Part of a Structured Settlement
Many moons ago, Cleve Jones spearheaded the creation of the Names Project Memorial AIDS Quilt, had a falling out with the foundation that curated it, sued them, won his lawsuit, and told the Bay Area Reporter in 2005 of his many promises related to AIDS and San Francisco. Let's go over the BAR article and unpack the promises from Cleve:
As part of a structured settlement to a wrongful termination lawsuit Jones filed in January 2004, the Names Project Foundation has agreed to send 35 of the 12 foot by 12 foot panels that make up the quilt to San Francisco, where they will be cared for by a new nonprofit Jones plans to establish and be put on display for the public and used to promote HIV prevention in the city's schools ...
I don't know if the panels were ever sent to him, but Cleve didn't get that new foundation set up, the panels were never displayed in the city and the SF schools already have a damn good HIV prevention program. There was no clamor that I was aware of in 2005, trying to get these panels back to SF and do all that Cleve wanted to do with them.
The 2005 structured settlement unraveled in 2007, according to a story at The Body site:
Angela Alioto, Jones' attorney, said that although Jones did not form an independent not-for-profit by the name stipulated in the structured settlement, the program at Tides under the required name meets the structured settlement criteria. However, a Names Foundation attorney Charles Thompson said, "I don't really know what Tides does, but when I look in federal and state records for a 501(c)(3) called what Cleve supposedly called it, it's not there."
Last I heard, Cleve still hasn't formed that foundation and I'm not aware of doing a damn thing with the panels that were returned to him. Back to the BAR 2005 article:
"There is no money in the settlement for me," said Jones, who hopes to move to the city by his 51st birthday on October 11, National Coming Out Day.
He's quite taken with tying his birthday to special and significant gay events, isn't he?
Anyway, that move didn't happen. The fawning AP wire story on Cleve back in June informed us of his living situation, at his bungalow in Palm Springs, which is quite far from the Castro, the neighborhood that was supposedly in need of Cleve return to the city with his schmata.
What was he going to name this project?:
He would like to call it the Names Quilt Center, but the foundation has asked that it be called the San Francisco Bay Area Friends of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
When Cleve was contemplating a comeback in the Castro, the word around the HIV prevention planning council was that existing organizations were fearful of him competing for the same money they were seeking from donors.
Running a center ain't cheap in SF, so it's no wonder the enthusiasm for this in AIDS Inc was zilch. But Cleve had a plan to fund his center:
As he turns to the community to help with fundraising and displaying the quilt, Jones stressed, "I want to make it clear to the community that everything about this organization will be transparent and accountable."
Having the community's support will be key, because as part of the structured settlement, the foundation has placed restrictions on Jones's ability to raise money for the local project. He cannot solicit funds from individual major donors to the Names Project and he must get the project's permission to ask for more than $5,000 from governmental or corporate entities.
"That means I am going to be really relying on those folks who can give $1,500 or $2,500 on a regular basis," said Jones. "But I have no intention of putting together some big expensive operation up there."
The community support never materialized, and Cleve didn't seem to want to bother with small donations and build grassroots endorsement. No, he was interested in A-gays able to make four-figure donations, and regularly too.
Let's recap. Cleve the germ of a basically good idea - use the quilt in SF related to HIV prevention. But from his home in Palm Springs, he was unable to collar any support from AIDS Inc, the SF DPH, the local school district, and just regular gays and people with AIDS, nor did he set up the foundation he promised.
At the end of the 2005 BAR story, Cleve shared his plans for making it all happen:
"We just need a small storefront where we can have the quilt housed and do quilting bees and have a place to meet. I don't think we will need more than three or four staff people. Maybe an angel could appear and donate the space, that would take a big chunk out of the cost."
Who in SF said we needed the sewing bees and new place to meet? No one, but one prima donna from the desert knew otherwise. And to make his dream come true, getting the space, an angel would just down from the heavens, wave a wand and reality would be better for Cleve. It didn't happen.
Guess it was too much trouble to do actual organizing and collaborating with prevention groups, SF govt, donors and regular people.
If ever Cleve comes around again with plans for anything more complicated than raising a few bucks to rent a store in Castro, be sure to ask for his written plan on delivering his promises.