New Funders Concerned About AIDS’ Report Shows Private Philanthropic Support for the Epidemic Decreased by $37 Million Between 2016 and 2017

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2018
Media Contact: Sarah Hamilton, (509) 336-9240
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New Funders Concerned About AIDS’ Report Shows Private Philanthropic Support for the Epidemic Decreased by $37 Million Between 2016 and 2017

 Recording the lowest level of disbursements since 2014, organization signals cause for concern

Washington, D.C., November 29 , 2018 – In advance of World AIDS Day, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) released its 16thannual Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS report.The leading voice on philanthropic resources for the global AIDS epidemic, FCAA reports that HIV/AIDS philanthropic disbursements totaled $638 million in 2017, a decrease of 5%, or $37 million.

“For the past two years, we have cautioned that the increases we were seeing in philanthropic funding were concentrated among just a few funders. At the same time, a growing number of others were decreasing resources to fight the epidemic,” Channing Wickham, Executive Director of the Washington AIDS Partnership and Chair of FCAA’s Board of Directors. “The 2017 data show that our concerns have been made a reality. Last year, philanthropic funding for HIV and AIDS was at its lowest level in three years.”

A significant portion of the decreases came from the top 20 funders, who accounted for 88% of HIV-related philanthropy in 2017. While 13 of the top 20 funders increased their funding between 2016 and 2017 – including roughly $33 million of increases from the top two funders alone (Gates Foundation and Gilead Sciences) – that amount was offset by decreases among the remaining seven funders. These declines played out across geographies, intended use and population categories:

  • Middle income countries — home to nearly 60% of people living with HIV/AIDS — saw a 21% decrease
  • Despite steady increases over the past several years, resources allocated toward HIV-related advocacy and human rights efforts declined 7% ($9 million)
  • Despite the increase in new HIV infections among people who inject drugs in the U.S. — due to the rise of the opioid epidemic — this population received roughly 3% of HIV philanthropy, a 11% decrease from 2016
  • Sex workers are 13 times more at risk of HIV compared with the general population, yet received only 2% of HIV philanthropy, a 24% decrease from 2016

There is, however, some good news to report:

  • While most U.S. regions saw a slight decrease in funding from 2016-2017, the U.S. South saw a 67% increase ($19 million)
  • Funding for general operating/administration grants increased by close to $30 million
  • Significant increases were recorded for funding related to transgender populations (110%), gay men/men who have sex with men (35%), and economically disadvantaged/homeless populations (31%)
  • Other increases were seen in funding for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, known as PrEP (14%), and capacity building/leadership development grants (29%)

In addition, corporate funders continued to play an important role in the response. While only 9% of all grantmakers represented a corporation or related giving program, their support represented 36% ($242 million) of total HIV-related philanthropy for the year. Similarly, only 6% of funders represent organizations that focus specifically on HIV, yet those that do accounted for roughly a quarter of total funding ($144 million).

This data comes against a backdrop of ill-advised policies and flatlining bilateral and multilateral resources. In July, Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS highlighted the first increase in donor government funding for HIV in low and middle-income countries in several years. However, the United States’ contributions, which drove the increase, included funds appropriated but not spent in previous years. Future disbursements will likely fall back to prior levels, which had been flat for several years.[i]

Though philanthropic support comprises only 2% of the global resources for HIV, it is a powerful resource, particularly at such a tipping point.

“Private HIV and AIDS philanthropy is catalytic. It has helped drive incredible progress against the epidemic despite seemingly insurmountable odds, not unlike those we now face,” said John Barnes, FCAA’s Executive Director. “It is the role of philanthropy to swim upstream, to fight prevailing headwinds that challenge progress and to leverage a unique ability to drive increased, focused funding where it is most needed.”

The complete findings of the study are available here.

About the Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS Report

FCAA first began its annual analysis of private funding for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the year 2000. The report captures data on more than 6,700 grants, awarded by 427 funders in 14 countries, and identifies gaps, trends and opportunities in HIV-related philanthropy. The global HIV/AIDS response would benefit greatly from increased funding for advocacy. Sharing this study with funders enables them to make informed decisions about where their resources would make the most difference.


About FCAA

Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) was founded in 1987 with the mission to mobilize the philanthropic leadership, ideas and resources of funders to eradicate the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and to address its social and economic dimensions.



[i] Donor Government Funding for HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in 2017