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West Hollywood’s AIDS Monument receives $4.5 million in donations

WEST HOLLYWOOD — West Hollywood’s AIDS monument has received more than $4.5 million in public and private donations, surpassing the project price tag.

Stories: The AIDS Monument

Stories: The AIDS Monument, which will be built at West Hollywood Park, will be a “place for the community to gather, reflect and remember the devastating impact AIDS had on our communities and continue to inspire AIDS awareness and activism in future generations,” according to a project description.

“We are truly honored by the generosity shown by our leadership donors, and the significant help these donations provide in moving the dream of this beautiful Monument closer to reality,” Tony Valenzuela, executive director of the Foundation for the AIDS Monument, said in a statement.

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Valenzuela added that Stories: The AIDS Monument  will be built “as a lasting point of love and memory — and a significant place for future learning and education about the past and the struggle to end AIDS forever.”

West Hollywood AIDS Monument

West Hollywood’s AIDS monument has raised more than $4.5 million in public and private funds, surpassing the price tag of the project. Stories: The AIDS Monument will be built in West Hollywood Park. Photo: Foundation for the AIDS Monument.

Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for the AIDS Monument is expected to begin by the summer of 2021. The project is scheduled to be dedicated in late 2021, Valenzuela said.

West Hollywood will assume stewardship of the AIDS Monument when it is completed, according to the statement.

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In the summer of 2018, residents were encouraged to share their personal stories about sorrow, hope, and courage related to HIV/AIDS and have those memories incorporated into the AIDS Monument.

AIDS deaths

About 650,000 people in the United States have died from AIDS and complications of the disease. That figure is more than the total U.S. deaths in World Wars I and II combined.

AIDS Monument donations

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Foundation made the largest private donation with  $500,000.

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The City of West Hollywood also has donated $500,000.

The County of Los Angeles and the State gave a combined $450,000, thanks to Sen. Ben Allen and Board Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

More than 500 people have donated to the Foundation for the AIDS Monument, and over $4.5 million has been raised by the volunteer board of directors since 2014.

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Other contributions:

  • $50,000 each from the David Geffen Foundation, Herb Ritts Foundation and Jean A. Hobart and her wife, Mary Wilberding
  • Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
  • Elton John AIDS Foundation
  • Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
  • Bobby Heller and Charly Shahin
  • Mike Rose and Ruben Rodriguez

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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