“The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has truly inspired me to do what I do today.”
As Managing Director for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Joel Goldman looks back fondly on his early days with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and how he launched a collegiate fundraising program that fosters social activism and brings awareness to the importance of the next generation ensuring the end of pediatric AIDS becomes a reality. Today more than 45,000 students on campuses around the country have been involved since its inception and have raised more than $5.4 million for EGPAF’s global mission.
In 1989, while living in Indiana, Joel read the article on Elizabeth Glaser in People Magazine. He was so moved by her story and two years later when he read Elizabeth’s newly published book, In the Absence of Angels, Joel become determined to find a way to get more involved.
“I remember being so inspired by her story – thinking that most people in her shoes would just curl up and hide, yet she was a fighter who shone a spotlight on an issue that wasn’t being talked about.”
During that time, Joel was the assistant executive director of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, which also happened to be Paul Glaser’s fraternity. Sigma Alpha Mu was looking for a new cause to support and Joel knew he had found just the one. Thanks to Joel, Sigma Alpha Mu became a strong supporter and opened the doorway for Elizabeth’s sorority, Alpha Phi Epsilon, to follow their lead.
In 1993, Joel began volunteering at the Foundation’s annual A Time for Heroes event in Los Angeles, CA. He remembers fondly the excitement of flying out each year from his home in the Midwest to help at the event and participate in the festivities. During those years, Joel was spending much of his time lecturing on college campuses about HIV/AIDS and safe sex. He was repeatedly asked by students how they could get involved and do more to make a difference. After one such lecture, he and the students decided to just take up a collection and see what sort of money they could raise via “putting change in a bucket.” Joel remembers bringing in something close to $40,000, which he then brought to EGPAF with the idea to strategize and mobilize college students in an organized way. In 1997, EGPAF hired Joel as a consultant and in 1998 he became a full time staff member.
When his student fundraising plan launched in 1997, it was called Caring for Kids 101 and targeted college fraternities, sororities, dorm floors and other campus groups to select a fundraiser to raise money in support of EGPAF. Events included car washes, bake sales and of course dance marathons. Joel also formed a team of dedicated celebrity spokespeople, who traveled and spoke at these events on behalf of EGPAF. Over the years this group included Scott Wolf, Brooke Shields, Kimberly Williams, Jeff Probst, Jaime Pressly, Tia and Tamera Mowry, Kim Webster, and cast members from the shows Survivor and The Real World. The first major campus supporter to become involved was Northwestern University, followed shortly thereafter by UCLA, Boston University and Colombia University.
“I remember EGPAF co-founder, Susie Zeegen, coming to UCLA and seeing the large number of students involved and the energy in the room. She took the stage to give her remarks at the event; she had tears in her eyes and expressed how moved she was by all the kids who had come to help support the Foundation. For months after that day, every time I spoke to Susie, she would bring up how moved she was by the magnitude, enthusiasm, energy and commitment of the students who participated.”
Today, Caring for Kids 101 has become UP 4 THE FIGHT, the Foundation’s collegiate fundraising program. College students on campuses around the country generously invest their time, dollars, passion, and sweat by participating in UP 4 THE FIGHT Dance Marathon or Alpha Epsilon Phi events and take a physical stand for children and families living with HIV. These students and staff members help EGPAF spread the word about the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS and impact the lives of millions worldwide.
“Caring for Kids 101 gave me the opportunity to inspire and engage a generation of future philanthropists. Through these campus events, I was helping connect students with an important cause and establish charitable habits at an early age,” said Goldman. “I remain inspired by the work of Elizabeth Glaser, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and by the next generation who are not only raising funds and awareness, but are fighting hard to end pediatric AIDS.”
Foundation Ambassador Cristina Pena, actress Jamie Presley, Joel and Cristina's mother on the Loyola Marymount campus
Joel with actor Scott Wolf at an AEPhi Leadership gathering. The photo between the two of them is one that AEPhi had blown up of Elizabeth, from her college years with the sorority
Joel's "Caring for Kids 101" celebrity spokespeople, EGPAF staff and UCLA students at A Time for Heroes event
Joel and Foundation Ambassador Florence Ngobeni-Allen, in 2002