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National AIDS Memorial Grove 2013 Honorees

LIFETIME OF COMMITMENT AWARD:  Tim Hanlon

Tim Hanlon helped change the direction of corporate philanthropy in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, leading Wells Fargo to become a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs. His powerful voice set a path for others to follow, making support for AIDS funding mainstream in corporate philanthropy. Tim has helped lead Wells Fargo to provide more than $17.8 million to local AIDS-related causes around the country during the last decade, with more than $575,000 donated to The Grove. Wells Fargo and its employees have also given more than 5,000 volunteer hours to support The Grove and helped secure critical funding to ensure that The Grove remains an important part of the national landscape, informing future generations of the American story of AIDS.

“Tim’s vision and leadership have made a significant impact on such an important issue,” said John Stumpf, Chairman, President and CEO of Wells Fargo & Company. “He has been a driving force advocating for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs, helping Wells Fargo and other corporations dedicate critical resources to raise awareness and help individuals, families and communities impacted by the disease across the country.”

NATIONAL LEADERSHIP RECOGNITION AWARD: Phill Wilson

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Phill Wilson is the founder, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. With a long history of advocacy work, Phill is a well-known and respected national leader and HIV/AIDS expert. For five years, Phill was Chair of the Ryan White Planning Council and was instrumentally involved in the crafting of the Ryan White CARE Act. He was also a member of the HRSA Advisory Council, the Board of Directors for AIDS Action, Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County HIV Health Commission and Director of Policy and Planning at AIDS Project Los Angeles. More recently, Phill was an opening-day plenary speaker at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. Phill is actively involved with other local and national community-based and AIDS service organizations, including the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

“Phill is an exceptional leader in HIV/AIDS education and awareness, particularly among at-risk populations and the Black community,” said Tom Jensen, Co-Chair of the National AIDS Memorial Grove’s Board of Directors. “He has been an instrumental advocate in shaping public policy that has helped save lives and prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS.”

LOCAL UNSUNG HERO AWARD: Franco Beneduce

1-PHOTO-AIDS Mem Grove Franko Beneduce Franco Beneduce will be awarded the Local Unsung Hero Award posthumously on World AIDS Day. Throughout his life, Franco was involved in LGBT causes and issues. He was the visionary creator and producer behind the annual Light in the Grove event at The Grove and the Folsom Street Fair’s Magnitude after-hours dance party. He lived by the motto, “Go big or go home.” In the mid 90’s, Franco co-hosted Closet-Free Radio, one of the first commercial gay/lesbian radio talk shows in the country. He also produced Rhode Island’s AIDS Walk. He lived in the Bay Area for two decades, where he raised funds for, and supported, various LGBT nonprofits, including the Folsom Street Fair and The Grove. Franco was a creative genius, whose love of beauty was matched only by the magnificence of his heart. Besides his numerous creative achievements, Franco’s proudest accomplishment was the two boys he was helping to raise, and his extensive community of friends.

“Franco’s impact, presence and legacy will always be felt here at The Grove and for generations to come in the many lives he touched,” said Gina Gatta, former Co-Chair of Grove’s Board of Directors and last year’s recipient of the Local Unsung Hero Award. “Franco was a part of our community for so many years, making a positive difference with his kindness, generosity, love and creativity.”

“The National AIDS Memorial Grove is honored to celebrate the tireless and passionate work of Tim, Phill and Franco and their life-long commitment to the AIDS community and our mission,” said Executive Director John Cunningham. “Their collective leadership has made a tremendous difference for our cause and in the lives of so many people and organizations who have been touched and inspired by their pioneering spirit.”

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