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Learning It Together (LIT) Artist Cohort

** If you are an individual who would like to apply for this opportunity, you must have a fiscal sponsorship secured to create a profile and complete the application. Your fiscal sponsor will receive the funds and disperse them to you. View instructions here to create a profile on Open Water **

Faith institutions in the Southern U.S. have long been a cornerstone in African American communities in the Southern United States not only for spiritual and religious guidance, but social change and movements to address racial equity, economic disparities, voting rights, and housing conditions. More recently, faith institutions have begun to address health promotion and disease prevention including HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to advance the ability for a diverse array of congregations, including Christian churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, to develop programs and initiatives or conduct research in their local religious communities that promote positive faith and health outcomes, specifically in the area of HIV.  

Wake Forest University School of Divinity is seeking faith partners to initiate programs to respond to the HIV crisis in the South by shifting narratives away from stigma toward healing and life-enhancing possibilities for those impacted by HIV/AIDS. Our aim is to collaborate with Christian and interfaith partners, create inclusive faith spaces (virtual and/or in-person) for LGBTQ persons and people living with HIV, and educate emerging faith leaders who will impact how communities respond to HIV/AIDS in the future. 

The Learning It Together Artists Cohort will provide funding of up to $10,000 for non-profit organizations( or fiscally sponsored artist) to support the creation and amplification of arts-based projects centered around faith to help reduce stigma and aid in changing the perception of HIV/AIDS in the south. The Faith Coordinating Center will provide potential opportunities for amplification in collaboration with GLAAD and other local, statewide and national media outlets.

We are seeking to fund creative projects that facilitate the creation of inclusive and healing faith spaces (virtual and/or in-person) for LGBTQ persons and people living with and affected by HIV.

Example of funded activities in this focus area might include but are not limited to:

  • Creation of new works of art in the artist’s preferred media (e.g., graphic design, painting, music production, spoken word, screen or play writing, etc.), with a focus on creating works that address HIV-related stigma; reflect the lived experiences of people affected by HIV/AIDS; address faith-based trauma and its intersection with HIV; reflect themes of healing, spirituality, interfaith perspectives, etc.
  • Formalizing an existing program that has been well-received in your faith community (e.g., youth writing or performing program, production of a play or other performance, etc.);
  • Adapting an existing evidence-based intervention to include content that addresses faith at the intersection of HIV- related stigma (e.g., photovoice);
  • Trainings for faith leaders and lay audiences in faith communities to build their capacity to develop content and/or facilitate arts-based interventions
  • Establishing partnerships across interfaith, medical, and/or academic sectors with the arts

LIT Cohort Members will be expected to:

  • Produce work connected to themes about HIV and faith
  • Present their work and/or provide portfolio of completed work

Tips for a Successful Application

  • Clearly articulate how your project will address persons living with and/or impacted by HIV and how your project has a demonstrable faith lens
  • Clearly articulate how you will share your creative work with broader audiences, including, if applicable, the planned platform that will be used for communication (e.g., radio, TV, social media, website, email listserv, etc.), the type of audience you plan to reach, and how many people will be directly impacted by your proposed project
  • Don’t worry about your project being “too small”. We want to support grassroots efforts that can reach deep into the heart of community need
  • Think focused rather than big, broad programs or initiatives. We want to support grassroots campaigns that can reach deep into a community rather than campaigns that try to reach everyone across the spectrum


Grantees will be provided with web-based evaluation tools to streamline data collection processes.  Evaluation support will be provided to grantees. 

There will be two levels of evaluation. The first level takes place within the COMPASS Coordinating Centers to assess success of individually funded programs. The second level will be with ETR, the COMPASS external evaluation partner who will assess the overall success of the Coordinating Centers. It is expected that funded community partners will collaborate on and participate in assessments with the Coordinating Centers to support the COMPASS evaluation efforts.

COMPASS Coordinating Center Level Evaluation
The COMPASS Coordinating Centers recognize that rigorous evaluation is an essential element of project success. Thoughtful evaluation helps us learn from the process of project implementation, develop organizational capacity, enhance community accountability, and identify effective practices. Evaluation is therefore integrated into every aspect of grant-funded projects, from initial project planning to outcome review and reflection. Coordinating Center staff will work with funded community partners to develop project-specific evaluation plans.

Specifically, the Coordinating Center will require each funded partner to submit quarterly reports, which include the following information:

  • quarterly progress made in the project work plans (work plan template provided)
  • media engagement and analytics, if applicable
  • community engagement and analytics, if applicable
  • quarterly financial reports

For Wake Forest Learning It Together partners, you will also be expected to meet quarterly with project coaches supplied by the Coordinating Center and to attend 80% of training workshops offered through the Coordinating Center. Failure to submit quarterly reports, meet with coaches, and attend workshops may result in a request to terminate the funded project and refund remittance. 

COMPASS External Evaluation Partner
Gilead and the Coordinating Centers (CCs) have partnered with ETR to serve as the COMPASS evaluator to facilitate continuous improvement through establishing data-driven programming, monitoring, and evaluation systems. ETR is a non-profit organization that advances health equity by designing science-based solutions and brings nearly four decades of experience in the field of HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health, youth, and families. ETR may contact funded organizations throughout the funding initiative (https://www.etr.org/).

Why might ETR contact me?
ETR collaborates with the CCs to collect evaluation data from COMPASS Community Partners. Detailed roles and responsibilities for ETR include:

  • Developing, implementing, and tracking core metrics for COMPASS
  • Establishing monitoring and evaluation systems for the collection, analysis, and routine reporting of key evaluation data
  • Supporting the development of tools and processes to communicate overall COMPASS impact to key stakeholders
  • Reporting outcomes and recommendations necessary for continuously improving programs and data collection
  • Providing evaluation technical assistance and serving as a thought partner
  • Sharing knowledge on the progress and impact of the initiative to all COMPASS stakeholders through data visualization tools

ETR has a fundamental commitment to centering the voices of community members in order to show the impact of programs. This commitment means we they contact community partners directly to engage in different evaluation activities that capture the impact of COMPASS programs across grants and collaborative learnings. ETR may contact funded Transformative Grant organizations. Some of the activities they may contact you for are listed below. Additionally, there may be other evaluation activities that ETR may ask you to participate in.


  • Most Significant Change (MSC) is an evaluation approach that relies on interviews with participants to learn how community partner involvement with COMPASS led to change in organizations and/or communities. Its aim is to understand and describe community partners’ perceptions about changes within their organizations and the communities they serve.
  • Community Chronicles is a series that follows a subset of COMPASS partners that have received multiple awards across all CCs to tell the story of how participation in multiple programs across CCs have impacted the organizations and the communities they serve. Community Chronicles seeks to show how participation has contributed to the overall COMPASS goals.


  • An online grantee benefits assessment survey will be distributed once a year to COMPASS community partners to capture the full impact and benefit of participating in COMPASS programs.
  • Online partner satisfaction surveys will be distributed annually to community partners to rate their satisfaction with all services received through COMPASS Coordinating Centers

Your participation is ALWAYS voluntary and ETR will always prioritize community safety and confidentiality of participants.

You can contact ETR at compass@etr.org.


Currently, 501(c)(3) organizations (or organizations with a fiscal sponsor) operating in any of the twelve (12) Deep South states (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX) are eligible to apply for support of programs focused on participants in said states. Individuals are not eligible for grant awards.

If your organization is considering multiple grant opportunities from the Faith Coordinating Center or other Gilead COMPASS Coordinating Centers (Houston, Emory, Southern AIDS Coalition), please take the time to research each opportunity to assess them for appropriateness and capacity of your organization to achieve the deliverables. Each Coordinating Center requires funded partners to participate in extensive, required training opportunities and deliverables in addition to the proposed project, which may overextend small organizations. We want you to be successful in your projects, so please only propose projects that can be feasibly completed based on your organizational capacity. We welcome you to reach out to our program staff to discern the most appropriate opportunities for your organization: compass@wfu.edu

Award Amount

Awards are $10,000. The amount of your request should reflect the scope of your project and related expenses.

Award Dates

Deadlines for the Faith Action Grants are due 11:59PM CST, November 6, 2023.  Award notifications will be announced by December 2023 for programmatic work to begin January 1. 

Funding Perimeters

  •   Grant cycle will be from January 1, 2024 – July 31, 2024
    •  Work plans for grant projects should reflect 6 months of work. Proposed projects that do not have plans for ongoing engagement throughout the funding period will not be strongly considered. 
  • Funds must be expended by July 31, 2024. 
  • Quarter activities reports (Due 04/14/24; 07/15/24; 10/31/24) will be required of grantees.
  • Current grantees receiving grant funding from other COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers must make a strong justification for how they are able to handle both awards through personnel and budget resources
  • All grantees must include $1000 in travel expenses in their budgets to accommodate travel (travel, lodging, food) to Faith Coordinating Center and Gilead COMPASS sponsored events
  • This grant will not fund individuals, general operations, endowments, or fundraising events.
  • Grant recipients will be required to provide a narrative report and a budget report at the end of the grant cycle.

Statement about Duplicative Funding:

Grantee has the right during the Term to receive grants and funds from others for any purpose.  By doing so, Grantee does not violate any of the terms or conditions of this Agreement.  However, if Grantee receives “duplicative funding” for the Proposal, Grantee will return such funds to the Faith Coordinating Center within sixty (60) days from the date of notice provided by a third party that Grantee will receive “duplicative funding”.  For the purposes of this Agreement, “duplicative funding” means any financial support, including in-kind, for essentially equivalent work proposed in the Proposal before or during the Term of this Agreement. Nothing in this Agreement entitles Grantee to additional awards, grants, grants, financial support or payments of any kind from Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Allowable Expenses

 Awards can be used to pay for program-related costs, including appropriate staff costs, supplies, technology, incentives, and membership fees for required platforms. However, there are prohibited expenses. You cannot use funds to pay for or offset the cost of any of the following:

  • Medications or purchasing of medications
  • Direct medical expenses, including lab expenses
  • Existing deficits of organization
  • Biomedical research or clinical trials
  • Projects that directly influence or advance Gilead’s business, including purchase, utilization, prescribing, formulary position, pricing, reimbursement, referral, recommendation or payment for products
  • Individuals, individual health care providers, or physical group practices
  • Events or programs that have already occurred
  • Government lobbying activities

Additional Attachments Necessary

Applications must include all required supplemental materials. Applications that do not include all required supplemental materials will be considered substantially incomplete and will not be considered for funding. Templates for supplemental materials are available within the application. In order to have a complete submission and be considered for a grant, you are required to upload the following documents:

1.    Your organization’s 501(c)(3) verification OR 501(c)(3) letter of a fiscal sponsor
2.     Letter of Support from fiscal sponsor (if applicable). This letter should demonstrate fiscal sponsor’s commitment to providing the applicant with financial management of grants funds and administrative support as needed.  
3.    Organizational Operating Budget. The applicant’s 2022 operational budget (not to be substituted by fiscal sponsor’s operational budget).
4.    Grant Budget and Budget Narrative Attachment. A thoughtfully prepared budget demonstrates that you have considered all the costs associated with your request, as well as the resources needed to ensure the project’s success. 
5.    Form W-9. A signed and dated copy of the most recent Form W-9 indicating the taxpayer identification number. 
6.    Work Plan
7.    Diversity Table

Submission Process

Completed proposals are due via the COMPASS Initiative® website (www.gileadcompass.com) by 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, Monday, November 6, 2023. Applications must be completed and received by the deadline in order to be considered. Late applications will not be accepted. We strongly encourage completing the application early to allow for unforeseen technical difficulties. After submission, you will receive confirmation of your application’s submission and will hear from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative® Faith Coordinating at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Independent Review Process

Grant applications will be reviewed by an independent review committee composed of community members from each of the twelve (12) states eligible for funding and representing each of the areas of expertise of the four COMPASS Coordinating Centers.

View the full RFP here.

View the PDF version of the application HERE.

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