Philanthropic funding for HIV/AIDS reached highest level to date in 2016 according to new Funders Concerned About AIDS’ report
Despite a third straight year of increases, there is cause for caution
Washington, D.C., December 7, 2017 – Today, on the heels of World AIDS Day, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) released its 15thannual Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS report. The leading voice on philanthropic resources for the global AIDS epidemic, FCAA reports that HIV/AIDS philanthropic disbursements increased 2% in 2016, representing the third consecutive year of growth and reaching an all-time high of $680 million. [i] However, in an environment increasingly inhospitable to global health and development, the organization is urging that these findings be viewed in a broader context.
This year’s uptick was driven by significant increases from several of the top 20 funders — primarily ViiV Healthcare, Aidsfonds, and Elton John AIDS Foundation (US and UK) — and carried by a $41 million increase from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, representative of its normal yearly fluctuations. However, although the report highlights an increase in total funding, the overall trend shows significant decreases from the majority of funders.
“Once again, the majority of philanthropic resources allocated to fighting the epidemic is concentrated among a handful of donors,” said FCAA’s Executive Director, John Barnes. “The top 20 funders accounted for 87% of 2016 resources. In fact, without the two largest funders — Gates Foundation and Gilead Sciences, which, together, represent over half of all funding in 2016 — total giving to HIV/AIDS among all other private funders decreased 5%.[ii] “
This is of particular concern given the challenges of the current environment. In addition to the lack of appetite to fund global health programs demonstrated by the U.S. Administration, other bilateral donors continue to decrease HIV funding. In July, the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS signaled the lowest level of donor government support for HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries since 2010, despite the fact that these areas of the world are among those most heavily impacted by the epidemic.[iii] This growing resource gap is compounded by the reinstatement of damaging policies such as the “Global Gag Rule,” which restricts international organizations receiving U.S. funding from performing or promoting abortion services.
“We cannot allow flagging resources and ill-informed policy to roll back decades of progress,” said Channing Wickham, Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership, and Chair, FCAA Board of Directors. “Now, more than ever, we are calling on the philanthropic sector to increase support and leverage its unique abilities to respond to HIV and AIDS.”
The philanthropic sector can play a critical role in the fight by making strategic investments in key areas. In this year’s report, FCAA made a special effort to track a few of those areas, including support for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), advocacy and human rights, key populations (such men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender populations), capacity building and leadership development.
Key findings from the 2016 report include:
- For the third year in a row, HIV/AIDS philanthropic funding to the US reached a new high, totaling $175 million
- Funding to low- and middle-income countries increased by 11% from 2015 to 2016
- The top regional recipient outside of North America was East & Southern Africa
- The top intended use for funding was research (which, at $249 million, increased 13% from 2015) followed by prevention (a 26% increase at $169 million)
- Commitments to advocacy and human rights increased by 1%, bringing the total level of resources allocated to this critical issue to a new high of $125 million
- Funding for all key populations decreased from 2015 to 2016
“FCAA was borne of government inaction in a time of crisis,” said Barnes. “Thirty years later, we are called to return to our activist roots to respond to a government hostile to those living with HIV and AIDS and those most at risk of infection. Without question, it is time to reignite our fighting spirit.”
The complete findings of the study are available here.
About the Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS Report
FCAA first began its annual analysis of private funding for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the year 2000. The report captures data on more than 7,019 grants, awarded by 392 funders in 15 countries, and identifies gaps, trends and opportunities in HIV-related philanthropy. Private funders are often the only source of funding for global HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts, yet currently, only 18% of private funder dollars are allocated for this purpose. The global HIV/AIDS response would benefit greatly from increased funding for advocacy. Sharing this study with funders enables them to make informed decisions about where their resources would make the most difference.
Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) was founded in 1987 with the mission to mobilize the philanthropic leadership, ideas and resources of funders to eradicate the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and to address its social and economic dimensions.
[i] Based on the data that FCAA has gathered, which relies on grants lists submitted by nearly 100 funders directly (representing over 94% of the total funding), grants information from funder websites, grants databases, annual reports, 990 forms, The Foundation Center, and grants flagged as HIV/AIDS-related received by Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
[ii] This particular comparison only includes funders whose data was acquired for both 2015 and 2016.