The FCAA Advocacy Forum: Are you with us?

“We’re not going to get to a world without AIDS without philanthropy and without advocacy from philanthropy, using not just our money but our connections, our intelligence, our bully pulpit to make this world a better place. So we have science, we have the know-how, but we need the resources and the political will. And for that, we need all of you. Are you with us?”
Masen Davis

Nearly 100 stakeholders came together in-person and online for the FCAA Advocacy Forum – Rising Threats, Urgent Action: HIV Funding Amidst a Shifting Policy Landscape.

While the multitude of current attacks on human rights and the HIV response – from HIV prevention funding in Tennessee to the Ugandan Parliament’s passage of a severe anti-homosexuality bill – initially brough us together, our conversations uncovered a resounding message about the strength of community.” In real-time, on stage, we saw connections develop between our panelists regardless of the specific topic they were asked to address, and many highlighted that these attacks are working to bring together advocacy communities across HIV, reproductive justice, trans and LGBTQ rights in an understanding that “all of this work is all of our work together.”

It is complicated to effectively summarize such a rich and layered day of conversations. As such, as a first step to continue this conversation FCAA is providing access to the Forum videos (the open Q&A portions have been edited out).

To guide your viewing, the following playlist includes:

  • Opening Remarks featuring FCAA Executive Director Masen Davis and Jesse Milan, Jr., AIDS United President & CEO and FCAA Board Chair
  • Forum Keynote from Harold Phillips, ONAP Director
  • Panel 1 focuses on the current status of funding and strategies around the Global Fund, PEPFAR and on the ground implications of the anti-homosexuality bills in Uganda and other Eastern Africa countries.
  • Panel 2 offers the community perspective on these issues, including on the evolving funding situation in Tennessee, implications of the Ugandan bill, HIV criminalization, anti-abortion efforts, and the influence of anti-gender ideology and funding on the HIV response.
  • Closing donor reflections from Amelia Korangy, ViiiV Healthcare, and Paul-Gilbert Colletaz, Red Umbrella Fund

Next, we have lifted up a few recommendations and questions that our panelists left us with.

  • We heard repeated calls for long-term and unrestricted general operating support. We were urged to consider how our funding is reaching and mobilizing community-led organizations.
  • We were also asked to assess our own institutions to understand how and if the lived expertise of the HIV community is reflected in our decision-making processes.
  • We were asked to consider how we can make power structures more inclusive.
  • And, finally, the room was challenged to use not just our money, but also our voices and advocacy as philanthropy to support this work.

It is important to acknowledge these are not new questions or requests. They are some of the same reflected in our conversations with global and regional networks of key populations this past July at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal.   

As such, to close the Forum, FCAA Board Member Amelia Korangy, Senior Manager in External Affairs at ViiV Healthcare, posed a set of strategic questions to inspire concrete next steps among the donors in the room:

  1. Where is there an opportunity for others besides those in the room to hear what you’ve heard and to act on that information? And then where is an opportunity for you to share that power?
  2. Who in your portfolio would you double down on? Can you find one organization that you invest in? Can you increase the amount of money that you’re giving to them? And can you decrease the restrictions on the ask?
  3. What role will you play in building relationships? Is there an organization outside of the HIV space, outside of the LGBTQ space where you could go leader to leader in philanthropy and have a very serious set of conversations so that they’re at least aware of what’s going on?

FCAA will use these recommendations and questions to help guide how we bring our membership and community together moving forward.  We will soon be sharing news of more regular virtual programming, including spaces for open, unprogrammed funder dialogue and sharing, as well as responsive programming around urgent needs in the HIV response.