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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.

ACTION Trauma-Informed Spaces (TIS)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2024, at 11:59 pm EST / 10:59 pm CST

This document is to be used as a guide. All applications must be completed via online submission at



ACTION Trauma-Informed Spaces Funding Opportunity

Space (whether physical or virtual) is an integral factor to providing care and meeting the needs of individuals, staff, and communities. Healing, supportive, and affirming spaces can reduce stress, keep individuals engaged in care, and improve community well-being. A workspace focusing on healing and wellness for its staff can boost morale, decrease work-related stress, and promote self-care practices. However, we know that it is difficult to find resources to transform spaces. That’s why we (SUSTAIN Center) developed ACTION (Act with Communities To Increase Opportunities and address Needs in the South) Trauma-Informed Spaces (TIS). 

ACTION Trauma-Informed Spaces is a grant of up to $15,000 that supports Southern HIV service organizations to change their spaces to be more trauma-informed and healing-centered. The space can be anywhere your organization works, such as offices, mobile units, virtual, indoors or outdoors. Organizations will create a trauma-informed space by applying the six principles of trauma-informed care.

What are trauma-informed care and supportive spaces in this context?

  • Trauma-Informed Care is "a [project] program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms in clients, families, staff, and others involved with system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization (SAMHSA, 2014)."
  • A supportive space establishes trust and boundaries, safety guards, promotes autonomy and is gender-affirming, inclusive, culturally responsive, and multilingual (if applicable).


Selected organizations must participate in workshops, 1:1 coaching calls, and final project reporting.Below are tentaive dates:

  1. Meetings
  • Two virtual group workshops 
    • Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 11am-1:00:pm CST / 12pm -  2:00 pm EST 
      • Workshop 1 - Trauma-Informed Care & Trauma-Informed Design (~2  hrs) 
    • Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 11am-1:00 pm CST / 12pm -  2:00 pm EST  
      • Workshop 2 - Trauma-Informed Spaces (~2  hrs)
  • Six one-on-one coaching sessions
    • May  2024 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience 
      • Schedule & participate in a 1:1 coaching call (1hr) 
    • June  2024 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience 
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (~1hr)
    • July 2024- Scheduled at organization’s convenience 
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (~1hr)
    • August 2024 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (~1hr)
    • September 2024 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (~1hr)
    • October 2024 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience 
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (~1hr)
  • Share Project Success with Photo Storytelling - Virtual Gathering 
    • Wednesday, October 23, 2024  at 11am -2pm CST / 12pm -3pm EST 
      • Photovoice Presentation  (~3 hrs)

2. Project

  • Organizations should be prepared to initiate and create/redesign a   space that is trauma-informed and   healing-oriented by October 23, 2024 .
  • Organizations are expected to collaborate with staff, people living with HIV, and community members (ex: artists, designers, consultants, contractors, etc.) in the design, implementation, and evaluation process. 
  • Organizations will design and implement their project with the support of the ACTION coaches , Alejandra Avilés and Dr. Samira Ali.

We are open to all projects. Some project ideas may include but are not limited to:

3. Evaluation and Reporting

Funded  organizations are expected to:

  • Provide a final plan for their project to the ACTION coaches by June 1, 2024 .
  • Implement and complete projects and submit before/after pictures by October 23, 2024. 
  • Present a Photovoice presentation to tell the story of their project on October 23, 2024, at a virtual gathering/meeting  
    • Photovoice is a process that applies photography/photos and sometimes videos to connect and provide a unique perspective from communities and their members. Photovoice encompasses the idea that “a picture is worth 1,000 words” and uses photography to boost a presentation. Photovoice/Storytelling will be discussed in your workshops and coaching sessions. 
  • Participate in evaluation activities. This includes quarterly report surveys, a post-survey at the end of the funding period (October ) and a virtual close-out call at the end of the funding period (October ).


  • Organizations that demonstrate a commitment to serving people living with HIV and people with lived experiences who are most systematically impacted.
  • Be located 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).
  • Be non-profit, tax-exempt organizations as set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or have a fiscal sponsor.

*Organizations that primarily serve Transgender and gender-nonconforming communities, Women, Latinx, Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, and Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities, along with those who serve rural communities and communities most impacted by the HIV epidemic are encouraged to apply (see Ending the HIV Epidemic jurisdictions)


  • Funding of up to $15,000 per organization. The amount requested should reflect the scope of the project.
  • Applicants will be notified of our funding decision 7-14 business days after the application closes.

Unallowable Expenses

While it is appropriate to use ACTION funds to pay for things like materials, meeting expenses, printing, graphic design services, etc., there are prohibited expenses. Funds cannot be used to pay for or offset the cost of any of the following:

  • Medications or purchasing of medications
  • Direct medical expenses, co-pays, co-insurance, insurance deductibles, or imaging and lab expenses
  • Individuals, individual health care providers, or physician group practices
  • Biomedical research or clinical trials
  • Existing deficits of organization
  • Projects that directly influence or advance Gilead Science’s business, including
    • purchase, utilization, prescribing, formulary position, pricing, reimbursement, referral, recommendation or payment for products
  • Government lobbying activities

Please Note: Reimbursement for items/services purchased or initiated prior to the submission of this funding request will not be supported. Organizations that do not complete final assessments and/or reports, or utilize funds for the intended purpose will not be eligible to receive any additional funding from the SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Coordinating Center.

TIP - Things to consider when writing your project narrative: 

Adapted from: 
Committee on Temporary Shelter. (2018). Trauma-Informed Design. How the Physical Environment Supports Recovery from Homelessness. https://cotsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Trauma-Informed-Design.BOD_.pdf
Richardson, J. & Rosenberg, L. Recommendations for Trauma-Informed Design. https://healingattention.org/wp-content/uploads/Trauma-Informed-Design-Summary.pdf

Land Acknowledgement
We wish to recognize the land, stewarded by people of the Coahuiltecan, Karankawa and Ishak (Atakapa) Tribal Nations, upon which the SUSTAIN Center occupies. Our intention is to honor the Indigenous people 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 meaningful relationships with the people and the land. In addition, we recognize the harms experienced by Indigenous people as a result of settler-colonial institutions and practices. While in the process of learning, we are committed to providing organizational funding and capacity building in support of the health and wellness goals determined by the philosophies, customs, traditions, and people of the Tribal Nations.


Accessibility Statement
Guided by our COMPASS values, we strive to be accessible and accommodating to the communities we work with. If the written application is inaccessible and you would like another option to apply, please email the ACTION coach Alejandra at aaviles3@central.uh.edu by February 15, 2024, at 11:59 pm (eastern) / 10:59 pm (central). Requests after February 15, 2024, will not be considered. 

Also, please let us know on Question 11 how we can support you throughout the funding period, such as through email communication, workshops, and check-ins. For example, do you need language interpretation during workshops or other support to help you be successful? Let us know - we are here to support you! 

  1. What is your organization’s mission statement? If you do not have a mission statement, include your organization’s long-term goals.
    1. What does your organization do and who do you serve? 
  2. Does your organization serve Transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming communities, cis and trans Women, Latinx, Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, or Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual communities?  If so, what programs and activities do you do with these communities? 
  3. Tell us about your ACTION Trauma-Informed Space project. 
    1. What space do you want to transform?
    2. Why do you want to transform it?
  4. What need are you hoping to meet with your project?
  5. Who will benefit from your project?
  6. How do you plan to meaningfully involve people living with HIV and people with lived experiences who are most systemically impacted in your project? 
  7. If collaborating with others in your community, please indicate the partners and their roles.
  8. What is your definition of success for this project? 
  9. If you have a fiscal sponsor, tell us about your relationship with them (ex., how long have you been working together; how do they support you to do your work?).
  10.  Download, fill out the following project budget template and upload it here. Please note: We may ask you to make changes to your budget to meet the goal of this funding opportunity.  RFP Budget Template.xlsx
  11. If awarded, what support do you anticipate needing from the SUSTAIN Center throughout our time together? For example interpretation, accessibility accommodations, admin-related, etc. 
  12. We will be in contact with the following listed people from your organization: 
    1. Who is your administrative/financial contact (the person who will be managing contracts & invoicing)?
      1. Name, Email, Phone Number
      2. Role
    2. Who will be managing the project, attending workshops and check-ins? 
      1. Name, Email, Phone Number, and Role
      2. Name, Email, Phone Number, and Role 
    3. Who is your fiscal sponsor contact or the individual managing contracts and invoicing at your organization?
      1. Name, Email and Phone Number
  13. Is there anything we have not asked that you would like us to know about your organization? 


  • If selected, we will actively participate in all aspects of the project through completion (i.e., attending and participating in virtual sessions and evaluation materials, etc.).
  • We understand that at least one staff member will serve as the lead for our team and as the main point of contact for this project.
  • We commit to coming prepared for each gathering and will engage with our peers between sessions, as appropriate, to advance our work.
  • We commit to sharing our project with your organization, other organizations, and the broader community via updates at staff meetings, introduction of new practices, conference presentations, blogs, social media, and other platforms.

Thank you for your 2024 ACTION Trauma-Informed Spaces (TIS) application! 
We look forward to reviewing your application submission. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4884. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


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