For more than two decades, “the Steve Chase” has been the annual gathering of the Coachella Valley’s most committed philanthropists who come together to honor those helping to create a healthier world for us all.

The gala benefits Desert AIDS Project, in honor of the internationally-famous interior designer Steve Chase, who was a devoted donor/volunteer/board member of D.A.P. from its earliest days, before he died of AIDS-related complications in 1994.

Thankfully, HIV infection can now be dealt with as a chronic illness. For many patients and clients of D.A.P. today, their HIV may not advance to AIDS because they have dedicated supporters who are helping them live longer, stronger lives and who won’t rest until this scourge has been wiped from the face of the earth.

At the 2016 Steve Chase gala, honorees will include Jim Burba and Bob Hayes, Carolyn Caldwell, and Jim Casey. As of press time, a fourth honoree was being finalized…along with an entertainment headliner that is sure to have music lovers of many genres visiting the D.A.P. website for tickets.

Jim Burba and Bob Hayes sponsored the Community Service Award at the 2013 Steve Chase gala – to the tune of $25,000 – where their friend Lorna Luft sang “Cockeyed Optimist.” Three years later, this pair of optimists – with straightforward vision about helping make the world a better place – will receive the 2016 Partners for Life Award, in recognition of their major donor support of D.A.P.’s client services over the years. Just a year earlier, these life-and-business-partners pledged $10,000 at the 2012 gala, in response to Annette Bloch announcing her $1 million gift to establish the Annette Bloch Cancer Care Center at D.A.P.

Carolyn Caldwell, president and CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC) will receive the 100 Women Award for 2016, in recognition of the impact she’s made on Desert AIDS Project since joining its board in late 2012. Only a year later, she had secured a $1.5 million gift from DRMC’s parent, Tenet Healthcare, as lead sponsor of Get Tested Coachella Valley, the first region-wide HIV testing effort in the U.S. created by D.A.P., which leads 77 community partners. Caldwell also serves as one of the “champions” for Get Tested, along with Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD.

Having served with him as immediate-past co-chairs of the Steve Chase gala for seven years, from 2009-2015, D.A.P. board chair Barbara Keller remarked, “I am so delighted that Jim Casey has been named as the Arts and Activism Award honoree for 2016 because he has been a remarkable example of how you can combine business savvy, the performing arts, and philanthropy to really make a difference in the world. My years of working closely with him have made him a dear friend who I know can always be counted on.”

If you’d like to join this evening of recognition and first-class entertainment at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, February 6, get your tickets at or call (760) 992.0440.

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