Food Samaritans (AAP) proudly announces the honorees for their 27th annual Evening Under the Stars gala, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, 2022, beginning at 5:30 PM at the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs.
Nelda Linsk will receive the Jeannette Rockefeller Humanitarian Award.
Aside from being a glamorous and beautiful person both inside and out, Nelda has been a steadfast supporter of many organizations in the Coachella Valley. She has been a long-time friend of AAP – Food Samaritans and was a very close friend of Jeannette Rockefeller. For many years Nelda has encouraged others to be philanthropic by giving not only to our organization, 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.
Nelda, who grew up in a small town in Texas, began her career as a fashion show coordinator for a department store in Corpus Christi. Nelda’s career eventually took her to New York City, where she met and married Joseph Linsk, owner of a fashion house in Philadelphia. Early on, they lived in New York and had a place in the country. With the winters in New York being famously brutal, Joe asked his bride if she’d like to go out to Palm Springs, so he could play golf and maybe she could learn tennis. That was more than 50 years ago!
Linsk has been a real estate professional for more than 40 years with a specialty in estate luxury properties, has been one of Palm Springs’ most visible broker associates, and was co-owner of Coldwell Banker Eadie Adams Realty. Today, Nelda continues her real estate career with Keller Williams Luxury Homes in Palm Springs. Nelda has attracted many upscale clients in part because of her unselfish involvement in community philanthropy.
Nelda’s 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. Nelda was selected as one of the top ten “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 will receive the Gloria Greene Inspiration Award.
When asked about Geoff and James, Anton said “Leading by example, taking action, and motivating others are what Geoff and James do on a daily basis. They are judicious with their words, actions, and behaviors. They care deeply about their leadership and communication process and style, and the influence they have. They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care. Always willing to listen and analyze, ponder, and give considerate thought to issues or concerns, these fine gentlemen are shining examples of people who strive to make a difference and live by their convictions.”
Geoff Kors currently serves as a member of the Palm Springs City Council and 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, Geoff has had a distinguished career working in non-profits and government, focusing on policy and law. Geoff 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. Geoff 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. Geoff 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, James Williamson emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1989, becoming a US citizen in 2008. Prior to “retiring” to Palm Springs, James 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. James 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 will receive the inaugural Community Leadership Award
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. We are so very pleased to have the opportunity to thank him for all of his hard work in our community.”
G. Aubrey 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 will receive the inaugural Community Impact Award
Although she could hardly be described as an ‘unsung hero,’ Anton says that Patti is receiving accolades she so thoroughly deserves for the way she has been stepping up to help over and over in our community. AAP is joining the chorus of organizations singing her praises with this honor. This past November, Patti 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.”
Patti is currently the Executive Director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation. She was formerly the President and Founder of MeierGroup LLC. MeierGroup LLC was a boutique firm that specializes in consulting and recruitment for banks, hedgefunds, and money managers. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with a BBA in Accounting and Psychology.
Patti sits on several non-profit boards. They include The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, 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.
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, widely regarded as one of the most festive cocktail receptions of the season. 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.
“Each year we bring a fascinating entertainer to our stage, and this year we are elated to present the First Ladies of Disco” said Mark Anton, CEO/Executive Director of AAP – Food Samaritans. “This event is not only a great fundraiser, it’s also a great show, and it’s sure to be an extraordinary night. We hope everyone will get into the spirit of the music and dress in attire reflecting the disco era.”
The gala is presented by Eisenhower Health. Major event sponsors include Steve Tobin and the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Harold Matzner and Spencer’s Restaurant, The Auen Foundation, Contour Dermatology, and Scott Histed Architectural Properties. Major media sponsors include presenting media sponsor The Desert Sun, Locale Magazine, Palm Springs Life, The Standard Magazine, and NBC Palm Springs. The event will be produced by Frank Goldstin’s Momentous, producers of events and experiences.