For the (RED) stakeholders in Ghana, Rwanda and Swaziland who receive lifesaving antiretroviral treatment when you make (PRODUCT) RED purchases, Valentine's Day brought a special gift.
Inspired by the (RED) consumers and partners who've already helped generate $60 million for the Global Fund, Damien Hirst persuaded more than 60 of his friends to create or give pieces of their artwork to the (RED) Art Auction, which raised $42.58 million last night. To date (RED) contributions to the the Global Fund now top $100 million.
Bono opened the auction with an a capella rendition of "All You Need Is Love" and later explained to the crowd that these aren't charity pieces given from an artist's back closet - they were specially created to excite and inspire you.
"We only want you to buy what you love because love is what (RED) is about," he said. The span of talent was enthralling - from Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons, Banksy to Cecily Brown, Takashi Murakami to Andreas Gursky, and of course, Damien Hirst, who contributed seven works, one of which is titled "All You Need Is Love."
What will this $100 million mean for (RED) stakeholders? 100% of it will support Global Fund-financed programs, to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. I had the chance to see firsthand the impact of (RED) money when I visited Swaziland with Christy Turlington, to help link the stories between (RED) shoppers and (RED) stakeholders, which Christy shares here:
In Swaziland, Global Fund-financed programs have already provided antiretroviral therapy to more 22,400 people living with HIV/AIDS. When we see how (RED) money improves the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa, we also see the importance of keeping (RED) sustainable - whether it's through our product partners who've contributed $60 million due to your purchases, or through inspired moments like the (RED) Auction tonight.
Together we've contributed more than $100 million so far for the Global Fund.
It was a Happy Valentine's Day, indeed - and a great reminder that we need to keep (RED) growing and connecting with our (RED) stakeholders in Africa.