Press release

New reports on U.S. and European philanthropic support to HIV/AIDS in 2008

U.S. and European philanthropic funding for HIV/AIDS has decreased among most funders since 2006.

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New York, N.Y. and Brussels, 17 November 2009 – Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and the European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG) released new reports today documenting that HIV/AIDS-related philanthropy in 2008 totaled $618 million among U.S.-based philanthropies and €91 million ($134 million) among European-based philanthropies.

While total HIV/AIDS philanthropy funding among U.S.-based funders increased in 2008 over 2007 by approximately $63 million (11%), this is only due to an increase in funding by the world’s largest private foundation engaged in AIDS work, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Without funding from the Gates Foundation, estimated expenditures by U.S.-based philanthropies remained flat from 2006 to 2007 and decreased slightly (by approximately 3%) from 2007 to 2008. The reports show that total funding for HIV/AIDS by European-based philanthropies was lower in 2008 compared with 2007 by approximately €1.7 million (1%), and total funding has decreased by approximately €5 million (7%) since 2006.

“Private philanthropic donations make a significant contribution to the AIDS response, notably in supporting critical research and for HIV prevention and treatment programmes for key populations and people at higher risk of infection,” said Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). “However, we are still facing tremendous challenges and the continued commitment and support from philanthropic donors is essential for an effective response to the epidemic.”

The reports are released amidst growing attention on the now vulnerable global financial response to the AIDS epidemic. FCAA and EFG, joined by UNAIDS, commend the vital and momentous work of HIV/AIDS funders in 2008, but express concerns about the decrease in total funding among European funders and U.S. funders other than the Gates Foundation since 2006.

Current economic and epidemiological realities demand greater resources for HIV/AIDS, not acceptance of stable levels, and more effective uses of the resources at hand. “Funders should be creative and committed in their efforts to increase HIV funding and to sharpen the focus and impact of their existing HIV/AIDS programs,” said Astrid Bonfield, EFG Chair, “to sustain the momentum made and ensure support to people living with and affected by HIV, even in tougher financial times.”

While the recent global economic crisis has meant that increasing or even maintaining a stable level of HIV financing through 2008 has been a challenge for some funders, the needs of individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS have not levelled off since 2006; they continue to grow. The economic downturn has exacerbated the situation as it disproportionately impacts poorer countries, home to the vast majority of the tens of millions of people affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Private philanthropic funders have a unique opportunity to fund populations and issues that governments and other donors are reluctant to prioritize because they are too specific or controversial,” said John Barnes, newly appointed Executive Director of FCAA. “These are the programs that are more vulnerable to public budget cuts because they have less political support.”

Other key findings include:

  1. In both the U.S. and Europe, HIV/AIDS-related philanthropic funding remained concentrated among a relatively small number of funders in 2008. In the U.S. the top 10 funders (ranked by total expenditures) accounted for 82% of all HIV/AIDS-related expenditures, and 84% of all expenditures amongst the top 10 funders in Europe.
  2. The majority of funding by both U.S. and European-based philanthropies in 2008 was directed to addressing the epidemic outside of these regions (84% of all U.S. and 63% of all European HIV/AIDS philanthropic expenditures).
  3. Projections by U.S.-based funders for 2009 suggest that HIV/AIDS-related funding will decrease, with 42% of funders forecasting anticipated decreases for 2009, and only 15% of funders expected their funding to increase in 2009. Among European-based funders, projections suggest that HIV/AIDS-related philanthropy funding levels may increase, with 60% of funders forecasting anticipated increases for 2009.

UNAIDS, FCAA and EFG emphasize that philanthropy has a critical role to play in the AIDS response on the basis of flexibility, ability to innovate and take risks, and political independence.

The FCAA and EFG annual resource tracking reports intend to inform stakeholders about the overall distribution and trends of U.S. and European HIV/AIDS philanthropic funding, to facilitate greater co-ordination and transparency among funders and encourage expanded philanthropic support for HIV work.

About FCAA

Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) was founded in 1987 with the goal of mobilizing philanthropic leadership, ideas and resources - domestically and internationally - to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its social and economic consequences. FCAA is the only U.S.-based organization comprised of and for private philanthropic institutions engaged in the response to HIV/AIDS.

About EFG

The European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG) is a knowledge-based network dedicated to strengthening European philanthropy in the field of HIV/AIDS. The group aims to mobilize philanthropic leadership and resources to address the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and its social and economic consequences and to promote an enabling environment for strategic, creative and independent giving in this field.

About UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) brings together the efforts and resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and ten UN system organizations in the AIDS response. The Secretariat headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland—with staff on the ground in more than 80 countries. The Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. Contributing to achieving global commitments to universal access to comprehensive interventions for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is the number one priority for UNAIDS. Visit the UNAIDS website at www.unaids.org  

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