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An Explanation of Our Unique Community Partnership Funding Model

In 1988, a consortium of national private foundations and corporate donors came together to combine financial resources at the national level and re-distribute those funds to those who needed them most in the battle against HIV/AIDS – community-based organizations across the United States. The unique model that emerged – the Community Partnership Model – remains the essence of the National AIDS Fund as an organization and a funder.

The National AIDS Fund has had Partnerships in 39 cities or regions in 27 states and the District of Columbia since 1988. The Fund currently has 29 active Partnerships, making grants in 25 states and the District of Columbia. These partnerships are typically consortia of concerned business, philanthropic, and community leaders dedicated to supporting HIV/AIDS prevention and care in their communities and regions. Community Partnerships were established based on a community’s HIV/AIDS incidence, an existing infrastructure to raise and sustain funding, and geographic diversity.

Nationally, the network of 29 Community Partnerships represents an infrastructure for channeling national resources to local programs across the country that can best utilize that support. At the state and local levels, the 29 Community Partnerships serve not only as collaborative fundraising and grantmaking bodies, but also often as conveners, technical assistance providers, community builders, and policy advocates.

The primary function of the Community Partnership model is to raise and invest resources. The model works like this:

The National AIDS Fund collaborates with national and multi-national businesses and philanthropic organizations that provide financial resources to a grantmaking pool. The National AIDS Fund then “re-grants” those funds to Community Partnerships around the country. Community Partnerships qualify for their grants by raising matching local dollars.

Each Community Partnership determines the best and most efficient distribution of the matching grants in its area, based on the results of a community-based needs assessment. The Partnerships allocate those total monies to the agencies in their communities coordinating HIV prevention and education programs and providing direct support to persons living with HIV and AIDS. In many communities, the assessments reveal special needs of specific populations and service gaps where public dollars are not reaching.

The Community Partnership model increases support at every level. Both national and local funders know their contributions are matched and will have a greater impact, making them more enthusiastic about donating to the cause. Increased national and local giving often sparks grant making in communities where no such support previously existed. Most importantly, local AIDS organizations providing prevention programs and direct services have access to more resources for new or existing programs than were previously available.

The file attached below provides a graphic illustrating how the Community Partnership Model works.