Philanthropic HIV Funding 2019: $706 Million

On May 6, 2021, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) released its 18th annual Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS report for calendar year 2019, showing an increase of $49 million (seven percent) from 2018, for a total of nearly $706 million. This is the highest level of private philanthropic giving since FCAA began tracking HIV-related philanthropy almost 20 years ago.

However, FCAA noted that the rise was driven almost entirely by a single, $100 million investment in HIV research from the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Foundation and thus skews what would have otherwise been an overall decrease in HIV-related philanthropy.
The annual report analyzes data on more than 5,000 grants, awarded by 264 foundations in fifteen countries, and identifies gaps, trends, and opportunities in HIV-related philanthropy. The study enables philanthropic donors to make informed decisions about where their resources are most needed.

Some 264 funders were analyzed in the report on 2019. The top funders accounted for 92% of the year’s total. Just five years ago, the top twenty funders accounted for only 80% of total giving. Furthermore, the top two funders——The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gilead Sciences, Inc.——represent over 50% of grantmaking each year. The report also notes that the vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS reside in low- and middle-income countries, yet HIV-related philanthropy aimed at those countries decreased by 32% from 2018 to 2019. Further, while key populations and their sexual partners account for most new global HIV infections, HIV-related philanthropy for key populations decreased 12% in 2019 from 2018.

“As we’ve seen in the past several reports, philanthropic resources for HIV/AIDS have remained relatively flat at a time when we can ill-afford stagnation,” said Channing Wickham, FCAA’s Board Chair, in a prepared statement. “What’s more, the number of funders is shrinking, with the majority of grants given by just a few grant-makers. This puts us in a very vulnerable position should the priorities of an ever-smaller number of investors shift.”

Funders Concerned About AIDS is a philanthropy-serving organization founded in 1987 to push philanthropy to respond to HIV/AIDS. FCAA informs, connects, and supports philanthropy to end the global HIV pandemic and build the social, political and economic commitments necessary to attain health, human rights, and justice.

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.