Elton John AIDS Foundation Pre-Glasto Garden Party Garners $1M AEG Donation

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ELTON’S GARDEN PARTY: Helping celebrate a $1 million donation are (L-R behind Sir Elton John, David Furnish and their two boys Elijah and Zachary) are Donna DiBenedetto (AEG Presents), Doris Dixon (Marshall Arts), Barrie Marshall (Marshall Arts), Elton’s longtime agent Howard Rose, Debra Rathwell (AEG Presents), Marciano, Luke Lloyd-Davies (Rocket Entertainment), Rachael Paley (Rocket Entertainment), Keith Bradley (Elton John Tour Director), and Ben Martin (Rocket Entertainment). (Photo courtesy AEG Presents)

Jay Marciano and AEG Presents helped Elton John celebrate the end of an unmatched touring career with a party at the singer’s home in Windsor, England during the week prior to his historic “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” UK finale at Glastonbury Festival.

Included in the festivities was the presentation of a $1 million check to the Elton John Foundation on behalf of The Anschutz Corporation owner Philip Anschutz, AEG Presents and its Chairman, Marciano. 

Those attending the celebration in addition to Marciano included AEG Presents’ Donna DiBenedetto, vice president of global touring, and Debra Rathwell, executive vice president of global touring and talent; Marshall Arts owner Doris Dixon and agent Barrie Marshall;  Elton’s longtime agent, Howard Rose; Rocket Entertainment’s Luke Lloyd-Davies, Ben Martin and Rachael Paley; Elton John tour director Keith Bradley and, of course, Elton’s manager and husband David Furnish.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation was established in 1992 and is one of the leading independent AIDS organizations in the world, and the cornerstone of John’s many years of philanthropy. John was inspired to create the Foundation after the 1990 death of Kokomo, Indiana, teenager Ryan White, with whom the superstar had forged a friendship.

Over the years, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and grant awards worldwide in support of AIDS education and prevention, research and programs to help break the cycle of the deadly disease from sub-Saharan African to the American South.

Most recently, Sir Elton announced June 30 the launch of The Rocket Fund, a $125 million, three-year initiative to accelerate the Foundation’s life-saving work to tackle the growing rates of HIV infections in vulnerable communities.

“For years, HIV/AIDS has caused enormous pain across the world, but I pray that soon this epidemic will be a thing of the past,” John said in announcing the Rocket Fund. “More than 30 years after I launched the Elton John AIDS Foundation, my passion for reaching everyone, everywhere with education and compassionate care is still as strong as ever. The Rocket Fund will turbo-charge our mission and reach those most at risk from this terrible disease. Now is the time. This epidemic has gone on too long. We must all act together to see AIDS defeated in our lifetimes.”

There was a lot to celebrate in addition to the major donation. In a span of less than two weeks, John would stage one of Glastonbury’s most historic sets and perform eight more shows, including the tour finale at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm. 

The tour spanned 330 shows, 22 countries, and a global pandemic since the launch of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” Sept. 8, 2018, in front of 8,983 fans at Allentown, Pennsylvania’s PPL Center.