M.A.C. AIDS Fund: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: A charitable project of M.A.C., the fund gives numerous grants to global health projects around the world that seek to empower marginalized groups affected by HIV/AIDS. It also aims to reduce the effects of poverty on people and communities suffering from HIV/AIDS. 

IP TAKE: If you are interested in M.A.C. funding, you'd do well to approach the foundation early in your project development. Also, social justice angles are important. M.A.C. places special importance on the most vulnerable, neglected, marginalized, and high-risk populations.

PROFILE: The M.A.C. AIDS Fund operates at the intersection of fashion and philanthropy. The foundation's Chairman, John Demsey, is also the group president of the Estee Lauder Companies, which counts cosmetic lines like Estee Lauder, M.A.C., Tom Ford Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone, and La Mer among its brands. The fund uses fashion to raise money with proceeds from M.A.C.'s VIVA GLAM, an international line of lipstick and "lipglass" (as opposed to the more traditional "lipgloss"), going to support the AIDS Fund's efforts. 

The fund focuses on supporting projects that target the treatment, prevention and basic needs of underserved people living with HIV/AIDs. Within those three areas, M.A.C. identifies mother-to-child transmission, retention in care, treatment access and other concerns as funding priorities.

Internationally, the fund focuses on areas of world that have high HIV/AIDS rates such as India, the Caribbean, and Africa. MAC grants typically range between $50,000 to $150,000. 

In the U.K., M.A.C. directs much of its HIV/AIDS funding to nutrition counseling and supporting low-income populations living with AIDS. These funds are typically channeled through the U.K.-based NGOs Terrence Higgins Trust and The Food Chain. MAC does not accept unsolicited proposals for work in South Africa and the Caribbean. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis in other countries where VIVA GLAM is sold.

In North America, M.A.C. also awards grants to HIV/AIDS work that supports community initiatives, harm reduction (including needle exchange programs), and HIV in elderly populations.

While M.A.C.'s funding priorites may vary depending on where in the world it makes grants, the foundation's target populations are generally the same: the vulnerable and marginalized. In particular, the fund focuses on empowering and aiding women and children, sex workers, intravenous drug users, and men who have sex with men—groups disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, and are essential in fighting the epidemic. 

According to its tax filings of the past few years, grantees tend to be based in the United States, but with charitable operations abroad. 

    Although M.A.C. occasionally makes big grants, it tends to fund large INGOs like AIDS United, Doctors Without Borders and USAID. Since its policies vary widely year to year, grantseekers are advised to approach the program's staff early in their project development to coordinate on grantmaking policy specifics. 

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