Campbell Foundation Awards Emergency Grants During Pandemic

Ken Rapkin, the Executive Director of The Campbell Foundation. Photo via The Campbell Foundation, Facebook.

The Campbell Foundation recently awarded 10 $2,500 grants to nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and who provide direct services to the HIV/AIDS community.

“While our overall mission is cure research, The Campbell Foundation has always stepped in during times of need,” Executive Director Ken Rapkin said in a press release. “The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching local organizations’ resources to their limits and we wanted to help fill some gaps.”

When the late Richard Campbell Zahn established his private, independent, non-profit organization in 1995, his goal was to support clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. 

Now, a quarter of a century later, the Campbell Foundation has given away more than $11 million in grants supporting alternative and non-traditional avenues of research. The organization’s primary role is to prevent and treat patients with HIV/AIDS.

“We have provided emergency grants following natural disasters, fast-track grants to local researchers, as well as our annual year-end [Holiday Hug] grants,” Rapkin added. 

Recognizing the need to fill a growing financial void in South Florida’s LGBT communities, the Campbell Foundation stepped in to assist 10 Florida-based organizations that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

“When COVID-19 hit, there were all of these organizations that have needs,” Rapkin said. “We didn’t know how long this thing would last, but we have the highest number of HIV infections [in South Florida] every year, so we circled the wagons and just started giving grants to organizations in Florida.”

For a quick stopgap, the Foundation gave $2,500 to each organization as a one-time grant with no restrictions. 

Here’s the complete list:

A.H. of Monroe County Inc.

Broward House

Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center Comprehensive Family AIDS Program

Compass

Latinos Salud

Legal Aid Ryan White Program

McGregor Clinic

Poverello Center

SunServe

World AIDS Museum

The organizations receiving these grants will use them for a variety of needs. 

“The Campbell Foundation’s grant helped to make sure that our funding stayed safe too. We’re grateful that this foundation and others have our back, while we have our community’s back,” Stephen Fallon, executive director of Latinos Salud, said in a press release. Rapkin added, “Broward House can put this kind of money towards helping residents, while SunServe will use the grant to support a mental health program, with no strings attached.” 

The Foundation has given out more than $1.5 million to direct services in conjunction with their research. “We’ve also done some natural disaster relief in an area where the underserved HIV population needs assistance,” said Rapkin. “An unrestricted grant is unlike our research grants. While we concentrate on research, this is just our way to give our community partners a little bit of a lifeline; it's just a little bit of encouragement.” 

Three of the local organizations that received unrestricted grants: the Poverello Center, SunServe and the World AIDS Museum, got an even bigger boost because the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was matching donations for its annual AIDS Walk. Even though the walk was postponed because of the pandemic AHF pledged to match the donations anyway.  

“We made donations to them because they guaranteed, in writing, that any funds will be matched whether the event is canceled or not,” said Rapkin, who hopes the event might take place later this year. 

The Foundation still does HIV research, but Rapkin said, “when we go to the board and say hey, we got an emergency here with COVID-19 and they aren't going to be able to see their doctors, or be able to go shopping. Our board is very responsive. The whole thing took one week.” 

Rapkin said the Foundation is one of the agencies that “pick up the slack.” “As small as we are, we’ve funded probably over 175 projects since in our Inception.”


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