Washington, DC – Today, AIDS United announced the first round of awards totaling over $3 million through the Fund for Resilience, Equity, and Engagement (FREE) to 35 organizations serving Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving (GBQ/SGL) men and people who are transgender throughout the United States. This is the first round of funding from FREE, a three-year, $11 million investment generously supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) – one of the biggest of its kind. The funding comes as we recognize the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that gave rise to the LGBTQ rights movement.
“While Black GBQ/SGL men and people of trans experience bear an undue burden of the domestic epidemic, they are critical forces for changing the impact of HIV in the United States,” noted Jesse Milan, Jr., J.D., president and CEO of AIDS United. “Through FREE, we are giving concrete, much-needed support to communities too often under-resourced for building solutions that reflect their voices, needs, and hopes. This first round of grants is just the beginning of what the FREE initiative can help communities accomplish over the next three years.”
FREE advances community-focused approaches to HIV prevention and care that incorporate intersecting issues including social and economic inequities and other social determinants of health into their service models. The initiative also aims to increase the capacity of organizations that serve these communities and ensure their readiness for growth and long-term sustainability.
Meaningful involvement of people living with HIV (MIPA) and from communities affected by HIV is central to AIDS United’s strategic grantmaking processes. Grantee selection and funding decisions were informed by panels composed of people who are demographically, experientially, and professionally representative of the communities served by FREE.
“People with lived experience must inform the HIV response at all levels,” said EJAF CEO Anne Aslett. “Through our partnership with AIDS United, we are proud to support this responsive grantmaking effort and look forward to what this first round of grantees will accomplish as they work to end the HIV epidemic in transgender and Black queer communities across the United States.”
Grantees receiving inaugural funding include, among others:
- Black Trans Media in Brooklyn, NY to support the Community Media Makers Fellowship to train trans youth to create media content in response to community needs.
- T.A.K.E. Resource Center in Birmingham, AL to expand the offerings of T-Girls Boutique, a free store for members of the trans community.
- Destination Tomorrow in the Bronx, NY to support social services, HIV prevention and testing, and PrEP education and referrals for members of the Ballroom/House community.
- House of GG in Little Rock, AR to facilitate leadership development and healing retreats for trans/GNC people of color.
- The Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, PA to offer psychotherapy and social support groups to young gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving (GBQ/SGL) men.
- AIDS Services Coalition is expanding HIV prevention and care services in rural West Mississippi while also providing incubation support for a new organization addressing the needs of Black same-gender-loving men in the rural area surrounding Greenville, MS.
Learn more about the FREE Fund here: https://aidsunited.org/about-free-fund/.
About AIDS United:
AIDS United’s mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building, and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. www.aidsunited.org
About the Elton John AIDS Foundation
Since 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised more than £300 million ($450 million) to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS. As a leading worldwide organisation supporting those affected by HIV, we work alongside local, national and international partners, government officials, and advocates to promote a global response that leaves no one behind. We are supporting programs in 23 countries to advance our fundamental belief that access to information, testing and treatment can improve the lives of those living with, affected by or at risk of HIV/AIDS. For more information and to get involved, please visit www.ejaf.org.