AIDS United has provided cash grants up to $10,000 along with professional development and technical assistance to seven southern organizations to accelerate the use of technology to end HIV in the South.
The funding is provided through iFORWARD: Equipping Organizations in the South through Technology to End the HIV Epidemic, a special project designed to address barriers southern organizations face in accessing appropriate technology to carry out their services and achieve their mission. This is a special project of the Southern HIV Impact Fund.
The South has a disproportionate burden of HIV when compared with other regions of the U.S. An estimated 51% of all new HIV diagnoses (at any stage of the disease) occurred in the South. Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses are in the South according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These barriers have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“AIDS United funding support will allow us to enhance our efforts in our community to educate Black women about HIV and the coronavirus vaccine using creative and innovative ways with technology,” said Patricia Nails, CEO of The Women’s Collective, an iFORWARD grantee.
For this initiative, the Southern HIV Impact Fund partnered with NTEN, a community of nonprofit professionals using technology strategically and equitably for social change, to provide training on digital diversity and inclusivity. Each organization will also be assigned a tech coach who will provide guidance on digital campaigns and digital health literacy; telemedicine and telehealth; and infrastructure, marketing and communications.
“Even as we enter the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, health inequities persist. This project comes at an important time when we are confronting a worsening public health crisis and a widening digital divide,” noted Athena Cross, AIDS United vice president and chief program officer. “We are thrilled this project is underway and that resources and support are going to communities that need it the most.”
The grantees are:
- Game Changing Men – Newman, GA
- H.Y.P.E. to Empower – Atlanta, GA
- Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance – Louisville, KY
- Project Lazarus – New Orleans, LA
- Speakout – Washington, D.C.
- The Normal Anomaly Initiative – Houston, TX
- The Women’s Collective – Washington, D.C.
“During the pandemic, we lost traction in ending the HIV epidemic due to the glaring digital insecurity that is in the South. But now we have an opportunity to get back on track by supporting the technology and infrastructure southern organizations need to pivot through the iFORWARD initiative. This expands the work of the Southern HIV Impact Fund that aims to grow the sustainability of organizations in the Southern United States to respond to the HIV epidemic.” said Marvell L. Terry II, AIDS United’s Southern HIV Impact Fund senior program manager.
iFORWARD is a special project of the Southern HIV Impact Fund. Convened by Funders Concerned About AIDS in 2017 to coordinate and expand philanthropic efforts in the United States South, the Southern HIV Impact Fund is managed by AIDS United and receives support for Year 5 from The Gilead COMPASS Initiative®, ViiV Healthcare, the Levi Strauss Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceutical and a generous anonymous donor. To learn more about the projects of the iFORWARD grantees, please visit southernfund.org.