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The mission of the National AIDS Memorial Grove is to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations.
The National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) was conceived in 1989 by a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic, but with no positive way to express their collective grief. As news of the Grove initiative grew, so did support and interest. What they envisioned was a serene place where people would come in groups to hold memorial services or individually to remember among the rhododendrons and redwoods, in a place dedicated to all lives touched by AIDS. The dedicated group selected de Laveaga Dell in world-renowned Golden Gate Park, near the park's tennis courts, as the site for the Grove. Due to park budget cuts and lack of funding, the Dell was in a state of disrepair, overgrown and unusable by the public. A team of prominent architects, landscape architects, and designers volunteered countless hours to create a landscape plan that would be fitting as a timeless living memorial. Site renovation began in September 1991 and is still in progress. The Grove is an award-winning example of civic beautification, combining both public and private sectors in urban-park restoration and promoting AIDS awareness. The Grove's board of directors obtained a 99-year renewable lease with the City of San Francisco to create and maintain the Grove. City officials praise the project as the perfect example of a public-private partnership. The Grove has become a model project for like-minded groups throughout the country.