Mike Smith is the executive director of the AIDS Emergency Fund, a San Francisco-based organization that helps fund living expenses for people who have HIV or AIDS. On Sept. 14, Macy’s annual Glamorama fashion show — formerly Macy’s Passport — will benefit the organization.
What got you interested in helping out people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS?
I lost a dear friend in 1984 to HIV and then another friend shortly after. That really made me rethink the direction I wanted to go in. I thought working with AIDS patients was something I would do for three or four years, but eventually it became a calling.
Why did you become involved with the AIDS Emergency Fund?
What drew me to the AIDS Emergency Fund is the immediacy of what we do. We have an immediate impact on people’s lives by helping them keep a roof over their heads. I’m really proud of the community for continuing to invest in this cause. Thirty years is a long time to keep up the momentum.
What can people expect at Glamorama?
Every year, this event has an education component for younger people who don’t know a lot about AIDS. There’s a fashion show they can enjoy and then we inform them about the issue. Every year, this event is so magical and attracts all walks of life from around San Francisco.