6 Atlanta HIV funds get big Elton John bucks

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AIDS foundations based in Atlanta received tens of thousands of dollars each to bolster local HIV treatment and prevention programs as part of millions dished out Tuesday by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The annual grants include three projects that specifically target LGBT people who are either at-risk or already infected with HIV. The funds came as part of $3.2 million distributed by the gay entertainer's namesake foundation to 52 organizations across the country. This just adds to the reputation of the part-time Atlanta resident (top photo) as something of a hometown hero and big-daddy benefactor.

Equality Foundation of Georgia puts its $50,000 in EJAF funds to work on LGBT statewide policies. Georgia AIDS Coalition will focus $40,000 on LGBTQ college-age youth aged 17-24. The Racial Justice Action Center will spend its $75,000 grant on HIV programs that serve LGBT people of color.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is committed to confronting HIV/AIDS where it exists,” John says in press release. “We recognize that the health needs and rights of LGBTQ people are critical components to ending HIV in the United States. The Foundation also recognizes the lack of funding and leadership in this area and is rising to the challenge to meet this need.”

Atlanta organizations that also get big bucks from the singer’s fund and serve other at-risk communities are the Center for Health of Incarcerated Persons at Emory University ($50,000), the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s AIDS Partnership Fund ($75,000), and Georgia State University Foundation ($50,000). Here’s more on the organizations that specifically target LGBT prevention and treatment:

Equality Foundation of Georgia
Renewal Grant: $50,000
Project Name: Georgia HIV Advocacy Network
Organization Description: The Equality Foundation of Georgia has a fifteen-year history of working on policy and legislation that supports Georgia’s LGBT community as well as people living with HIV.  The organization founded the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network in 2009 as a statewide network of providers, consumers and citizen advocates who advocate for HIV policy initiatives on both state and county levels through policy analysis, advocacy training and coordinated community activities.
Program Description:  This grant will support a series of community events to raise general awareness of HIV and it’s impact on young, black gay men  The events will be broken down into two categories: Critical Conversations and the Arts and Advocacy Film Series.  Critical Conversations focuses on developing intergenerational dialogues between young black gay men and older black gay men who have been active in HIV advocacy for two decades.  The goal of the Arts and Advocacy Film Series film series is to educate and mobilize young black gay men to engage in HIV/AIDS advocacy.

Georgia AIDS Coalition
Renewal Grant:  $40,000
Project Name:  Georgia AIDS Advocacy in Action
Organization Description:  The Georgia AIDS Coalition is dedicated to ensuring ethical decision-making on HIV/AIDS issues; educating and updating the public, agencies and public officials on HIV/AIDS; promoting collaboration among organizations with a similar focus; informing individuals with HIV/AIDS on legislation; and developing community coalitions to provide needed HIV prevention and  testing campaigns.
Program Description:  With this grant, the Georgia AIDS Coalition will expand Georgia AIDS Advocacy in Action, its multi-faceted program combining HIV/AIDS prevention, education, screening and testing with advocacy training, in the Savannah/Brunswick area.  Objectives are: (1) to continue to expand its community coalition with a focus on youth groups, peer advocates, healthcare and social services professionals and selected clergy, increasing participation by 20%; (2) to conduct advocacy training trips to the GA state capitol during GA’s legislative session for 36 participants; (3) to coordinate a series of HIV prevention education and testing events for college age youth (17-24), targeting LGBTQ youth and newly targeted college campuses; (4) to provide follow-up HIV prevention education programming for high-school age participants of its Fall 2014 high school youth event; and (5) to further increase HIV community awareness through community events and media communications.

Racial Justice Action Center
New Grant:  $75,000
Project Name:  Solutions Not Punishment Coalition and Campaign
Organization Description:  The Racial Justice Action Center is a multi-racial, LGBTQ, people of color-led organization building the grassroots leadership and power of communities of color and low income communities in order to fight for – and win – political and social transformation in Georgia and the South.
Program Description:  Support from EJAF will enable the Center to continue and enhance its work engaging trans people of color, the larger LGBTQ community, and supportive allies to push to end the criminalization of HIV/AIDS, of sex work, and of trans people of color. Through outreach and education, coalition building, and savvy campaign and advocacy work, The Center will build awareness and consensus that the City of Atlanta should take a different approach to public health and safety issues and should stop hyper-aggressive policing and instead implement programs that address root causes.

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