CEO, Desert AIDS Project
“When you think about the success of Desert AIDS Project, you have to think about our founders,” says CEO David Brinkman. “They were mothers trying to keep their sons alive. They were life partners trying to keep the one they love alive. We were founded purely on unconditional love, and that energy still permeates this organization.”
A fifth-generation Iowan (“you don’t have to look too close to see the little bit of corn growing behind my ears”), Brinkman fell in love with the desert on vacation and moved here 12 years ago to lead DAP. The organization offers medical and dental care, as well as chiropractic, acupuncture, and mental health services. “We bring a holistic model that we learned through the AIDS crisis that helps people not only stay alive but thrive,” he says.
Next up is a major expansion in services for people living with HIV. DAP’s “Vision 2020” (dapvision2020.org) focuses on an aging patient population, adding 10,000 people into DAP’s care, and building affordable housing.
Brinkman praises its donors and 600 volunteers as among the best in the nation. “Every time I talk to my peers, whether they’re in Philadelphia or Chicago, they’re always envious of the quality of the people who live in the Coachella Valley — how generous they are with their time and financial resources. It empowers organizations such as Desert AIDS Project to continue to reach more and more people.”
VIDEO: David Brinkman says the quality of the volunteers and donors distinguish Desert AIDS Project.