Elton John AIDS Foundation is Largest Funder of LGBTQ Programs for Black Americans

Mar 13, 2014, 08:00 ET from Elton John AIDS Foundation

NEW YORK, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has been identified by Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the largest funder of programs for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer individuals.

"We are immensely proud to be recognized by Funders for LGBTQ Issues for our work focused on the needs of Black LGBTQ communities," said EJAF founder Sir Elton John. "At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we see the fight for equality for Black Americans and LGBTQ people and the effort to achieve a world without AIDS as one and the same, because racism and homophobia are major drivers of the epidemic."

Black Americans represent only 13% of the population, but account for 46% of people living with HIV in the United States. A new Emory University study presented just last week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections highlighted the urgency of the need for action: in Atlanta, a sample of young Black gay men was shown to have an annual HIV infection rate of 12%, meaning that a young Black gay man becoming sexually active at the age of 18 has a 60% chance of being HIV positive by the age of 30.  Furthermore, the study indicated that these shocking statistics are driven in part by lack of healthcare and high rates of incarceration and unemployment.

"At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we are committed to reversing the tide of HIV infection in the Black LGBTQ community," said chairman David Furnish.  "That is why we awarded more than $1.3 million for programs focused on this disproportionately affected community during 2011-2012 and will continue our work until everyone has access to the prevention methods, care, and treatment they need."

As stated in the Funders for LGBTQ Issues announcement, according to the Williams Institute, there are approximately 1 million "out" LGBT Black American adults living in the U.S.  Based on this statistic, the annual LGBT grant dollars awarded per Black American LGBT adult is $2.90, less than half the national average of $5.78 for LGBT adults in general.

At EJAF, we share a vision of a future without AIDS and a sense of outrage about the unnecessarily slow pace of progress against this epidemic and the continuing denial of basic human rights to the people most affected by this disease. As long as Black Americans and LGBTQ people are denied equal rights and access to quality health and social services, EJAF will continue to fund programs dedicated to securing the health and human rights of Black and LGBTQ individuals. And the Foundation will continue to speak out on behalf of at-risk populations, urging leaders everywhere to join us in achieving an AIDS-free world.

About EJAF

At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) we believe that AIDS can be beaten.  We act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people's lives.  Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993.  Through hard work and with the help of our network of kind, amazing, creative, and generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $300 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS.  The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, while the U.K. foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Join us in speaking out, taking action, and contributing to our efforts to achieve a world without AIDS. 

American Airlines is the official sponsoring airline of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

About Funders for LGBTQ Issues

Funders for LGBTQ Issues seeks to mobilize philanthropic resources that enhance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, promote equity, and advance racial, economic and gender justice.  Working side-by-side with funders and our movement's organizations through three decades, Funders for LGBTQ Issues remains the sole organization dedicated exclusively to increasing institutional giving to LGBTQ communities.

SOURCE Elton John AIDS Foundation