This California Collaborative Gives Big to HIV/AIDS agencies

According to recent statistics, California has the highest number of AIDS diagnoses in the U.S., with an average of 10.2 cases diagnosed per 100,000 people. And many of these cases are in San Diego County. One funding collaborative isn’t trying to address HIV/AIDS on an overwhelmingly global scale, but rather keeping it local and assisting HIV/AIDS agencies in its own community.

The San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative recently announced $215,000 in new grants to HIV/AIDS agencies in the area for prevention and treatment programs and services. The collaborative works alongside the McCarthy Family Foundation, Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Janssen Therapeutics to facilitate this very targeted grantmaking. It typically starts accepting RFPs in November of each year.

Ian Morton, senior program analyst for San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and HIV Funding Collaborative, made the following statement:

San Diego boasts a wonderful array of culturally and gender-sensitive HIV programming. We would not have it any other way! Whether preventing or treating HIV, it is imperative that we have programs that reflect the diversity and needs of individual San Diegans. Through the HIV Funding Collaborative, we are able to support advocacy programs with childcare options; syringe exchange programs which can benefit communities impacted by addiction while keeping dirty needles out of playgrounds; and legal services for individuals dealing with employment or housing discrimination.

Recent grants were in the $15,000 to $20,000 range, and grantees included the Vista Community Clinic, Mama’s Kitchen, San Ysidro Health Centers, Christie’s Place, and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer’s Program. This funder collaborative started working with the foundation in 2009 and has granted over $1.6 million for local programs and services since then. The collaborative itself was established in 1990 and has donated over $3 million in grants, making it one of the largest local funding programs for this cause in the country.

Both the foundation and collaborative have expressed interest in working together more extensively on advocacy efforts in the year ahead. For example, they will continue to support the advocacy initiative AIDS Watch, which allows people living with HIV to meet with legislative staff in D.C. to discuss how HIV-related policies affect their lives personally.

The general grant program’s current cycle runs through June 2016 and has about $100,000 to spend. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to groups that provide programs and services to the LGBT community. A grantseeker’s best point of contact for the general grant program is Executive Director John L. Brown, who can be reached at This funder is also into matching grants and will designate up to $50,000 to match qualifying donations through June 30.

Other initiatives at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation are focused on LGBT seniors, lesbian health, and performing arts that honor LBGT culture. The LGBT senior community has built a growing base of support among community-based funders, especially in the areas of housing and health. The needs and shortcomings of healthcare for lesbians has flown under the radar, but this funder’s educational support is working to change that. ParkArts is a collaboration between the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, Diversionary Theatre, and Lambda Archives to create San Diego’s LGBT Cultural and Performing Arts Center in the Uptown neighborhood of University Heights. 

General questions from San Diego-area grantseekers should be directed to the staff at 619-291-3383 or