"Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993."
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) announced nearly $1.5 million in new grants today, including a new program aimed at addressing the rampant stigma against HIV-positive people and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community.
With this round of grant-making, EJAF is awarding seven new and six renewal grants that fund innovative projects addressing the health and human rights challenges facing LGBTQ people, and supporting cutting-edge advocacy work on drug policy and HIV decriminalization. The new funding amounts to $1.456 million, bringing EJAF's grant investments for 2014 to date to nearly $2 million.
In particular, EJAF's new LGBTQ Community Initiative will engage directly with marginalized voices within the LGBTQ community to identify urgently-needed new approaches in our ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. Specifically, the Initiative will work to address the lack of knowledge surrounding HIV among gay Americans, to create a more transparent culture in LGBTQ communities affected by HIV, and to fight the severe lack of access to welcoming medical care available to LGBTQ people in this country.
"This has been a year of great triumphs for LGBTQ Americans. However, rates of HIV infection are still increasing in the community. That's why we are investing an additional $1.0-1.5 million across our second and third grant cycles to support new, dynamic, innovative programs by LGBTQ organizations and organizations working to confront the AIDS crisis in the community," said EJAF Chairman David Furnish. "The health and equality of gay people will continue to be top priorities for the Foundation."
A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the understanding of HIV among gay and bisexual men, and their results further underscore the importance and timeliness of EJAF's LGBTQ Community Initiative. The survey revealed that few gay and bisexual men report discussing HIV with their friends and sexual partners; most are not getting tested for HIV as regularly as they should; and more than half report that their doctors have never recommended that they be tested for HIV and that they rarely ever discuss HIV with their doctors.
The Initiative also includes a particular emphasis on programs for transgender people.
"Transgender people are sidelined within the broader movement to end HIV and in the fight for expanded access to healthcare," said EJAF Executive Director Scott Campbell. "We look forward to working directly with advocates from the transgender community who can help us ensure that our grants continue to go where the need is highest."
"The Elton John AIDS Foundation is committed to confronting HIV/AIDS where it exists," said EJAF Founder Sir Elton John. "We recognize that the health needs and rights of LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, are critical components to ending HIV in the United States. The Foundation also recognizes the lack of funding and leadership in this area and is rising to the challenge to meet this need."
UPDATE: 16 Dec., 2014
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) announced more than $3.2 million in new grants, bringing the Foundation's total grant disbursements for the calendar year 2014 to an impressive $6.857 million. These end-of-year grants represent EJAF's continued commitment to helping all people infected with HIV and combatting stigma in communities most threatened by the virus.
With this third and final round of grant-making for the year, EJAF awarded 12 new and 40 renewal grants to innovative projects addressing the Foundation's strategic grant priorities. This final round includes six new grants funded under EJAF's LGBTQ Community Initiative, which brings the Foundation's investments in this new initiative to more than $1.1 million this year.
"The Elton John AIDS Foundation is committed to confronting HIV/AIDS where it exists," said EJAF Founder Elton John. "We recognize that the health needs and rights of LGBTQ people are critical components to ending HIV in the United States. The Foundation also recognizes the lack of funding and leadership in this area and is rising to the challenge to meet this need."
EJAF's strategic grant priorities for 2014 are as follows:
The Health and Rights of Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People
Building on the four major Round 2 grants for national LGBTQ organizations announced in October (i.e., Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, Transgender Law Center, and the Point Foundation), this new round of grants includes: renewal grants for over 20 LGBTQ-focused programs; one additional national LGBTQ grant to the Third Wave Fund, and several new locally-focused grants: Racial Justice Action Center in Atlanta, FreeState Legal in Baltimore, Casa Ruby and the Wanda Alston Foundation in Washington DC, and the L.A. LGBT Center.
Sexual Health and the Rights of Young Adults
To help young people campaign for health policies and services relevant to their needs, this round of grants includes renewal awards to leading youth advocacy and service organizations such as Hetrick Martin, Queerocracy, and JASMYN, and a new grant to Friends for Life in Memphis.
The Health and Rights of Black Americans
EJAF staunchly supports the efforts of black activists in the U.S. to improve HIV testing, treatment, and access to health care. This round of grants includes renewal awards to groups such as Positive Women's Network and the Medical AIDS Outreach Selma Project, and new grants to several small local black-led organizations such as Guiding Right in Oklahoma and Central Louisiana AIDS Support Services.
The Health of People Who Have Been Incarcerated
This round of grants includes 10 renewal awards totaling $507,000 to help people getting out of prison get the support they need. Renewal awards include the ACLU National Prisons Project and Emory University's Center for the Health of Incarcerated People. EJAF also awarded increased funding to the Center for HIV Law and Policy for work to modernize laws criminalizing people living with HIV.
HIV Policy and Advocacy
This round of grants includes renewals to over 20 HIV policy and advocacy projects totaling more than $750,000, including state-wide HIV policy coalitions in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Two new grants were awarded to the Desiree Alliance to elevate the issue of HIV among sex worker rights activists and to the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program to improve Canada's refugee, asylum, and immigration policies for people who are HIV+ or LGBT.
"We are extremely excited about the innovative work being undertaken by these grantees," said EJAF Chairman David Furnish, "and we are deeply grateful to all of our generous and loyal donors for supporting EJAF's life-saving work."
At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) we believe that AIDS can be beaten.
We act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people's lives. Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993. Through hard work and with the help of our network of kind, amazing, creative, and generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $300 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS. The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, while the U.K. foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Join us in speaking out, taking action, and contributing to our efforts to achieve a world without AIDS.
For more information, and for a complete list and descriptions of EJAF's 2014 round two grantees, please visit www.ejaf.org.
American Airlines is the official sponsoring airline of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.