New FCAA Report Highlights Challenges & Opportunities for Funding Community Based Action on HIV/AIDS

A focus on communities sets the stage for the 2018 AIDS Philanthropy Summit

Washington, D.C., November 5, 2018 – As it kicked off its Annual AIDS Philanthropy Summit today, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) released a new report, Last mile funding: improving practice in philanthropic funding of community action on AIDS. The report highlights the ways in which funders can more effectively support community-based responses to HIV and AIDS.

“Communities are at the forefront of the global AIDS response,” said John Barnes, FCAA’s Executive Director. “Key innovations, breakthroughs and much of the progress on the ground would not have happened without their involvement. Yet, funding for communities remains sporadic, limited and hampered by structural challenges.”

For the past year, FCAA has worked to better understand what effective funding for community-based action on AIDS looks like today and where opportunities exist for improvement going forward. As part of this effort, it commissioned a study based on a comprehensive literature review as well as interviews with community-based organizations (CBOs), funders and other key stakeholders. Today’s report highlights the findings from this undertaking, identifying the challenges facing community-based organizations and the best practices that have proven most effective in addressing them.

Some themes emerging from the report include:

  • The term “community” is not clearly defined nor are the wide range of organizations — funders, intermediaries, CBOs — involved in funding and enacting community action on HIV/AIDS
  • The priorities of funders and those of CBOs on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS fight have a significant amount of overlap
  • While there is no single blueprint for a funding model, there are many examples of practices that funders have developed to work more effectively with CBOs
  • CBOs noted high levels of engagement, an ability to provide feedback to funders, and participation in the development of funder processes as driving increased effectiveness

“The findings do not suggest a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather that a diversity of funding mechanisms is often needed to meet the needs of diverse communities,” said Matt Greenall, co-author of the report. “We believe that the report underscores the importance of dialogue and feedback with communities as well as the need for collaboration and self-evaluation for funders.”

In addition to the report, FCAA recently embarked upon a new data initiative to create a baseline against which to track the level of HIV philanthropy reaching local, national and international civil society organizations (CSOs). This will then be used as a metric to identify the proximity of funding to the communities served. The organization conducted an analysis of the roughly 3,600 grantee organizations included in its 2016 resource tracking initiative to determine their entity type (e.g. a civil society organization, a hospital, an academic or research institution, etc.). Through further analysis, it was able to determine that 44% ($306 mil) of HIV-related philanthropy was disbursed to CSOs in 2016, with 20% ($185 mil) going specifically to those at the local or national level.  

Both the report and data analysis will help to set the stage at FCAA’s 2018 AIDS Philanthropy Summit, which begins today. The objective for this year’s funder convening is identifying new tools and opportunities to increase investment in community-based approaches.

“Nearly forty years into the pandemic, community responses are still leading the way and helping to ensure that the most affected groups in the U.S. and across the globe are not left behind,” said Channing Wickham, Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership and Chair, FCAA Board of Directors. “Through continued research and analysis, FCAA hopes to provide funders with the necessary information to effectively support this work.”

Learn more about FCAA’s research on community-based action on HIV/AIDS here.

About FCAA

Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) is the leading voice on philanthropic resources allocated to the global AIDS epidemic. We provide funders with the data necessary to make informed decisions on HIV/AIDS funding. Learn more at: