Dear SAC Member,

With bittersweet feeling we announce that Nic Carlisle is resigning as Executive Director of the Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC). We are sad to see Nic move on from this position, but are excited to see what this transition will bring for him. We are also thrilled that Nic will continue as an independent contractor supporting some of SAC’s core work, including our advocacy.

It has been an absolute privilege to have had Nic at the helm for the past four years. Since 2015, he has led the charge to build SAC from a small organization with only two staff and a small budget to the powerful, vibrant organization that SAC is today with staff throughout the southern region and a multi-million dollar budget. SAC is known for its nation-wide advocacy on behalf of people living with and affected by HIV; its leadership development; capacity building; and most recently its strategic grant making and research agenda. SAC’s tremendous growth is in large part due to the dedication and tireless work of Nic Carlisle, who, along with his remarkable staff, kept a laser focus on the goal of SAC’s mission of ending the HIV epidemic in the South.

SAC remains in good hands. Dafina Ward, currently Director of Community Investment, is stepping into the role as interim Executive Director. Dafina has over a decade of experience in grants management and program development with a focus on HIV and stigmatized health issues in the Deep South.  Before joining the SAC staff in October of 2018, Dafina served as Director of External Relations for Provide, a national organization committed to improving access to reproductive health services for women in low resource communities. She was also Director of Prevention and Community Partnerships for AIDS Alabama for several years, and before that she worked as Coordinator of the Alabama Community AIDS Fund. Since coming to SAC, Dafina has been involved in every aspect of SAC’s work. She will also be supported by the strong staff at SAC, including Gina Brown, Mardrequs Harris, Marvin Anderson, and Aquarius Gilmer.

The Southern AIDS Coalition Board is engaging a search firm to conduct a nationwide search for a new leader to carry on SAC’s work. We will announce a job description and details about how to apply soon.


Kathie Hiers
Chair, SAC Board of Directors


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