Coinciding with Friday’s National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day, pharma giant Gilead announced the creation of a new global $20 million fund to help keep struggling healthcare and LGBTQ nonprofits open.
Gilead CARES (COVID-19 Acute Relief and Emergency Support) is the latest financial support initiative from the company best known for manufacturing Truvada, the widely used HIV antiviral drug taken daily by thousands to prevent infection.
The $20 million will take the form of grants to nonprofit organizations already supported by Gilead, like its 139 partners across the southern U.S. and transgender community service organizations like Princess Janae’s Place.
Gilead says many of those groups face immediate closure or termination of vital services due to the economic slowdown. Organizations may receive up to $100,000 each in emergency assistance.
“Around the world, we are hearing from nonprofit organizations that they are struggling to meet the needs of the communities they serve during the COVID-19 crisis,” Brett Pletcher, Gilead’s evp of corporate affairs, said.
“For many years, we have stood with community-based organizations that provide critical support to people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer and other illnesses,” Pletcher added. “It is in recognition of the importance of their work that we are launching this fund to help these groups remain financially sustainable for the long term.”
In addition to the grant fund, Gilead is donating $1 million to the San Mateo County Strong Fund to keep small businesses and individuals afloat in the California city where its corporate headquarters are located. An additional $1 million will go to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, in the city where Gilead’s cell therapy research is conducted through its subsidiary Kite Pharma.
Gilead’s already massive ongoing grant programs gave $400 million to nonprofits around the world last year; most of those groups fall under the company’s therapeutic mandate areas of HIV/AIDS, liver diseases, hematology and oncology, and inflammatory and respiratory diseases.
But many of the nonprofits that Gilead funds are also vital centers of support for the LGBTQ community. Last Nov. 20, to commemorate Trans Day of Remembrance, Gilead gave $4.5 million to 15 transgender service organizations that go beyond HIV-prevention. Organizations like Translifeline (a suicide-prevention and support hotline) and Casa Ruby (which provides emergency housing and other services to at-risk trans people in the Washington, DC area) received a portion of that funding stream.