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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.

2023 ACTION Trauma-Informed Spaces 

Application Deadline: August 4, 2023, 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 www.gileadcompass.com.


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 $10,000 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 and outdoors. Organizations will create a trauma-informed space by applying the six principles of trauma-informed care.

Please note: This funding opportunity is to transform spaces at your organization. We will NOT consider projects that focus on implementing programs (ex: support groups, staff salaries, training, events…). 


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

1. Meetings

  • Two virtual group workshops
    • Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 11am-12:30pm CST / 12pm - 1:30pm EST
      • Workshop 1 - Trauma-Informed Care, Trauma-Informed Design,
        & Photovoice/Storytelling (~1.5 hrs)
    • Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 11am-12:30pm CST / 12pm - 1:30pm EST
      • Workshop 2 - Trauma-Informed Spaces (~1.5 hrs)
  • Three one-on-one coaching sessions
    • August 2023 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience
      • Schedule & participate in a 1:1 coaching call (1hr)
    • September 2023 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (1hr)
    • October 2023 - Scheduled at organization’s convenience
      • Participate in a 1:1 coaching call (1hr)
  • Share Project Success with Photo Storytelling - Virtual Gathering 
    • Wednesday, Novemberr 15, 2023 at 11am -2pm CST / 12pm -3pm EST
      • Photovoice Presentation (~3 hrs)

2. Project

  • Organizations should be prepared to initiate and complete a project centered on trauma-informed principles by creating a space that is trauma-informed and supportive by November 15, 2023.
  • 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.
  • Selected organizations will design and implement their project with the support of the ACTION liaisons (Alejandra Avilés and Dr. Maria Wilson).

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

3. Evaluation and Reporting

Selected organizations are expected to:

  • Provide a final plan for their project by September 22, 2023.
  • Implement and finalize their projects and submit before/after pictures by November 15, 2023.
  • Complete and present a Photovoice presentation to tell the story of their project on November 15, 2023, at an extended virtual gathering.
    • 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 a post-survey at the end of the funding period (November) and a virtual close-out call at the end of the funding period (November).


  • 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 $10,000 per organization. The amount requested should reflect the scope of the project and should be completed by November 13, 2023.
  • Applicants will be notified of our funding decision 7-14 business days after the application closes.

Allowable Expenses

It is appropriate to use ACTION funds to pay for things like materials, meeting expenses, printing, graphic design services, etc. However, 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.

Set Translations

TIP - Things to consider when writing your project narrative: 

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.

Adapted from/ Adaptación de:
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 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.


Accessibility Statement

If the written application process is inaccessible and you would like to apply through a virtual interview, please email our grant leads Alejandra at aaviles3@central.uh.edu and Maria at mwilson3@central.uh.edu to schedule an interview by Friday, July 24, 2023 at 11:59pm (eastern) / 10:59pm (central).

Also, please let us know on Question 7 below how we can support you throughout the funding period, 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 full mission statement? If you do not have a mission statement, include your organization’s long-term goals. 

2. How does your organization serve Transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming communities, Women, Latinx, Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, or Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities?

3. Briefly describe your ACTION Trauma-Informed Space project. Be sure to address the following questions in your short narrative (350-400 words).

    a. Tell us about your project. What space do you want to transform, and why do you want to transform it?

    b. What need are you hoping to meet with your project?

    c. Who will benefit from your project?

    d. How do you plan to meaningfully involve people living with HIV and people with lived experiences who              are most systemically impacted in your project?

    e. If collaborating with others in your community, please indicate the partners and their roles.

    f. How do you plan to share the impact of your project with other funders and the general public                           (ex: podcast, blog, vlog, social media, press, unveiling,  grand opening, etc.)?

4. What is your definition of success for this project?

5. 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?)

6. How will you use the funding (your budget) requested for your project?

7. If awarded, what support do you anticipate needing from the SUSTAIN Center throughout our time together? For example interpretation, accessibility accommodations, admin-related, etc. 

8. We will be in contact with the following listed people from your organization:
     a. Who is your administrative contact (CEO or Director)?
          i. Email and Phone Number
          ii. Role

     b. Who will be managing the project and attending workshops and check-ins? 
          i. Person 1: Email, Phone Number, and Role
          ii. Person 2 (optional): Email, Phone Number, and Role

      c. Who is your fiscal sponsor contact or the individual managing contracts and invoicing at your                              organization?
          i. Email and Phone Number
9. Is there anything we have not asked that you would like for 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.


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