SOUTHERN AIDS COALITION ANNOUNCES SPARK! GRANTS RECIPIENTS TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY-LED CAMPAIGNS IN THE SOUTH

Grants Made as Part of Larger Gilead COMPASS Initiative®

SOUTHERN U.S. (December 1, 2021)—Today, the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) announced the recipients of its SPARK! (Southerners Promoting Awareness, Resources & Knowledge) Grants, funding made available to organizations with community-led campaigns and education initiatives across the Deep South to address HIV-related stigma. In the coming year, SAC will fund the twelve organizations to support projects under two tracks—SPARK! Connections and SPARK! Change. Through the SPARK! Connections track, organizations will combat social isolation and loneliness through virtual programming. Through the SPARK! Change track, organizations will support community-level education addressing HIV-related stigma. The grants were made as part of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®, an investment by Gilead Sciences to support community-based organizations working to address the HIV epidemic in the Southern United States. 

“We are excited to partner with this diverse group of organizations as they lead grassroots efforts in their communities to eradicate stigma as it pertains to HIV. It is always a joy being able to work with and support community-driven and community-led initiatives,” says Mardrequs Harris, Director of Community Investments at SAC.”

In August 2021, SAC & GLAAD released the 2021 State of HIV Stigma Survey releasing information showing a need for more community-led anti-stigma campaigns. According to the study, there is still fear surrounding people living with HIV, and that almost half of Americans are not knowledgeable of HIV. The Gilead COMPASS Initiative® provided steps to combat HIV-stigma in the survey and funds the SPARK! Grants. 

“Thanks to the generosity of the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC), Selma AIR will be able to make an even greater impact on reducing stigma, […] and improving overall sexual health and wellness among Black women living in rural communities across Alabama,” says Lydia Chatmon, Grants Program Manager and Public Relations Director for Selma AIR, Inc. “Through ‘Just Among Us Sisters’ we will work to deepen connections among women as well as offer improved access to resources related to achieving and maintaining sexual wellness. The women we will reach over the next year, thanks to SAC, will experience opportunities designed to educate their minds, equip their bodies, and ignite their spirit as they/we travel the journey to wellness.”

Read more about the SPARK! Grants recipients at www.southernaidscoalition.org.

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About the Southern AIDS Coalition: The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and business leaders working alongside thousands of people living with HIV and our allies to end the HIV epidemic in the South. We do this through public health advocacy; capacity building assistance; PLHIV leadership development; research and evaluation; and strategic grantmaking. To learn more or to join us, visit www.southernaidscoalition.org.

About the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®: The Gilead COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative is an unprecedented $100 million commitment over 10 years to support organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. The South is most affected by the HIV epidemic, accounting for 54% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. In response to the Southern HIV epidemic, the initiative focuses on providing concentrated investments in the region to reduce HIV-related health disparities, build awareness, advance education, and reduce stigma. The Gilead COMPASS Initiative® includes corporate giving programs, independent medical education grants, and the AIDSVu partnership. For more information, please visit www.gileadcompass.com.

2021–2022 SPARK! Grantees:

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

A Family Affair Living Our Best Life (AFA)is an HIV Ministry, a Black-led organization for Black Women living with HIV. AFA’s priority focus is on women over fifty in the rural Tri-County areas of Orangeburg Bamberg and Calhoun Counties. Founded in 2005 and became incorporated in April 2020.

Our Mission is to broaden the base of support for women who identify as black living with HIV by introducing and applying innovative approaches and practices to build their resiliency to cope with the emotional, physical, and spiritual changes that occur because of an HIV diagnosis across the lifespan.

Arianna's Center

Arianna's Center

The following is a brief organization description: Founded in 2015 by trans Latina activist Arianna Lint, Arianna’s Center is a direct services organization with a mission to empower and uplift the transgender community of Florida and Puerto Rico. Arianna’s Center places a special emphasis on the most marginalized in our community including trans women of color, those living with and affected by HIV and those who have experienced incarceration and ICE detention. The organization provides HIV testing and linkage to care and prevention, name and gender marker change assistance, emergency stipends, advocacy and leadership development, case management, and post-incarceration support services.

Black Ladies in Public Health

Black Ladies in Public Health

Officially launched in August of 2016 and granted 501c3 status in 2019, Black Ladies in Public Health (BLiPH) is an active network of over 15,000 pupils, partners, and professionals in Public Health (PH) and a resource to the community at large. We center culture, career, and community to build capacity for Black women in, and impacted by public health.

Community Health Prevention Intervention Education & Research (CH-PIER)

Community Health Prevention Intervention Education & Research (CH-PIER)

We are Community Health-PIER, located in Greenville, MS in the heart & soul of the MS Delta. We are a small community-based organization that provides healthcare to the LGBTQ+ and other communities who are suffering from health disparities in any capacity. With the small staff that we have, we make sure we are mighty in our community engagement. Making sure we promote health and wellness through prevention, intervention, education, and research. We are sincere in educating and aiding our community in prioritizing their sexual, mental, and emotional health. We realize that the health of rural communities is not catered to or have resources like larger cities and towns, so we are deliberate in disseminating information and offering our services to those in need. Ensuring these communities are not left behind in understanding their bodies and how to take care of them.

Columbus Wellness Center Outreach & Prevention Project, Inc.

Columbus Wellness Center Outreach & Prevention Project, Inc.

Columbus Wellness Center Outreach and Prevention Project, Inc. is located in Columbus, Georgia servicing East Alabama and West Central Georgia to include Rural communities addressing health and wellness concerns with evidence based programing.  Serving women living with HIV (aka: Living a Positive life) since the late eighties with compassion and understanding has establish a gracious sisterhood. It is our mission to promote and participate in a comprehensive and compassionate response to health issues through community education therefore, increasing understanding and prevention, early detection, and services that improve the quality of life for families living in West Central Georgia and East Alabama.

Cumberland County HIV Task Force, Inc.

Cumberland County HIV Task Force, Inc.

The Cumberland County HIV Task Force (CCHIVTF) is a nonprofit volunteer organization that was formed in October of 1986 in response to a need to provide HIV/AIDS prevention education to the general public. The HIV Task Force functions as a clearinghouse for information and education on HIV/AIDS. As medical treatments advanced, the CCHIVTF over the years has expanded its education efforts by utilizing billboard campaigns such as National Testing Day and Red Pump Day to raise awareness of HIV testing. The HIV Task Force has been instrumental in providing information to churches, schools, universities, and the community at large by sponsoring or co-sponsoring HIV/AIDS workshops, seminars, and education campaigns.

Engaging Arkansas Communities

Engaging Arkansas Communities

Engaging Arkansas Communities is a convergence of like-minded, passionate individuals purposefully engaging and empowering Arkansans to achieve the self-value they desire in life. Our staff offers the authentic provision of reassurance, acceptance, understanding, and encouragement during the stress or emotional discomfort of sexual health care (STI checks), treatment, and prevention. 

Engaging Arkansas Communities increases awareness of factors that complicate the lives of those impacted by HIV, provides and links people with HIV to a variety of supportive services, and advocates for innovative strategies and resources for their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being.   

Frontline Legal Services

Frontline Legal Services

Frontline Legal Services is a Louisiana non-profit corporation, founded in 2015, to provide legal and policy support for those on the frontline of America’s public health and human right crises.  Frontline provides legal services, health education, case management and other supportive services that enrich the lives of people living with HIV in Louisiana.

Gateway Solutions, Inc.

Gateway Solutions, Inc.

Gateway Solutions Inc. is a small community based organization located in Yazoo City, MS which Is known as the •Gateway to Deltan since geographically, it’s part of the Mississippi Delta. The mission is to address educational, health, social, and economic issues with viable solutions through community interventions, preventive services, and education in the Greater Yazoo County, Mississippi area. This grant opportunity will allow me to address health and social related issues related to HIV prevention and stigma.

Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency

Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency

Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency (PHSSCA), founded in 1970, is a minority community-based organization whose mission is to provide outreach, education, screening and case management for people with high-risk health problems. Our vision is to be a leading community-based preventive health and outreach agency for all people. Our services include education, counseling, health screenings, case management, care coordination, and support services to individuals living with sickle cell disease and their families. Additionally, we provide street community outreach prevention education throughout the community to individuals who are highest risk of acquiring and/or transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Positive People Network

Positive People Network

Positive People Network, Inc is a peer-driven grassroots non-profit social organization based in Miami-Dade, Florida with a vision of improving the quality of life of all People Living With HIV/AIDS through social activities, medication adherence, emotional support and mentoring. PPN seeks to empower individuals to practice safer sex, reducing risk behaviors in correlation to contracting HIV and enriching the lives of vulnerable populations or under-served individuals and families, including the homeless, who seek opportunities to thrive. Specifically, PPN provides programs and services that result in communities with better health outcomes.

Selma AIR, Inc.

Selma AIR, Inc.

Selma AIR—AIDS Information and Referral, Inc. was founded our of the need to provide care for people with HIV in some of Alabama’s poorest communities.  For years prior to our formal organization a small group our founders and supporters transported people sometimes over 100 miles to receive care from medical practitioners well-acquainted and unafraid to provide high quality, compassionate care for people living with HIV.  This deep commitment to the people and helping those we serve to meet the their needs continues to permeate our staff.  We now have a 26-year history of being thoughtful and caring in the delivery of services to our consumers.  We have also become well-known as a reliable, trusted source of HIV testing, information, prevention resources, and health-related referrals.  Located in the historic city of Selma, Alabama, Selma AIR provides case management, nutritional and housing assistance, as well as mental health services for our consumers thriving with HIV along with HIV education and prevention to the general public.  Our mission is to prevent the spread of HIV and deaths from AIDS across the Black Belt of Alabama by providing comprehensive educational opportunities, access to quality health services including free HIV testing, and resources related to improving the quality of life for persons living with the virus.

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