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Land Acknowledgement
We wish to recognize the land, stewarded by Indigenous communities such as the Karankawas and Akokisas, upon which the SUSTAIN Center resides. Our intention is to honor the communities by knowing the land on which SUSTAIN operates. We are actively learning and reaching out to know how to show up in solidarity and be in relationship with the communities and the land. In addition, we recognize the harms experienced by Native people as a result of settler-colonial institutions and practices. While in the process of learning, we are committed to providing funding and capacity building to advance health and wellness goals determined by the philosophies, customs, traditions, and people of the Tribal Nations.

The ACTION (Act with Communities To Increase Opportunities and address Needs in the South) Grant is SUSTAIN’s funding opportunity that supports action-oriented projects in the US Deep South to build or enhance mental health and trauma informed approaches, promote wellness, and strengthen harm reduction approaches in organizations, coalitions, collectives, and groups. The proposed project should be grounded in Meaningful Involvement of People living with HIV (MIPA) principles, Transgender and Gender Non-conforming inclusive, anti-racist/classist/ableist, multi-lingual (if applicable) and accessible to communities disproportionately impacted by HIV.


Interested in learning more about SUSTAIN’s ACTION TGNC opportunity? Meet Bec Sokha, the lead guide for the ACTION TGNC grant.

Watch here

ACTION TGNC is a grant between $20,000 - $25,000 for groups, collectives, coalitions, or organizations that support action-oriented projects, programs, initiatives to enhance and/or reframe mental health services, integrate trauma-informed approaches, promote wellness and wellbeing, and/or strengthen harm reduction approaches to drug use in the context of HIV for TGNC-led organizations to 1) fuel the resistance of TGNC-led groups disproportionately impacted by HIV; 2) advance TGNC affirming holistic wellness or enhance mental health, trauma informed or harm reduction approaches; and 3) promote cross-movement solidarity with ACTION Latinx (a gender neutral term that describes individuals or groups who identify as Latinx, Latino/a/e, Afro-Latinx, Chicano/a, Chicanx/e and/or Hispanic a person of Latin American origin or descent) partners. Organizations, collectives, coalitions, or groups must: 

  • Be TGNC-led
  • Be led by TGNC individuals living with HIV or meaningfully involve TGNC people living with HIV 
  • Have 501c3 status or have a fiscal sponsor
  • Apply by May 17, 2021, 11:59pm (eastern) / 10:59 (central)
  • Further eligibility criteria listed below

If funded, you will receive the following as being an ACTION TGNC partner

  • Between $20,000 - $25,000 in direct funds
  • Training, group coaching, and individual coaching with the SUSTAIN Advocacy Group (SAG), consultant partners, and ACTION Grant Liaisons. Training topics include 
    • Navigating Vendor and Contract Structures
    • Racial Justice and Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV in today’s context
    • TGNC and Latinx Focused Trauma-Informed Practices
    • Sharing Your Story through Public Impact Evaluation (e.g. creating an infographic to share on your website, social media platforms, communities, partners, and other funders)
  • Cross movement solidarity with ACTION Latinx Partners and Communities
    • Shared virtual spaces with ACTION Latinx Partners
    • Group coaching with ACTION Latinx Partners
    • Training on trauma-informed practices with Latinx communities
    • Training on meaningful involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS with a focus on racial justice and addressing anti-blackness across TGNC, Latinx, and migrant movements
    • Language Justice Practices: 
      • Multilingual (English/Español) group sessions with live interpretation
      • ACTION related documents and communication in English and Español

Why was ACTION TGNC created?
We know TGNC Communities in the Deep South...

  • are survivors of traumas related to racism, classism, cissexism, heterosexism, binarism, colonialism, ableism, xenophobia, transphobia, and homophobia
  • are getting together to make movements in the Deep South
  • share collective strength, power, and resistance
  • should lead the way to raise awareness, implement programs, inform the knowledge base, mobilize for advocacy, as well as shape primary health, HIV, and TGNC inclusive and affirming care
  • have limited access to resources and funding
  • are impacted by COVID-19

We are open to all projects, programs, and initiatives. Applications must include the following 3 focus areas as they relate to HIV/AIDS. Examples for each area are listed below:

  • Find each other: strengthen BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) TGNC community connectedness in the South
    • Prioritize BIPOC TGNC physical and virtual spaces to reduce isolation and enhance community connectedness
    • Partner with another BIPOC TGNC led organization in the South to sustain BIPOC TGNC-led resistance through convenings, creating coalitions, supporting a network of membership-led base building, and exchanging intergenerational wisdom
    • Decenter white supremacy and address compounding anti-black and anti-immigrant values and practices in Black and brown TGNC community led spaces
  • Move together: advance health and wellness goals determined by BIPOC TGNC southerners
    • Establish trauma informed approaches and enhance emotional intelligence in BIPOC TGNC-led grassroots organizing
    • Creating and reallocating resources for TGNC migrants in detention centers (e.g. access to TGNC affirming legal help)
    • Transform systems to enhance TGNC inclusion, cultural responsiveness, and access to care, housing, and employment among TGNC communities
  • Make city and/or state level systemic change
    • Advocate for and secure resources for BIPOC TGNC communities such as housing, food, wellness packages, knowledge/skills, BIPOC and TGNC affirmative care 
    • Become meaningfully involved in trauma informed decision making and local policy changes that prioritize BIPOC TGNC communities in the South
    • Mobilize local communities around trans inclusive housing, employment/fair wage, and HIV decriminalization legislation

Accessibility Statement

If the written application process is inaccessible and you would like to apply through a virtual interview, please email our ACTION TGNC grant liaison at bskeo@cougarnet.uh.edu to schedule an interview by May 24, 2021 at 11:59pm (eastern) / 10:59pm (central).


  • Must be TGNC-led: TGNC-led means the majority of people who make decisions (e.g. board, director(s), staff, volunteers, membership, and advisory etc.) of your organization, coalition, collective, or group identify as a gender different than assigned coercively at birth, including but not limited to transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, non-conforming and indigenous genders
  • Must be open to building community with other ACTION TGNC and ACTION Latinx partners
  • Geographic Location: located and doing work on the land of many First Nations Communities - also colonially known as the US South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, or TX)
  • Content Area Focus: project, program, or initiative addresses HIV in the context of one of the following content areas - mental health, trauma-informed approaches, wellness, or harm reduction approaches to drug use
  • Data-driven Storytelling: collaborate with our evaluator, who will be available to support your group with telling your story
  • Non-profit Status or Fiscal Sponsor: be non-profit, tax-exempt organizations as set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or have a fiscal sponsor 
  • Project Period: 1 year 
  • Funding decision announcement: 15 business days after grant application closes

Sample Allowable Expenses (including but not limited to):

  • Project related materials
  • Technology related to the project
  • Training and related costs 
  • Convening expenses, including food, venue costs etc. 
  • Marketing related costs
  • Travel, housing stipends
  • Up to 10% of budget may include COVID-19 and natural disaster relief needs: hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, cleaning supplies, food, transportation etc.

Tips for a successful ACTION TGNC grant application:

  • Clearly describe:
    • how your group is led by TGNC people
    • how your group is led by or meaningfully involves TGNC people living with HIV
    • how your project, program, or initiative will address mental health, wellness, trauma informed approaches, and/or harm reduction approaches to drug use as it relates to HIV among TGNC communities
    • how your project, program, or initiative create change and impact in your community
    • the priority community for your project, program, or initiative (examples: Black/Latinx TGNC migrants, individuals who receive services at your organizations, TGNC youth experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, TGNC individuals with experience in sex work or commercial sex, peer social networks, volunteers, etc.)
  • A complete ACTION-TGNC grant application includes the following
    • Complete application form - please ensure to complete all of the questions. 
      • Contact the ACTION TGNC liaison at bskeo@cougarnet.uh.edu if you find the written narrative is not accessible for you
    • 501(c)(3) verification OR letter from a fiscal sponsor
    • Complete budget template

Application Questions

  • What is your organization’s full mission statement? If you do not have a mission statement, include your organization’s long-term goals. (125 words min - 300 words max)
  • What content area will your project, program, or initiative focus on? Please indicate one or more of the following: HIV and Mental Health, HIV and Wellness, HIV and trauma, HIV and/or harm reduction approaches to drug use. (125 words max)
  • How do you plan to meaningfully involve people living with HIV in your project, program, or initiative? (125 words min - 250 words max)
  • Describe how your group is TGNC-led and how your project will prioritize TGNC communities living with or disproportionately impacted by HIV. (125 words min - 250 words max)
  • How do you envision building community with Latinx groups in the context of your project, program, or initiative?
  • Describe your project, program, or initiative for this funding opportunity in detail. Please refer back to the 3 focus areas listed above (community connectedness, movement building, and systemic change). Briefly describe (300 words min- 500 words max):
    • the project, program, or initiative
    • the need in your community that your project program, or initiative will address.
    • what your project is doing to address the need
    • the intended audience/group
    • how you will implement/complete the project (if collaborating, please indicate the partners)
    • where the project will be delivered or take place
    • how you plan to share about what you learn from your program/project/initiative with other funders and the general public (e.g. podcast, blog, social media, vlog, etc.)
    • a brief timeline
  • What is your definition of impact/success for this project, program, or initiative? (125 words min - 250 words max)
  • If you have a fiscal sponsor, tell us about your relationship with them (ex. how long have you been working together; in what ways do they support you to do your work?)
  • Describe how you will use $20,000 - $25,000 for your project, program, or initiative.
  • If you are using ACTION funds for COVID-19 relief, please describe how the funds will be used. (125 words min - 250 words max)
  • If awarded, what type of support do you anticipate needing from the SUSTAIN Center? (125 words min - 250 words max). Example(s): Support with reminders and deadlines, Communication throughout the duration of grant, Support with reporting documentation to funder, etc.

Glossary of Terms: these terms and definitions are intended to help guide your application process. The terms and our understanding of them are ever evolving.

  • Harm Reduction: an approach and set of practical strategies aimed at reducing negative consequences. We provide capacity building to create and strengthen understanding, systems and programs that focus on harm reduction and meet people where they are, as well as consider the impact of drug use, particularly opioid use, on HIV/AIDS. To know more about principles that are central to Harm Reduction practice visit the Harm Reduction Coalition’s site linked here.
  • Latinx: Describes individuals or groups who identify as Latinx, Latino/a/e, Afro-Latinx, Chicano/a, Chicanx/e and/or Hispanic a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-inclusive alternative to Latino or Latina).
  • Mental Health: The dynamic state of emotional, psychological and social well-being that affects how one thinks, feels and acts, and functions, as well as how one makes decisions, copes with stress and maintains relationships. One’s mental health can be influenced by many factors, everyday life experiences, family history, experiences with systems, and biology. We prepare organizations and service providers to better understand and address the impact of mental health in the context of HIV care.
  • Trauma: General trauma is a defined as the threat of or exposure to, or experience of an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced either directly or through witnessing by an individual that is physically, emotionally or psychologically harmful or life threatening that has lasting adverse effects on an individual’s functioning and well-being. Historical trauma is defined as the complex, and collective, and cumulative general trauma or emotional and psychological wounding experienced across generations (and over time) by a group of people who share an identify, affiliation and/or circumstance. We work with organizations to build capacity on how to respond empathetically to individuals dealing with past and/or present trauma.
  • TGNC: Describes groups or individuals whose gender is different than assigned coercively at birth, including but not limited to transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, non-conforming and indigenous (TGNC) genders.
  • Wellness/Wellbeing: While there is no consensus on a single definition, well-being is defined as the balance of the various interrelated dimensions of an individual’s life, including: 1) physical, 2) psychological, behavioral, and emotional, 3) spiritual, 4) environmental, 5) social, 6) financial and economic, 7) intellectual, and 8) occupational and employment factors.
  • BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.


Please return to the Home Page to apply for this funding opportunity.