Kenneth Cole joined amfAR's board of directors in July 1987. He was elected Vice Chairman in April 2002, and Chairman of the board in January 2005. He chairs the Executive Committee and serves ex-officio on all board committees. Designs and donates most of amfAR's annual creative advertising, including the outdoor campaign, which first appeared in 1996. Kenneth has initiated public awareness efforts annually since 1985 when he spearheaded the campaign: "For the Future of Our Children" photographed by Annie Leibovitz. In 2005 he created and launched the "We All Have AIDS" public service campaign. The print & outdoor campaign featured key entertainment, political, social and scientific leaders in an effort to foster needed solidarity and bring light to the devastating stigma of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Cole is Chairman of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. a business that began over 25 years ago out of the back of a 40 foot trailer. Kenneth Cole Productions is one of the most widely revered and consistently focused fashion houses, with retail sales in excess of one and a half billion dollars. Mr. Cole goes far beyond lending his name to a line of clothing and accessories; he is the ultimate driving force and creative director in all areas from design to marketing.
In 2008, Mr. Cole launched AWEARNESS, The Kenneth Cole Foundation to promote, encourage, and inspire meaningful social change and support like-minded individuals and organizations to make a difference.
In addition to his commitment to amfAR and the fight against AIDS, Mr. Cole sits on the board of the Sundance Institute, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and HELP USA the nation's largest provider of homes, jobs and services for the homeless. Mr. Cole has received numerous awards for his innovative, socially conscious advertising and overall social outreach including amfAR's Award of Courage.
Introduction and History
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world?s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.
When the condition that would come to be known as AIDS was first observed among a few gay men in New York City, it caused immediate concern among a group of physicians and scientists that included Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., then a researcher at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. An informal study group was formed to explore the underlying cause of the diverse, severe, and apparently unrelated symptoms these early patients exhibited. This cause was quickly identified as a profound acquired immune deficiency, probably of infectious origin.
As cases of AIDS were soon reported among heterosexual hemophiliacs, injection drug users, and blood transfusion recipients of both genders and all ages, Dr. Krim and her colleagues perceived the threat of a general epidemic. They demanded an early and vigorous research effort, as well as a concerted public information campaign. Unfortunately, the initial emergence of the new disease among gay men and the pervasive homophobia within American society attached an enormous stigma to HIV/AIDS. The result was a dearth of voices that would speak out on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS or in support of federal funds for AIDS research and prevention.
Adriana Lima and Kenneth Cole
Kenneth Cole and Adriana Lima help raise more than $60,000 for the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti. On December 10, designer and social activist Kenneth Cole co-hosted a fundraising event for the St. Luke Foundation For Haiti, with Adriana Lima raising more than $60,000. | Photo: Awearness.com | Link | Adriana Lima, Kenneth Cole, Haiti, Model, Designer, St. Luke Foundation,
In April 1983, the AIDS Medical Foundation (AMF) was founded in New York to help fill this gap and raise private funds to support scientific and medical research on AIDS. Its first research grants were awarded in 1984, and AMF also became active in disseminating accurate information to legislators and to an uninformed, sometimes frightened, and often bigoted public.
In September 1985, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) was formed through the unification of AMF with the like-minded National AIDS Research Foundation, which had been incorporated in California in August 1985. To reflect the increasingly international scope of its programs, in 2005 amfAR became simply The Foundation for AIDS Research.