Winter 2020
Still United in the Fight By Julie McCallum

From the Editor

Where were you in 1992? If you were in the gift industry, chances are you knew someone who was affected by AIDS. Some in the trade couldn’t sit by and watch the devastating toll it was taking. “Many friends, colleagues and associates were no longer there — it was apparent they were dying of AIDS,” said Peter Schauben. So he gathered 60 members of the industry and got them together to find a way to make a difference. Gift for Life was created and has since united the industry to fight AIDS.

Gift for Life Board

Fast forward 28 years. AIDS is not over, but it’s not top-of-mind for millenials either. Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, and about 15% of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we have the tools available to end the HIV epidemic, giving us a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Landmark research has led to many successful treatment regimens, prevention strategies, and improved care.

Progress has been made. Gift for Life has raised more than $5 million for AIDS research and education, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. There is finally hope but it comes with a hefty price tag. Until care is affordable for those who live with the disease, and until there is a cure, there is still work to be done.

Consider participating in the GFL industry events, award galas, cause marketing, and auctions throughout the year. Together we can make a difference. Join us in Atlanta for the Party for Life on January 15 at the Fernbank Museum. We are excited to welcome celebrity designer and Honorary Chairman Thom Filicia to host the event and we will be recognizing gift visionary Anne McGilvray. See you there!

Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is editor-in-chief of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor of Museums & More and has more than 25 years experience in publishing.

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