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 - was the flagship program for AIDS United (then the National AIDS Fund).
AIDS United has had Community Partnerships in 39 cities or regions in 27 states and the District of Columbia since 1988. These Partnerships were 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, our network of Community Partnerships represented an infrastructure for channeling national resources to local programs across the country that can best utilize that support. At the state and local levels, Community Partnerships served 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 was to raise, leverage and invest resources. The model works like this:
AIDS United collaborated with national and multi-national businesses and philanthropic organizations that provided financial resources to a grantmaking pool or for strategic initiatives. AIDS United then strategically structured and directs those funds to community-based organizations through Community Partnerships around the country. Community Partnerships typically qualify for their grants by raising matching local dollars.
Each Community Partnership determined the best and most efficient distribution of the grant funds in its area, based on the results of a community-based needs assessment. The Partnerships then allocate funds to agencies in their communities coordinating effective HIV prevention programs and providing direct support to persons living with HIV/ AIDS. Community Partnerships often used these private funds to close service gaps where public funds are not reaching.
AIDS United recently transitioned the Community Partnership Program into the Community Investment Restructuring Program, designed to prime a co-hort of those former Partnerships for community transformation. Through cash grants and/or specialized technical assistance, Community Partnerships will be able to assess their community’s needs in response to changes in the HIV/AIDS landscape (the Affordable Care Act in 2014, for example), and begin the process of community restructuring in order to determine an optimal service delivery model.