Elton John Concert in Philadelphia Raises Almost No Funds for Local AIDS Groups
A July 4 concert by singer Elton John in Philadelphia did not raise nearly as much money as organizers had hoped and will provide little, if any, funds for local AIDS organizations, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Publisher Mark Segal, who was the lead organizer of the concert, had hoped the event would raise at least $2 million, allowing organizers to give $1 million to the U.K.-based Elton John AIDS Foundation and $1 million to the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which Segal recently established to support HIV/AIDS organizations in the Philadelphia region. However, although a $500,000 donation from Sunoco Welcome America! enabled the organizers to provide a $1 million grant to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the funds raised by the event might not be enough to provide any grants to local AIDS groups. According to Segal, the not-for-profit group Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods gave the Hirschfeld Fund a $667,000 advance to cover expenses before the concert generated donations, with the expectation that the fund would repay the organization with money raised from the event. However, CABN now is considering whether to turn the loan into a grant, which would enable the Hirschfeld Fund to make donations to local AIDS groups. Segal said the concert's fundraising goals fell short in large part because one of the Live 8 concerts, which also raised money to fund the HIV/AIDS fight, was held in Philadelphia on July 2 (Warner, Philadelphia Daily News, 8/5). The news that the city was going to be one of the nine host cities for Live 8 broke just about a month before the event and almost four months after the Elton John concert was announced. "[Live 8] just took the publicity edge away. We couldn't get the people after that," Segal said, adding, "Everything dried up" (Gelbart, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.