OVERVIEW: amfAR, also known as the Foundation for AIDS Research, devotes its global funding to research, advocacy, and treatment on HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Grants support a network of medical researchers and clinics in Asia, as well as HIV/AIDS services for gay men and transgendered people in low- to middle-income countries.
IP TAKE: amfAR is one of the most internationally recognized organizations supporting HIV/AIDS-related projects. It awards several grants to large INGOs, but exclusively dedicates HIV/AIDS related funding to smaller NGOs through its GMT Initiative.
PROFILE: Founded in 1985, amfAR began as an organization of doctors seeking answers to the unfamiliar immunodeficiency epidemic that baffled health experts. Since then, amfAR has grown its scope to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research. It hopes to play a "catalytic role in accelerating the pace of HIV/AIDS research and achieving real breakthroughs," and seeks to "develop the scientific basis for a cure by 2020." Since its inception, amfAR has invested $450 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams globally.
Among foundations, amfAR is unusually glamorous. Its board chairman is famed fashion designer Kenneth Cole, while its ambassadors include Liza Minnelli, Katy Perry, and Janelle Monae. It also holds posh, star-studded galas in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, São Paulo and Miami. In addition, it holds the annual Cinema Against AIDS black tie fundraiser, previously attended by Elton John and Mary J. Blige, at the Cannes Film Festival.
amfAR supports various projects, including scientific research, public awareness campaigns, and public policy work. In the developing world, however, amfAR has the following two primary areas of focus:
GMT Initiative: Formerly the MSM Initiative, the GMT Initiative provides financial and technical support investigating interventions that reduce the spread and impact of HIV among gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals in low- and middle-income countries. amfAR focuses its efforts on five geographic regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. First-time grantees can request support of up to $20,000 for up to one year
TREAT Asia: TREAT Asia focuses on research, education and advocacy in the areas where the initiative is located. It reflects a collaborative network of clinics, hospitals, research institutions and civil society that works to "ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV treatments to adults and children across the Asia-Pacific," a populous region that has more HIV-positive people than any other region beyond sub-Saharan Africa. Grants through this program range from $1,000 to $100,000 each, and are awarded to universities or university researchers in Asia. It also supports various sexual health clinics that deliver HIV/AIDS services in the region. TREAT Asia also periodically advertises requests for proposals on its site, so grantseekers are advised to check back often.