December 5 – 6, 2016: The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund attended the AIDS Philanthropy Summit in Washington DC, a gathering of 100+ funders responding to the needs of people at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS. The yearly conference is produced by Funders Concerned about AIDS. 2015’s federal National HIV/AIDS Strategy named Southerners, black people, Latinx people, trans women, youth ages 13-24, injection drug users, and men who have sex with men as “vulnerable categories” for HIV in the US. The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund supports these exact communities as part of the landscape of LGBTQ Southerners of color, and we believe advocacy campaigns created by and for these communities are critical interventions in the systems that sustain the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Advocacy and organizing are, however, still under-resourced strategies when it comes to HIV/AIDS funding in the US. FCAA’s 14th annual Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS report (12/1/16) reveals that advocacy funding trails well behind treatment, prevention, and social services. “Why is this important? Philanthropic funders have a history of providing critical support for people and issues that are underfunded (or not funded at all) by governments,” FCAA writes in its report, and advocacy efforts are more likely to include such people and issues. We applaud FCAA for saying that “we must also look … to those who address key issues including health equity, racism, homophobia, poverty, and reproductive health and justice—issues that intersect with, and often fuel, the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” We agree and are always looking to build relationships with other funders who address such issues.