Metro Weekly

Gilead Sciences will give up to $20 million to LGBTQ nonprofit grantees affected by COVID-19

Organizations can apply for up to $100,000 each to supplement lost revenue and maintain operations

Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences headquarters in Foster City, Calif.

Biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has announced it will offer up to $20 million to support LGBTQ nonprofits that may be experiencing financial hardship or facing imminent closure due to fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has launched the Gilead CARES (COVID-19 Acute Relief and Emergency Support) Grantee Fund, which seeks to support organizations that have received grants from Gilead in the past, such as those earmarked for HIV prevention, working with aging populations with HIV, or transgender health initiatives, yet may not have the financial wherewithal to continue daily operations or continue serving the same volume of clients.

“The Gilead CARES Grantee Fund is a $20 million commitment to support currently-funded nonprofit organizations, across all of our therapeutic areas, both domestically and globally, that are experiencing financial crises due to COVID-19,” says Darwin Thompson, the associate director of corporate giving for Gilead Sciences.

“Organizations can apply for up to $100,000 for shifting to remote working conditions due to social distancing, lost revenue from fees for service contracts with state and local governments, lost revenue from canceled or postponed fundraising events, or decreases in individual donations,” Thompson added. “They can apply to support essential staffing, for funding for personal protective equipment, increased technology costs — such as switching to HIPAA-compliant platforms to do virtual work — or any other costs associated with COVID-19 disruptions.”

Organizations that have received grants from Gilead within the past two years are eligible to apply for support, and are encouraged to submit an application through the company’s online grants portal.

Once there, they will be prompted to answer five questions about the organization, such as how much money it has in reserve, or how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their day-to-day operations. 

An internal review committee will review the applications and allot a specific amount of money based on an individual organization’s current financial need and overall budget.

The fund could potentially support more than 200 organizations across the globe, particularly since not all organizations will ask for — or be granted — the maximum amount of $100,000.

Locally, some of the nonprofits who would be eligible to apply for support include the LGBTQ community center Casa Ruby, Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., community health center Whitman-Walker Health, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, HealthHIV, One Tent Health, Advocates for Youth, Community of Hope, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Other potential beneficiaries would include the Richmond-based Nationz Foundation, the Falls Church-based NovaSalud, AIDS Action Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc., and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

See also: Politics of Prevention: Us Helping Us’ DeMarc Hickson on the future of HIV/AIDS

Thompson says that Gilead will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, and will likely make a decision within two weeks of an application’s submission. Once approved, the organizations will receive a lump sum of their total grant money within seven days.

Thompson says Gilead will be working one-on-one with each of its grantees to assess their need and ensure they can remain operational, which has required them to be flexible when it comes to the services that grantees are expected to provide in exchange for the money they’ve previously accepted.

“We’re being really flexible with our current grantees who have programmatic grants,” notes Thompson. “We are providing no-cost extensions for organizations if they won’t meet their deliverables due to COVID-19. We are also allowing grantees to reallocate resources from programmatic purposes to general operating to better support the organizations’ current needs. We are also providing extension for the submissions of final requests and budget reconciliations, because we recognize we need to be flexible with our grantees at this moment so they are responding to this crisis and the needs of their clients.”

Thompson says the chief aim is to ensure that the nonprofits, which serve as partners in the fight against HIV and other diseases, could remain operational during this difficult time.

“We heard from a number of grantees that they weren’t in a position to rapidly adapt to these conditions, to social distancing measures, to working remotely, because a lot of the funding they relied on, from galas to individual donations, was going to decrease due to the pandemic,” he says. “So we outlined a plan to support them, and this is what we thought we could do to ensure these organizations remained solvent for the long term.”

For more information on the Gilead CARES Grantee Fund, visit

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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