For the 29th annual World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), legendary artist and noted philanthropist Sir Elton John is continuing his commitment to raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippit and 25 famous friends.
Each day during the next month, a custom-made digital heart — similar to an emoji — is set to release to subscribers of Kwippit’s Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) channel to share on social media and text messages. One hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit’s grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to all people living with HIV.
John, who designed six of the 31 hearts for the digital campaign (exclusive sketch below) tells Billboard: “I am so grateful to all of the EJAF friends participating in this Kwippit project for sharing their creativity with us, supporting our work, remaining steadfast to the cause, and believing in our ideals.”
“Ending AIDS ultimately comes down to this: We must open our hearts to love one another and help every person in need, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, or what they do,” said EJAF executive director Scott P. Campbell. “That’s what this campaign is all about — opening our hearts and raising funds to end AIDS once and for all — for everyone.”
In the Spring, the Foundation is capitalizing on its long-standing relationship with Hollywood by hosting an auction during its 26th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party (Mar. 4, 2018). During the sale, all 31 custom heart designs — 6”x 6” heart-shaped tiles — are framed and autographed by each celebrity.
Musicians lending their support include Boy George, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, Ozzy Osbourne, Ansel Elgort, Beth Ditto, Adam Lambert along with Broadway stars Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells. Other celebrity supporters include Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Cohen, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, Sharon Stone, Jonathan Groff, Colton Haynes, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Jean King, Heidi Klum, Padma Lakshmi, Sandra Lee, Andy Roddick, Jake Shears, and Russell Tovey.
“We’re incredibly honored to work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation on this campaign,” adds Kwippit’s chief brand officer, Krista Treide. “We’re excited to connect the digital/social media generation with EJAF’s important efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime.”