new furniture and accessories. “There’s an excitement in our stores that you don’t feel at traditional retailers.  Part of that is the thrill of the hunt, but there’s something else happening and I think that is connection to community.  Our volunteers have created a unique community of neighbors helping neighbors inside Revivals three store locations.  They know we are selling product with a purpose,” says Director of Community Development, Steven Henke.

Visit revivalsstores.com and desertaidsproject.org to learn more.