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As a global grant-making organization, the Foundation's mission is to encourage, energize, and empower young people who are involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention campaigns.
The Foundation does this by presenting the Staying Alive Awards to young individuals and youth groups who are focused on stopping the spread of HIV and who have demonstrated the potential to become future leaders. The award comes with a financial grant to assist them in continuing and expanding their work, and provides public recognition to inspire others to get involved.
The Staying Alive Foundation was conceived in 2004. We had, at this point, already been running the Staying Alive Campaign for over six years - and although we were doing amazing work on a large scale using the world's media, what we really wanted to do was connect with young people on a grass-roots level.
We had produced a few documentaries for the campaign - and during filming we would always meet the most amazing and inspiring young people. One particular young man stood out - he was from Uganda - and he was making it his life's mission to raise awareness of HIV in his local area. He had a problem though... he would produce all of his awareness literature by hand. Working during the night - and having no electricity, meant he would work by candle light. It came to the point where he couldn't work as much as he wanted to, as he couldn't afford candles...
We thought, if we could give this guy, who wants to work so hard, just a small amount of money - then he could continue in his fight...
And so it became the Foundation's plan to help young individuals and groups who were actively doing their upmost in the fight against HIV in their own communities. We wanted to assist those that were operating on a small scale, but whose ambition it was to make a big difference. We made a point of giving out small grants, knowing that a little is sometimes all people need in order to really get something off the ground. We continue to do this - never giving out more than $12,000.
We have, and continue to form strong relationships with each individual or group that we fund. Our grant Director and Coordinator, Sara and Louise, speak to each grantee at least once a month. This earns trust and solidifies relationships. It's great for us to know what they're working on - and it's great for them to know that we're here to support them.
So far the Foundation has awarded 304 grants to 149 organisations in 61 countries.
We can continue to do what we do thanks to our generous partners. Special thanks goes to the Body Shop - who have earned the Foundation over $3.7m since 2007.
- Sarah Fulton
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