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Let’s Bring Some Clarity to Compliance!

AIDS united logoMany HIV/AIDS organizations, including AIDS United Exit Disclaimer, receive grants from the federal government for the programs we develop and implement that are helping us to bring about the end of HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world. Without these federal funds, many of our community’s critical, life-saving programs would not exist or be drastically limited.

So during these times when many of us are working to serve more people with fewer available resources, it is more important than ever that we remain accountable and transparent with the use of our federal funds, and reaffirm our commitment to being compliant with the requirements of our grants. This depth of rigor might be challenging or stressful for community-based HIV organizations that are new federal grantees or with those that may be experiencing increased scrutiny from federal partners.

AIDS United is hoping to help minimize some of that stress with our new “Commit to Compliance” toolkit Exit Disclaimer, an internet-based “Prezi” presentation that features instructions, tips and tactics, as well as downloadable, printable resources, all designed to demystify the process of maintaining compliance with the requirements of federal grants.

Compliance with our federal grants has always been a priority for us. Historically, we received federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help implement its Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS program in the late 1990s, and from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) through the organization’s AmeriCorps program which since 1994 has supported the first HIV-focused AmeriCorps program Exit Disclaimer in the country.

And it was our grant from CNCS’ Social Innovation Fund (SIF) for our Access to Care Exit Disclaimer initiative in 2011 that helped us strengthen our compliance even more. The SIF grant came with additional responsibilities in accountability and transparency with an increased level of compliance rigor, because we re-grant the funds to community-based organizations to develop innovative solutions to get people living with HIV/AIDS into life-saving care.

Our work with the SIF inspired us to develop a technical assistance plan for our fellow community-based HIV/AIDS organizations that is based on our first-hand experience with compliance challenges. The “Commit to Compliance” Prezi is our first tool in that plan.

“Sharing knowledge that can be practically applied is core to the Social Innovation Fund’s model,” said Michael Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Social Innovation Fund. “That’s why we’re delighted that AIDS United has taken the initiative to make this terrific compliance toolkit publically available. This toolkit brings a clear, concise approach to what can be a difficult process for many small, community-based organizations.”

We really hope to show our colleague HIV/AIDS organizations — in a fun and easy-to-understand way — that compliance is so much more than just following the rules for the funder. In fact, compliance is a pledge of integrity and transparency to all stakeholders of an organization. It’s a commitment to our funders, our community, and clients. It is the organizational and financial framework on which innovative and effective programs are built. Those innovative and effective programs are going to help us bring an end to HIV/AIDS in our lifetime!

AIDS United’s “Commit to Compliance” presentation is available here Exit Disclaimer. For more information about compliance issues for federally-funded community-based organizations, contact me at bward@aidsunited.org.

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