By Caterina Gironda
Research & Communications Associate, Funders Concerned About AIDS
The Washington AIDS Partnership is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. This piece is cross-posted from the Funders Concerned About AIDS blog. To read the full article, click here.
The Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP), in conjunction with the D.C. Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA), kick off their $1 million PrEP for Women Initiative this fall. Channing Wickham, Executive Director at the Washington AIDS Partnership and Chair of the Funders Concerned About AIDS Board of Directors, explains that the program emerged after identifying a lack of knowledge and access to the drug amongst African American women in D.C.
PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a drug that when taken regularly can prevent HIV infection if exposed to the virus. While the drug, approved by the FDA in 2012, has seen an uptick in use by gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), knowledge of and access to PrEP has skirted other communities.
“According to HAHSTA’s data, approximately 2.5% of D.C. residents are living with HIV,” Ashlee Wimberly, the Project Coordinator for the PrEP for Women Initiative at WAP explains. “This exceeds the 1% infection rate that the World Health Organization uses to classify a generalized epidemic.” While HIV is not new to the District, the growing rate of African American women infected is, with 1 in 6 new diagnoses occurring among African American heterosexual women, making them the second largest affected group in D.C., behind African American MSM.
As Wickham explains it, “We began asking ourselves, ‘what would a model program to fill these gaps look like?’”
With buy-in from the M.A.C. AIDS Fund, which is providing a generous $1 million, two-year grant, the D.C. PrEP for Women Initiative began.
“A major component of the Initiative will be funding to support innovative projects that address one or more of the initiative’s goals,” says Wickham:
Educating women who are at high risk for HIV about PrEP
Supporting health providers to adopt PrEP into their organizational culture and services, especially those that serve women of color (such as Federally Qualified Health Centers).
Building PrEP capacity by educating health care providers so they are informed about PrEP and will begin to prescribe it.
WAP is also eager to share what they learn through this process to other funders who seek to replicate or create their own initiatives. “There’s plenty of room for collaborating on this,” Wickham offers. “In fact, FCAA’s Annual Philanthropy Summit in December 2016 will feature one of the most important voices for women and PrEP, Dazon Dixon Diallo, on a panel about health equity for women of color.”
This year marks Channing Wickham’s 20th anniversary with the Washington AIDS Partnership. It is always important to recognize such a milestone, but in this case it is especially important. Channing hasn’t just been doing this work for 20 years, he’s been making a difference. It is our pleasure to thank Channing for all that he has done and to showcase what others have to share about his impact.
Channing’s visionary and strategic leadership has changed the lives of thousands of people living with HIV and the nonprofits that serve them. By creating the HIV Report Card and the outstanding AmeriCorps program, and providing deep support to nonprofits as approaches to care have changed, he has made an enormous difference. Channing is the hero of this compelling collaboration, and as the Partnership’s founder, the Meyer Foundation and I are profoundly grateful!
– Julie L. Rogers, President and CEO, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
DC Appleseed has been working closely with Channing since 2003, when he first approached us with the idea that we investigate why DC was leading the nation in the incidence of HIV/AIDS cases and recommend specific steps for addressing the crisis. This led to the issuance of DC Appleseed’s major report on the issue in August 2005, and also to our annual report cards on the subject – the eighth of which we issued last November. This work has helped transform and dramatically improve the city’s response to the epidemic. None of this would have happened without Channing’s leadership, commitment, and support. Not only was it his idea that we do this work, but the work could not have been accomplished without his continuous advice and guidance.
– Walter Smith, Executive Director, DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Inc.
One of the many memorable moments with Channing that stands out was the day I handed him a check for $5.8 million, the largest check I’ve ever held, to secure the AIDS Drug Assistance Pipeline, one of our most innovative collaborations between the Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health. This project saved millions of dollars that would otherwise have been returned to the federal government and ensured that thousands of District residents living with HIV would continue to receive their medications. It would not have been possible without Channing’s vision and commitment. We’ve continued our partnership with the DC Female Condom Project, which received more than $1 million in foundation funding for women’s health and HIV prevention; Positive Pathways, a Social Innovation Fund national demonstration; and our continuing efforts to help community providers in the District build capacity and grow in the new health care landscape. I cannot imagine the progress we’ve made in the city on HIV without Channing. He has made and continues to make an invaluable and enduring contribution to the District’s response to HIV. On a personal note, I treasure his insight and inspiration, our idea brainstorming lunches, and our friendship. Congratulations, Channing, on 20 extraordinary years!
– Michael Kharfen, Senior Deputy Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD & TB Administration
Channing has been a partner to AIDS United for decades. From the early days of the National Community AIDS Partnership to the evolution to the National AIDS Fund to the merger that is now AIDS United, Channing has been a true partner in this work to this organization and our team. Whether it be through AmeriCorps, Access to Care, or Community Restructuring, partnering with WAP has been critical to our success. As new initiatives were developed and new alliances formed, the Washington AIDS Partnership has always been among the first we call for development and execution. This is, in no small part, due to Channing’s leadership. Channing has been a leader in the field and a friend to this organization for the past two decades. We’re in it to end it—and, with Channing as a leader and partner in this work, we will.
– Vignetta Charles, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, AIDS United
Thank YOU Channing for your long standing commitment to the issue of women and girls affected by HIV. You provided our very first real investment grant: it came at a time when we felt like no one was hearing our cries for support or even cared that we were part of this epidemic. Your love, support, and investment sent a clear message that someone cared and it opened the door for other funders to follow suit. Thank YOU.
– Pat Nalls, Founder/Executive Director, The Women’s Collective
In a city flooded with professional do-gooders, returned Peace Corps volunteers, AmeriCorps members, a record number of interns, and a general population of aware and concerned citizens, it’s not easy to feel like you are contributing to something legendary or one-of-a-kind. Those who work with Channing Wickham as part of the Washington AIDS Partnership AmeriCorps team have no choice but to hold their head high. For 18 years, Channing has led groups of 10+ young people in one of the most memorable years of service in their lives. Personally, I know that the mentorship I gained from Channing gave me the confidence to take my life across the country in pursuit of an advanced degree. Yet his own spirit, energy, support, compassion, consideration, friendship, and professionalism is what drew me back to DC and eventually work at one of the agencies where he places AmeriCorps members. I will do whatever it takes to stay within two degrees of Channing Wickham, as it’s pretty obvious that his “touch” goes a long way to making a program successful, fulfilling, and, often, possible.
– Brittany Walsh, Washington AIDS Partnership 2008-2009 AmeriCorps Team Alum
Over the years, I have seen how passionately Channing leads the work of the Washington AIDS Partnership. He is committed to addressing the problem in our region, to mentoring and inspiring the AmeriCorps volunteers, to forging critical partnerships and to working with local philanthropy to maximize impact. Congratulations, Channing on 20 meaningful years.
– Tamara Copeland, President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Channing Wickham is one of the most effective executives I know. It has been a pleasure and a huge learning experience for me to work with him over the past 20 years. The effort to overcome and eventually eliminate HIV has been long and sometimes discouraging. Yet Channing has stuck with it. His optimism, opportunism, and hard work have ensured that the Washington AIDS Partnership has remained in the forefront of the work, regionally and nationally. I look forward to seeing it through – with Channing at the helm.
– Wilton C. Corkern, Jr., Chair, Washington AIDS Partnership Steering Committee and a Trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust
The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Board of Directors, the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Steering Committee, and the WRAG and WAP staff congratulate Channing on his longstanding service and commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
By Channing Wickham Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership
Yesterday, I met with Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010 and AIDS United’s new Mid Atlantic Regional Organizer, along with Jessica Terlikowski, Director of Regional Organizing at AIDS United, to talk about how we can work together in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to advance theNational HIV/AIDS Strategy goals of reducing HIV incidence; increasing access to care and improvement of health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS; and reducing HIV-related health disparities.
By collaborating with state and regional partners and stakeholders, AIDS United will develop, implement, and direct a coordinated national organizing strategy that takes us closer to our overall mission of ending HIV/AIDS in the United States. Though national in scope, this initiative is regionally located so that advocates in neighboring states can address common challenges by exchanging successful advocacy tactics and developing specific strategies to tackle issues that are significant to their geographic region as a whole. In order to ensure AIDS United can achieve the greatest impact, we are prioritizing the most strategic states to include in our regional organizing efforts.
SOCIAL INNOVATION | Following the departure of Sonal Shah, the White House has named Jonathan Greenblatt as the new director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Among other things, Greenblatt helped create All for Good, envisioned as “Craigslist for volunteers.” (Chronicle, 9/15)
JUVENILE JUSTICE | 54th and Cutz teaches youth involved in D.C.’s juvenile justice system how to be barbers. It also provides a strong community – one participant calls it a “community of uncles” – and gives back by offering free haircuts to local residents and the homeless. (WAMU, 9/15)
PREPAREDNESS | Officials in the region are concerned that localdisaster preparedness isn’t sufficient – especially for unexpected events like earthquakes. (Examiner, 9/15) Hindsight is 20/20, but who would have thought we needed to prepare for earthquakes? Should we plan for unexpected volcanoes, too?
COMMUNITY | Inaugural executive director of the Human Services Coalition of Prince George’s County and all-around good guy, Jerry Adams, has announced that he will retire at the end of 2011. Congratulations, Jerry!
HIV/AIDS | The Washington AIDS Partnership’s Jenn Jue cites a Post article about community health workers and talks about the Positive Pathways initiative. (WG Daily, 9/15)
The brand-spankin’ new Fillmore opens in Silver Spring tonight! I can’t wait to check it out. Obviously it will never be as phenomenally awesome as the 9:30 Club, but the more music venues, the merrier, says I.
By Jennifer Jue, Program Officer, Washington AIDS Partnership
The Washington Postrecently profiled Sabrina Heard, a Women’s Collective staff member who is one of twelve Community Health Workers recruited, trained, and funded by the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Positive Pathways Initiative. Positive Pathways is an innovative new project that assists out-of-care HIV-positive African Americans living in Wards 5,6, 7, & 8 to access HIV medical care, with a particular focus on women and their partners.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are placed in community and primary care settings with the goal of identifying out-of-care HIV-positive individuals. CHWs focus on building peer-based trust and informing individuals about the challenges of living with HIV. They provide personalized assistance to help these individuals enter and navigate service systems, and they support them throughout the early part of their medical care until they become fully engaged.
We’re excited that Sabrina was highlighted in the Post. She and her eleven amazing colleagues in Positive Pathways are doing important work to get people back into care.
Positive Pathways is funded through the AIDS United Access to Care Initiative, supported by a grant from the Social Innovation Fund; Consumer Health Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; MAC AIDS Fund; and the World Bank.
REPORT | This morning, WRAG released the latest edition of our annual giving report – Our Region, Our Giving. The report contains comprehensive giving data for 2009, a look at nonprofits receiving funding from local grantmakers, and early estimates for 2010 giving and assets. (WG Daily, 6/15)
HIV/AIDS | The D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration’s annual report shows a decline in new HIV cases, but still finds “more than 3 percent of District residents older than 12 are living with HIV or AIDS, an epidemic rate that has remained stubbornly high for the third consecutive year.” (WaPo, 6/15)
Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, is optimistic that a new Social Innovation Fund supported initiative will address the continued high rates:
The Washington AIDS Partnership believes that through our new Positive Pathways initiative that links HIV-positive District residents – who are currently not receiving treatment – with HIV treatment, we will have a measurable impact on the number of new HIV cases in the city within five years.
PEOPLE | Today is the Worldwide Day of Giving, started by Reed Sandridge after he spent a year giving $10 a day to total strangers in the area. Wetalked to Reed about his work, what he has learned in the process, and how others can get involved. (WG Daily, 6/15)
GIVING | Business Week’s Rick Wartzman says:Philanthropic donors need to understand that “overhead” should not be considered a dirty word when it comes to nonprofit organizations (Business Week, 6/3) Wartzman hits on the same point that Dan Pallotta spoke about at WRAG’s annual meeting in 2009.
Larry Ellison’s team won the last America’s Cup, so he got to choose the venue for the 2013 competition. He picked San Francisco, and I was lucky enough to be on the bay sailing Monday on the first day his new boats began training. They are beautiful and incredibly fast. And apparently on Tuesday, the team flipped a brand-new catamaran over. Oops.
By Channing Wickham Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership
The final numbers are in: the Washington AIDS Partnership raised more than $265,000 from Smash Hits!
The celebrity tennis event featured Sir Elton John, along with tennis legends including Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi, and Martina Navratilova. The evening began with a reception that included both live and silent auctions, and the bidding was intense. One item – an hour long tennis lesson with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf – sold for $50,000!
As foundation, government, and individual giving have all been hurt by the economic downturn, the Smash Hits proceeds, including the record setting auction total, couldn’t come at a better time for Partnership grantees. The funds will be awarded to community groups during 2011 through the Partnerships grantmaking process.
And in case you were wondering whether Elton John actually played tennis…he did!
By Channing Wickham
Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership
In January, I was approached by AIDS United (formerly the National AIDS Fund) to see if the Washington AIDS Partnership would like to help bring the Team to End AIDS (T2) marathon training program to Washington D.C.
Several years ago, there was an AIDS-awareness marathon training program in D.C. but there currently isn’t one. This seemed like a great opportunity to bring T2 to Washington, D.C., raise funds for the Washington AIDS Partnership and much-needed HIV/AIDS services, and get runners engaged in an important health issue.
T2 will train individuals to complete a half or full marathon. Many of the program’s past participants in Chicago were first-time marathoners; it’s a great fit for beginners or experienced runners! Training begins May 14, 2011 for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
The Washington AIDS Partnership is excited to announce a new innovative project, Positive Pathways, which will address barriers to HIV medical care for African-American women living in the poorest neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.
Positive Pathways is funded through the AIDS United Access to Care Initiative, supported by a grant from the Social Innovation Fund. The Partnership must raise a 1:1 match on annual basis to support this important work.
Partners include the Institute for Public Health Innovation; D.C.’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration; Consumer Health Foundation; and local clinics and HIV/AIDS service providers.
By Channing Wickham, Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership
In late August, the Washington AIDS Partnership was approached by Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John to host the 18th annual Smash Hits event in Washington, D.C. Smash Hits is an annual tennis event put on by their organizations, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and World Team Tennis, to raise funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Funds support both local efforts, in this case, through the Washington AIDS Partnership, and national and international work through Elton’s foundation. When they first asked me, I thought it was going to be impossible for the Washington AIDS Partnership to pull this off. But after thinking about the opportunity, and speaking with Tamara about it, I decided that we simply had to say “YES.” Washington, D.C. has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country. The chance to raise visibility and funding for this issue and the region is something we needed to embrace. We’ve said yes to the event, and now we need help from the wonderful community of Washington Grantmakers to help us succeed.
Elton John and Billie Jean King didn’t just create the event – they will be here, and they are bringing tennis legends including Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, James Blake, and Anna Kournikova. The Washington AIDS Partnership’s responsibility is to sell tickets to and put on the star-studded VIP reception and live auction immediately prior to the World Team Tennis Smash Hits tennis exhibition. Our auction items, donated by Elton, Billie Jean, and the tennis stars are incredible, and include Billie Jean’s personal 2011 Wimbledon tickets, a 2011 U.S. Open luxury suite, a Superbowl package, a private tennis lesson given by one of our tennis stars, and a personally signed piano bench by Elton. After the reception and auction, Billie Jean and Elton will each captain a team composed of tennis champions for several fun-filled tennis matches.
The Washington AIDS Partnership needs help in two ways. The most important way would be purchasing VIP reception tickets which are $500 each and include premium seating at the World Team Tennis Smash Hits event immediately following the reception. Another way to help is by sponsoring the evening’s activities, and various sponsorship packages are available. For more information, please contact me at 202-939-3380 or visit http://smashhits.eventbrite.com.