Targeting AIDS – Building support systems

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO — the 10-year-old Guilford Community AIDS Partnership has revamped itself in an effort to be the main matchmaker and source of funding and organizational know-how for local groups serving people with HIV and AIDS.

The partnership, formed in 1991 as a vehicle for Guilford County’s three big hospitals to provide funds for AIDS groups, has named a new board, hired its first executive director and begun to provide technical support to local nonprofits.

After raising and handing out roughly $800,000 since it was formed, the group raised no money in 1999 and handed out only $15,000 last year.

This year, however, it aims to raise $250,000 for its more than 30 member agencies, says Kristy Caradori, its new executive director and former director of development and public relations for the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina in Greensboro.

A longer-term goal, she says, is to significantly build the group’s endowment, which totals $20,000 and is housed at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

“In the long run, we’d like to see our organization become the lead funder in the community for HIV/AIDS, with an endowment that would give us some protection against the fluctuations in the economy or in other funding sources,” she says.

Most of the early funding for the partnership was provided by Moses Cone Health System and Wesley Long Community Hospital in Greensboro – which merged in 1997 —

and High Point Regional Hospital. The National AIDS Fund in Washington, D.C., matched dollars raised by the partnership, which also received funding from other foundations.

But with a rise in the number of local residents with HIV and AIDS, the spread of the disease to new demographic groups and an increase in the number of agencies serving infected people, the partnership last year took a hard look at itself.

The board, which had consisted mainly of white men, has been entirely replaced. It now includes seven blacks, eight whites and two Hispanics – with 10 women and seven men.

Members of the board range from its chairman, Dr. John Campbell, an infectious disease physician at Moses Cone, to heads of AIDS agencies and people infected with the disease.

“Needs are changing and the face of AIDS is changing and our board needed to change to reflect that,” Caradori says.

More women and minorities are getting the disease, which in its earlier days was associated mainly with gay white men.

The partnership also has begun helping AIDS groups strengthen themselves as organizations, apply for grants and measure the impact of their services, says Caradori, who this spring will earn a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University.

The partnership also is working to help its member agencies work more closely with one another. And it plans to create a Web site featuring statistics, information and resources about HIV and AIDS.

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