Five Atlanta HIV groups get big bucks to fight epidemic

An Atlanta foundation awarded $225,000 in grants to local HIV/AIDS service organizations and partnered with music legend Elton John to launch a new effort to fight the region’s ongoing epidemic.

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta [CFGA] awarded the grants through the Atlanta AIDS Fund — a partnership the group has with United Way of Greater Atlanta, Jeffrey Fashion Cares and the Allen Thornell HIV Care & Service Fund. The grants were announced Dec. 5. 

Jerome Brooks, executive director of Living Room, said the group was “extremely honored” to receive its $40,000 grant.

“As one of only a handful of funders who make consistent and targeted investments in improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, our partnership with [CFGA] is invaluable in our effort to end housing instability and homelessness,” Brooks told Project Q Atlanta.

Larry Lehman, CEO of Positive Impact Health Centers, said CFGA has been a long-standing partner in Atlanta’s fight against HIV.

“We are grateful for their support and the impact they have on lives every day in our community,” he said in reaction to receiving a $70,000 grant. 

Jacqueline Brown, CEO of Empowerment Resource Center, said the group was “thrilled” to get its $40,000 grant.

“These funds will support ERC as it expands the care continuum for vulnerable, underserved, and uninsured people residing in the metro area,” she said.

CFGA also awarded a $35,000 grant to Open Hand and a $40,000 grant to Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services.

The awards were part of 29 grants totaling $1.84 million in funding from CFGA’s annual general operating support grants.

“These competitive grants are the hallmark of the triangle of trust between the expertise of the Community Foundation, the passion of donors seeking to make a difference, and the nonprofits delivering vital services on the frontlines of need,” CFGA president Alicia Philipp said in a press release. “Donors place extraordinary trust in us to wisely steward these discretionary grants. The grant signals our trust that the nonprofit will direct funds to the most effective use. The triangle’s third element of trust is with donors and others throughout the community who look to this seal of approval to help inform their own philanthropic decisions.”

Elton John returns to Atlanta

CFGA also hosted a recent event in Atlanta with part-time Atlantan Elton John (top photo) to kick off AIDSfree, an effort that will support Elton John AIDS Foundation funding in Atlanta and five other cities around the world.

John and members of his foundation were on hand to hear the latest regional HIV/AIDS data at the Dec. 3 event at Grady’s Ponce De Leon Center. 

“The energy and raw emotion in the room during this dialog was palpable, and so was the clear call to action that we must all stay committed to this fight,” Philipp said in a press release. “It’s critical to keep awareness of HIV/AIDS in the forefront for funding, especially from the philanthropic community. We must be sure that people in this vulnerable population still being infected have knowledge and access to quality care and support.”

“I commend Sir Elton John for lending his voice and his influence in such a public way. We need others with that level of influence here in the Atlanta community to have the same courage to step up and be the face and voice of change,” she added.

The event was held in connection with World AIDS Day. CFGA hosted along with Grady Health Foundation, Grady Health System and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation regularly gives to Atlanta HIV/AIDS service organizations.

John’s foundation gave $100,000 to CFGA to fund the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund in 2014. His foundation gave Equality Foundation of Georgia, Georgia AIDS Coalition and the Racial Justice Action Center a combined $165,000 in grants to fight HIV later that same year.

Metro Atlanta has the fourth-highest rate of new HIV infections in the U.S., according to the CDC.