AIDS Interfaith leading partnership aimed at finding sources to make up for money lost to federal funding cuts for AIDS services
Four North Texas HIV/AIDS service organizations on Wednesday, March 21, announced a collaborative effort to create long-term sustainability of support services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families, to help bridge the gap created by reduced federal funding to these agencies and to initiate collaborative efforts in development, fundraising, operations, programming and services.
Those participating in the new effort, called the Dallas Coalition of HIV/AIDS Services, are AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas, Dallas Legal Hospice and Legacy Counseling Center.
The four organizations together serve more than 2,500 unduplicated clients with HIV/AIDS and provide HIV prevention to more than 20,000 people, according to the Rev. Steven Pace, executive director of AIDS Interfaith, the lead organization in the coalition.
Services provided by the four organizations include an adult day center, counseling, end of life care, HIV education, housing, legal services, meals, outreach, prevention programs, Spanish language translation, substance abuse treatment, transportation and volunteer programs such as buddy services, spiritual support and supper clubs.
“This is just the beginning of a significant strategic alliance,” Pace, the initiator of the coalition.
“Historically, Dallas has been a model of collaboration in programs and services,” he continued. “Through this coalition we are exploring other strategic collaborations that we hope will help us build a secure financial future, sustain these programs for as long as they are needed and help create a less fragmented service system for HIV/AIDS care and prevention.”
Officials said discussions about forming the coalition began in the fall of 2005 in response to the deepening crisis of HIV/AIDS in North Texas and news of potential changes in federal legislation that could lead to reductions of funding of HIV/AIDS support programs. In 2006, the coalition members contracted Liz Cowles, a consultant who specializes in collaborative agency coalition building, organizational structure, resource and proposal development, and strategic planning.
Cowles helped the coalition create a strategic plan containing three phases: Phase 1 includes continued coalition development and the creation of proposals to fund the ongoing collaborative process, as well as to meet operational needs; Phase 2 will include identifying strategic outcomes and priorities and engaging in the collaborative process; and Phase 3 will be finalizing and implementing outcomes.
Pace said that in August 2006, with support of Texas Instruments Inc., the coalition members met with several major Dallas foundations. The Harold Simmons Foundation responded to the coalition’s presentation and granted the group $100,000 to fund the cost of the strategic planning and collaborative process.
The coalition placed the money in an advised fund at The Dallas Foundation and uses this money for expenses related to the strategic process thereby removing the need to use each agency’s operating funds, Pace said. In January this year, the board of directors of the four organizations met and identified individuals that would serve on the steering committee for the coalition.
The Texas Instruments Foundation approved an operations grant of $70,000 last week that will be shared by these four organizations to help alleviate nearly 14 percent of their combined federal funding cuts, Pace said. Similarly, the Communities Foundation of Texas is currently encouraging donors and fund advisors to consider the coalition’s operations grant request of $100,000.
“This is an unprecedented initiative for the North Texas community and North Texans who are living with HIV/AIDS,” said Pace. “[The coalition] is seeking funding for two areas to implement the outcome of the strategic process and to help sustain our day-to-day operations which will ultimately benefit the entire community.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 23, 2007.