At a recent (12/5/11) summit of the philanthropic community, in Washington, D.C., Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) launched the Funder's Toolkit for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Throughout the development and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), a strong emphasis has been placed on the need for the engagement and participation of all sectors of society in order to achieve the Strategy's goals; the President himself has acknowledged that the Federal government cannot do this essential work alone. At this "all-hands-on-deck" moment, we must work in new ways, across disciplines and organizations, to make lasting progress on the American HIV/AIDS epidemic -- especially in terms of reducing HIV-related health disparities. The summit and the new online toolkit are important steps in advancing the contributions of the nation's vital philanthropic sector to achieving the vision of the NHAS.
During FCAA's AIDS Philanthropy Summit, leaders from the philanthropic community and other interested stakeholders discussed how the NHAS offers an unprecedented opportunity for philanthropy -- focused on AIDS and beyond -- to partner with government, business, research, policy makers, faith communities, advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS in order to eventually bring about the end AIDS in America. I had the opportunity to participate in the summit, joining a panel of colleagues who discussed the implementation of the NHAS from state, local and federal perspectives.
FCAA developed the new online toolkit in response to stakeholders who've been asking how they might partner with and support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The toolkit identifies opportunities for funders to help the NHAS reach its goals, and highlights the work of funders already supporting this historic and important strategy. To help inform and engage funders who may not yet be working in this arena, the toolkit also offers a "NHAS 101" section. It then provides eight specific recommendations on how philanthropy can align with the NHAS and highlights several current examples of work by funders in each area.
According to FCAA, the goals of the Toolkit include:
- Providing private philanthropy with the context for making investment decisions related to the NHAS;
- Identifying opportunities for investments by private philanthropy that will help this historic and important plan reach its goals;
- Fostering greater collaboration among funders and more integrated efforts between private philanthropy and government;
- Highlighting the work of funders and their grantees around the country;
- Indicating opportunities for philanthropy to exercise its unique role in responding to populations and issues that governments cannot always address because of ideological, cultural and political barriers; and
- Engaging funders beyond the immediate community of AIDS funders in supporting the NHAS.
Founded in 1987, FCAA is the only U.S.-based organization comprised of and for private philanthropic institutions concernedabout, engaged in or potentially active in the fight against HIV/AIDS. FCAA mobilizes the leadership, ideas and resources of U.S.-based funders to eradicate the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Please take a look at the NHAS toolkit; I know you will find it impressive. And I encourage you to share this important resource with friends and colleagues so that we can extend the vision of the NHAS throughout the United States: The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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