amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Award of Courage (Honoring with Pride)

Cleve Jones


Cleve Jones, founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, began his career as an activist in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when he was befriended by pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. Following Milk’s election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Cleve worked as a student intern in Milk’s office while studying political science at San Francisco State University, and went on to work as a legislative consultant to other California politicians. One of the first to recognize the threat of AIDS, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983. 

Cleve conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin Feldman in 1987. Since then, the AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown to become the world’s largest community arts project, memorializing the lives of more than 80,000 Americans killed by AIDS and spawning independent affiliates of the NAMES Project in 50 countries around the world. 

Cleve has served as a member of the international advisory board of the Harvard AIDS Institute, the national board of governors of Project Inform, and the board of directors of the Foundation for AIDS and Immune Research. He has received numerous awards from AIDS and gay rights organizations, religious conferences, state and national health associations, and the legislatures of California, Indiana, and Massachusetts. 

His best-selling memoir, Stitching a Revolution, was published in April 2000. Cleve’s work has been featured on 60 Minutes, Nightline, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, Oprah, National Public Radio, and many other television and radio programs.