Social Innovation Fund Application Review Process

In July, 2010, AIDS United was awarded a grant from the Social Innovation Fund, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), to significantly expand the scope of its A2C initiative in support of 10 innovative, collaborative projects to improve individual health outcomes and strengthen local services systems, connecting economically and socially marginalized individuals living with HIV to high quality supportive services and health care. In early February, 2011, AIDS United finalized grant awards to 10 innovative community-based programs to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. Below is a description of the review and award process.

Request for Proposals

AIDS United released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in September 2010. The RFP encouraged applications that included a focus on marginalized, underserved populations that traditionally have less access to, and retention within, medical care.  Additionally, the RFP sought innovative solutions to problems that have existed for PLWH/A since the beginning of the epidemic - intersecting structural barriers to HIV care that include: systems of care that do not address health needs with cultural competency, a lack of quality HIV care in rural or impoverished areas, lack of treatment self-efficacy among PLWH/A, stigma and its impact on prevention, care and treatment deficiencies, the individual-level dynamic that is the result of HIV infection being only one of many competing health and well-being challenges. Proposals were expected to focus on identified population groups that experience the greatest challenges accessing and remaining in healthcare in the applicant’s geographic areaand were required to include at least two collaborating agency partners. AIDS United provided three technical assistance calls for applicants prior to the RFP deadline to clarify the focus and requirements of the RFP and to address specific questions from applicants. For additional information about the RFP, please see the attached appendix.

External Review Process

Proposals were assigned to an External Review Committee comprised of eight experts in the fields of HIV/AIDS, public health, program evaluation and strategic philanthropy. One of the eight reviewers was an AU staff member. Each proposal was read and scored by three reviewers.

Reviewers met in person to discuss all proposals and selected a group of finalist applications. All finalist applicants were either visited in person or were contacted via a conference call. These meetings consisted of clarifying proposal items, confirming application details, and discussing SIF requirements in further detail.

After finalist meetings were concluded, the review committee met again to review meeting results and make final recommendations to AU on applications to approve based on application merit and available funding.

Application Follow-Up

Funded applicants were notified by phone call and letter. Non-funded applicants were notified by letter. All non-funded applicants were offered the chance to have a 30-minute phone call with AU staff to discuss their application and hear feedback from the External Review Committee.


AIDS United is committed to maintaining a transparent application process. Aggregate reviewer comments about funded applications, as well as all funded application materials, are available upon request. Please e-mail all requests to