Collaborative Learning

Connecting, Building, and Learning Together

Collaborative Learning Opportunities allow organizations to come together and learn how to build their organization’s infrastructure, implement best practices, and connect with subject matter experts with colleagues doing similar work. Three different collaborative learning opportunities are offered through the Gilead COMPASS Initiative® : Pilot Partners, The PoWER Institute, LEARN, & Learning It Together (LIT). Pilot Partners is led by Southern AIDS Coalition and provides an opportunity for six (6) organizations annually to cofacilitate these interventions in their community. The PoWER Institute is led by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and consists of multi-session cohorts of agencies receiving intensive capacity building and organizational development assistance from expert staff and coaches in various areas of organizational development. LEARN is an intensive strategy for supporting organizations with transforming organizational practice over the course of a six (6) month period, led by the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Learning It Together is led by Wake Forest University School of Divinity. LIT is a cohort-based educational program for faith-based and organizational leaders.


Pilot Partners

There is a pronounced need to design, implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma for people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Pilot Partners Applications Are Closed

There is a pronounced need to design, implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma for people living with HIV (PLHIV). This need is greatest in the Deep South, a subset of nine (9) states that is a significant driver of the HIV epidemic in the United States. PLHIV in the Deep South experiences considerable HIV-related stigma. This stigma, particularly when internalized, is associated with negative health outcomes, including poorer medication adherence and missed medical appointments. Consequently, fewer Southerners living with HIV receive timely medical care and treatment, fewer have their virus suppressed, and a disproportionate number are missing out on the opportunity to preserve their health and avoid transmitting the virus to their partners. Mortality in the South remains alarmingly high as a result, with death rates in some southern states reaching nearly three times higher than the national average.

The Southern AIDS Coalition is seeking to partner with four (4) community-based organizations to implement and evaluate the following HIV related stigma reduction interventions:


  1. LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Advocacy Development) Academy: A health promotion intervention with the TOT model (spanning 2 nights and 2.5 days) designed to combat HIV-related stigma by training PLHIV to be leaders, educators, and advocates in their communities. The curriculum was created by and for people living with HIV in the South, and all content is delivered in-person and on-site by PLHIV in conjunction with subject matter experts and local partners. Upon completion of the LEAD Academy, participants graduate as “Southern LEADers” with advanced knowledge of HIV, real-world experience with advocacy, and the skills to serve as leaders and trusted sources of information within their communities. LEAD Academy is most appropriate for PLHIV who already understand the basic facts of HIV transmission and advocacy and who are ready to serve as leaders within their communities.


  1. Younity Workshop: A two-session group-level intervention that teaches PLHIV techniques and skills to reduce internalized HIV-related stigma. The intervention is based on the HIV Stigma Toolkit developed by the International Center for Research on Women, and the materials were originally adapted for use among women in the United States by researchers at the University of Washington. We have further adapted the intervention for use among men in the U.S. South. Younity Workshop is most appropriate for PLHIV who are newly diagnosed or who are struggling to accept their HIV diagnosis.



Criteria Description
Non-Profit Status Applicants must be non-profit, tax-exempt organizations as set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Applicants that do not hold 501(c)(3) status must have a fiscal sponsor to apply.
Geographic Location Applicants must be located in and doing work in one of nine (9) Deep South states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas.
 Implementation Period Your campaign should be able to be implemented within six (6) months of approval.
Evaluation Applicants must agree to work with our evaluation partners, if funded, to help measure the impact of the funding support provided. All organizations will also be required to complete a brief organizational survey before funds can be dispersed.

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The PoWER Institute

The PoWER (Partners Working for Enhanced Results) Institute is the Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center’s most intensive strategy for assisting organizations with transforming organizational practice, improving systems and operations, and ensuring data driven service outcomes.

2023 PoWER Applications Are Closed

Take Your Program to The Next Level with PoWER Forward!

Are you an established organization looking to develop sustainable programs that benefit your community and attract funders?

Join our 2023 PoWER Forward cohort and gain the knowledge and skills you need to enhance and transform your programing. PoWER Forward is a 7-month intensive collaborative learning opportunity. Our experienced coaches and integrated curriculum covering all aspects of a community program, from design to funding, and incorporates the necessary communication skills to engage with collaborators along the way.

PoWER Forward will help participating organizations learn how to:

PoWER Forward participants will learn to Develop an effective program framework including a solid work plan, project timeline, evaluation plan, and realistic budget; Design and develop successful proposals that are logical, reasonable, and feasible to secure funding for the organization’s programs; and effectively market the program to both funders and the community.

Theory in Practice!

Got a program that flopped? Or a brand new idea? Bring it to PoWER Forward!

PoWER Forward is unique and effective because it goes beyond theory, giving our participants the opportunity to refine old programs or develop new ones! Our skilled instructors will provide mentorship and feedback about the real programs you are creating!

Invested in Your Development

All participating organizations receive $10,000 to support programmatic development!!

Upon completing all the course requirements, participating organizations receive a stipend totaling $10,000. These funds can be used to support program costs, staff time, and the implementation of special projects and activities conducted throughout PoWER Forward, including capacity building activities or additional services and consultants.

PoWER Forward Timeline: 2023 Cohort 

Application Due: March 20, 2023
Notification of Acceptance April 10, 2023
Bi-weekly Webinars Thursdays, 9 am – 12pm EST
First Session May 4, 2023
Final Session December 14, 2023

PoWER Forward is intended for established organizations. Not sure if your organization qualifies. Find more information and eligibility requirements here.

Application deadline is Monday, March 20, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST. Any incomplete and late submission WILL NOT BE REVIEWED or CONSIDERED for participation. 

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These trainings focus on building organizational capacity and increasing shared knowledge among HIV/AIDS-serving community-based organizations.

LEARN HR Applications Open Now to March 13, 2024

LEARN TILS Applications Open Now to March 15, 2024

SUSTAIN is excited to announce the launch of our sixth cohort of LEARN Harm Reduction (HR), which will be co-facilitated by SUSTAIN Program Coordinator Katie McCormick and community-based expert consultant Sandra Chavez! Sandra is the Director of Social Wellness at Austin Sexual Health and Wellness (ASHwell) and has 15+ years of experience working at the intersections of HIV, housing, and harm reduction in the Southern U.S., Katie and Sandra are thrilled to facilitate another cohort of LEARN HR!

LEARN HR consists of virtual group and coaching sessions over the course of 7 months. Four to six organizations will be selected for each cohort. Organizations should also be prepared to design and complete a new project or activity centered around harm reduction within the 7 months of LEARN HR. Organizations can expect to contribute up to 6-8 hours a month to LEARN HR meetings and activities. Organizations will receive a $13,000 stipend to support costs related to project implementation and participants’ travel to the in-person gathering. No prior knowledge around harm reduction is required to participate in LEARN HR.

After LEARN Harm Reduction, participants will be able to:

      • Recognize the realities of structural oppression (ex: racism, poverty, past trauma) and other social inequalities that affect people’s vulnerability and capacity for dealing with harm.
      • Practice non-judgmental, non-coercive service provision with communities they serve.
      • Apply new harm reduction knowledge by creating and implementing a harm reduction-centered project.

What Partners Have to Say About LEARN HR

“All HIV organizations would benefit from participation. We enjoyed every session but [the most valuable [thing was] the one-on-one sessions.” – 2019 Cohort Member

“We definitely enjoyed hearing from/learning from the different organizations. Everyone in our LEARN group was awesome. This was a great experience.” – 2020 Cohort Member

“I think LEARN HR is one of the best tools I can have in the work I do. This class is a treasure in my life.” – 2021 Cohort Member


About LEARN Trauma-Informed Leadership and Supervision
The SUSTAIN Center is excited to announce the launch of our third cohort of LEARN Trauma-Informed Leadership and Supervision (TILS), which will be developed and facilitated in collaboration with Lladira Aguilar, Capacity Building Assistance Manager with SUSTAIN. No prior knowledge around trauma-informed care is required to participate.

Four to six organizations will be selected to receive a $20,000 grant for this year’s cohort.

After LEARN TILS participants will be able to:

      • Understand how intersectional systemic oppression and traumatic events impact individuals and their functioning in the workplace, particularly for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous staff.
      • Connect the principles of trauma-informed care to their daily work and organizational mission.
      • Apply the core components of trauma-informed leadership and supervision through the successful implementation of a project.
      • Describe how trauma-informed leadership and supervision supports staff and client wellbeing.
      • Apply multiple trauma-informed leadership and supervision strategies in their respective environments.

Learn more information and eligibility requirements here.


How To Apply
To be eligible for participation, applications will be available online. Interested organizations should submit a completed application online by:

    • LEARN HR: Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 at 11:59pm EST
    • LEARN TILS: Friday, March 15th, 2024 at 11:59pm EST


View a PDF version of the LEARN HR application here. 

View a PDF version of the LEARN TILS application here. 


Stay Tuned, Applications Open Soon!

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Learning It Together Artists Cohort

Learning It Together is a key feature of the Faith COMPASS Coordinating Center at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. This cohort-based educational program will create collaborative knowledge, increase capacity, and foster partnerships among participating faith and/or nonprofit leaders.

2023 LIT Applications Are Closed

The Learning It Together Artists Cohort will provide funding of up to $10,000 for non-profit organizations 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.

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 and present their work and/or provide portfolio of completed work.

Artist-in-Residence will be expected to:

Artist in residence will be at WFU for 30 days and will be expected to deliver at least one guest lecture and and one online workshop with LIT cohort members.

Wake Forest University will provide one month of housing, travel, meals, office space, and access to a “maker space” or creative production space. Please include estimated expenses in budget and budget justification

Artist in residence applications should include a link to a portfolio for review.

Learn more information and eligibility requirements here.

Application deadline is November 6, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST. Any incomplete and late submission WILL NOT BE REVIEWED or CONSIDERED for participation. 

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