AAP – Food Samaritans (AAP) has announced its honorees for the 27th annual Evening Under the Stars gala, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 5:30 PM at the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs.
Those being honored include:
Nelda Linsk — Jeannette Rockefeller Humanitarian Award
Linsk has been a steadfast supporter of many organizations in the Coachella Valley. She has been a long-time friend of AAP and was a very close friend of Jeannette Rockefeller. For many years, Nelda has encouraged others to be philanthropic by giving not only to AAP, but to many more. It is her strong belief that our quality of life is affected by what we give back to our communities.
“Nelda is iconic, respected, and indeed deserves many accolades,” organizers of the gala wrote.
Her past and present desert affiliations and awards are many and include: Past Board Member of Desert Healthcare Foundation; Act for MS; and Eisenhower Medical Center & Desert Regional Medical Center’s Auxiliaries. She was also selected as one of the top 10 “Most Successful Realtors in the Coachella Valley” by Palm Springs Life Magazine in 1997. She was awarded the prestigious Athena Award – Entrepreneurial Business Woman of the Year in 2016, and the Broken Glass Humanitarian Award by Palm Springs Women in Film in 2017. She was celebrated with her own star on the Palm Springs Walk of the Stars in 2018.
Geoff Kors and James Williamson — Gloria Greene Inspiration Award
Kors currently serves as a member of the Palm Springs City Council. In that capacity he works to promote tourism and locally owned businesses and was appointed to serve as the city’s liaison to the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, Palm Springs Hospitality Association, P.S. Resorts, and the
Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he is Chair.
A graduate of Stanford Law School, Kors has had a distinguished career working in non-profits and government, focusing on policy and law. He served for nine years as Executive Director of Equality California where he led the effort to transform California from a state with almost no legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community to the state with the broadest protections in the nation. Under his leadership, Equality California also advocated for funding for HIV/AIDS organizations and patients. He also served as Government Policy Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where he spearheaded work on local, state and federal legislation and government policy and focused on efforts to ban conversion therapy and expand non-discrimination protections. He has been an active member of the Palm Springs community and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Palm Springs Boys and Girls Club. He previously served on the national board of directors of Freedom to Marry and on the board and as PAC Chair for the SF League of Conservation Voters.
A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Williamson emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1989, becoming a US citizen in 2008. Prior to “retiring” to Palm Springs, he had a successful 25-year career in financial and operations management, working in executive management positions for companies in the retail and private equity sectors and for organizations in the nonprofit sector.
Williamson has served as a board member and held board leadership positions in numerous nonprofit organizations over the past 35 years. He has also volunteered and served as a consultant on ballot measures campaigns and for candidates for elected office who share his belief in diversity, equality and justice.
After moving to California in 1991, James became active in the LGBTQ community, volunteering for numerous organizations and was appointed to the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to San Francisco Human Rights Commission. In Palm Springs, he has served on the City’s Historic Site Preservation
Board and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Palm Springs Unified School District in 2014, serving as President in 2018. He joined the board of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in 2017 and was elected Chair in July 2021. James also serves on the board of the LGBT Center of the Desert and Equality California.
G. Aubrey Serfling — Community Leadership Award
AAP CEO/Executive Director Mark Anton said that honoring Aubrey is the easiest decision he’s had to make all year.
“From the moment he took the helm at Eisenhower, Aubrey gave that organization his warm heart, and it showed in every interaction I had with him,” said Anton. “We are so very pleased to have the opportunity to thank him for all of his hard work in our community.”
Serfling served as President/Chief Executive Officer of Eisenhower Health from November 2001 until his retirement in March of 2021. Prior to being appointed President and CEO, he was Executive Vice President (COO and CFO), having joined Eisenhower in September 2000. Prior to joining Eisenhower, he served as Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officers of Columbia-Cornell Care in New York. He also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Crozer Keystone Health System in Media, Pennsylvania. He also was President and CEO of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco from 1991 through 1996.
Prior to 1991 he held the position of Executive Vice President and also Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for California Pacific Medical Center. He holds a Masters in Public Health/Hospital Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Masters in Business Administration and Finance from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to graduate school, he received a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. His hobbies include tennis, bicycling and travel. He has a wife, Loretta (Lori) and three children, Ethan, Mackenzie, and Delaney.
Patricia L. Grundhofer — Community Impact Award
Although she could hardly be described as an ‘unsung hero,’ Anton said Grundhofer is receiving accolades she so thoroughly deserves for the way she has been stepping up to help over and over in our community.
This past November, Grundhofer was the presenting sponsor of National Philanthropy Day in the Desert, and no one better exemplifies that event’s theme: “Change the World with a Giving Heart.” She is currently the Executive Director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation, and was formerly the President and Founder of MeierGroup LLC, a boutique firm that specializes in consulting and recruitment for banks, hedgefunds, and money managers.
Grundhofer graduated from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with a BBA in Accounting and Psychology. She sits on several non-profit boards, including The Living Desert in Palm Desert, the University of Minnesota Foundation in Minnesota, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. She serves and is committed to several committees on the Carlson School of Management board. Her hobbies include cooking, fly fishing, tennis, and travel.
More information: Evening Under the Stars is the largest annual fundraiser for AAP – Food Samaritans, a non-profit organization that provides nutritional support for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses. The gala will begin with an extended sunset cocktail hour on the grounds of the O’Donnell Golf Club against a backdrop of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains. A short awards program will recognize a few inspirational honorees, followed by a delicious dinner, dancing, and the performance by First Ladies of Disco. Tickets for the benefit, at $395 and $500 per person, are available for purchase now. Individual VIP seats, program advertising, and sponsorships are also available. For more information, call 760-325- 8481 or visit aapfoodsamaritans.org.