This report—commissioned by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)—highlights how marginalized communities have been impacted by COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally and what their key evolving needs have been as the pandemic has progressed; provides re ections on lessons learned from private funders’ emergency COVID-19 response; and presents a set of recommendations for funders, global health institutions, and governments—including the new U.S. administration—for their efforts going forward. The learning and recommendations are based upon and informed by a review of surveys, reports, and rapid assessments produced by HIV-related funders, philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), research institutions, and global, regional, and national networks representing the populations of focus1 for the learning effort, as well as over 30 interviews with funders, networks, community-based organizations (CBOs), and individual activists, which were conducted by an external consultant team from November 2020 to February 2021.
The key underlying theme running through-out this report, and the most commonly expressed reflection from CBOs, networks, and the funders who support them, is that the challenges and stresses highlighted by the pandemic are not new for people living with or at risk of HIV, especially in the case of LGBTQ individuals and communities of color in the U.S. and key populations globally. These challenges re ect the structural, systemic issues that have disproportionately affected these communities for decades, and continue to do so.
The pandemic has deepened existing inequalities and vulnerabilities but did not create them. During the rst 12 months of COVID-19, marginalized and criminalized communities have struggled first and foremost with basic survival needs—food, shelter, cash—which funders have tried to partially address through emergency grantmaking, especially as these groups have largely been excluded from governmental humanitarian responses. Governments and philanthropic entities seemed to have minimal communication, particularly in the U.S. context, causing overlaps in funding in some areas, while leaving other important areas unfunded.