Incubated at the Ms. Foundation since 2005, NWAC is the first and only national policy network of organizations led by women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and a key voice of the national women and AIDS movement. The collective was formed by Ms. Foundation grantees at a national policy summit to advocate for the critical federal HIV/AIDS policy changes required to meet the unique and unmet needs of women living with, or at risk of, HIV/AIDS nationwide.
The full text of the press release follows below and can also be found on our website.
Cheers to NWAC! We're so excited to see you fly!
Project Housed at the Ms. Foundation for Women Spreads its Wings
The National Women and AIDS Collective Becomes an Independent Nonprofit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2010
Jo Schneiderman (802) 254.6716 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Braune (212) 709.4450 email@example.com
NEW YORK, September 28, 2010 — The Ms. Foundation for Women and the National Women and AIDS Collective (NWAC) are proud to announce that NWAC, a project incubated at the Ms. Foundation for Women since 2005, is establishing itself as an independent nonprofit entity. NWAC is the first and only national policy network of organizations led by women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and a key voice of the national women and AIDS movement.
In 1996, the Ms. Foundation for Women created the Women and AIDS Fund (WAF), the only national fund dedicated to supporting advocacy led by and for women living with HIV/AIDS. “Women with HIV/AIDS have been ignored for too long—at the policy table and in everyday life,” says Patricia Eng, vice president of programs at the Ms. Foundation. “By providing grants, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to state and local groups, we build the capacity of HIV-positive women and their organizations to advance policy change.”
NWAC was formed by WAF grantees at a national policy summit in 2005, hosted by the Ms. Foundation. Grantees created NWAC to advocate for the critical federal HIV/AIDS policy changes needed to meet women’s unique and unmet needs of women living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS nationwide.
Today, NWAC plays a critical role in policy debates at the federal level—from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the White House—and brings the voices and expertise of women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to policymaking tables, from the reauthorization of the Ryan White Program to broader health care reform.
“NWAC’s goal is to put the power back into the hands of women whose lives have been affected by HIV,” says Vanessa Johnson, NWAC’s Interim Board Chair. “It is of vital importance that women-led organizations know they are supported in this fight and that issues important to their survival and sustainability are advocated for nationally as well as locally.”
“This is a major step forward for NWAC and a proud moment for the Ms. Foundation,” says Patricia Eng, “and we are excited to enter into this next phase of partnership with NWAC.”
To help poise NWAC for success, the Ms. Foundation has provided NWAC with a planning grant and support for NWAC’s capacity to build a firm foundation through in-kind assistance, networking and other opportunities. Rona Taylor, the NWAC Organizer for the past two years, will assist for the first months of the transition until the structure and leadership of NWAC is finalized.
NWAC’s fiscal and administrative sponsor is now Twin States Network, a nonprofit organization serving women and youth living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Vermont and New Hampshire. This new relationship will further enhance NWAC’s ability to advocate at the local, state and national levels to ensure that HIV/AIDS prevention and care policy is gender responsive.
Under the Twin States Network partnership, NWAC plans to continue its groundbreaking work and further establish itself at the forefront of domestic policies affecting the lives of women.
The Ms. Foundation for Women: Women are more than half the population, yet—even with the progress of the last 40 years—they don’t have equal opportunity, voice or power. The Ms. Foundation for Women does not accept the status quo. Every day, we help over 150 grassroots organizations nationwide fight for changes like good paying jobs, reproductive rights, prevention of domestic violence and the inclusion of women at decision-making tables. The Ms. Foundation has invested over $50 million and influenced other funders to support solutions from the ground up. We deliver funding, build skills and connect pioneers with allies to create change that benefits women, families and communities. Together, we work for a nation in which power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class or any other factor.
NWAC is a national network of women-led organizations serving women living with and affected by HIV working to influence the ways in which policies are determined at the federal level. NWAC’s mission is to build the sustainable power and position of HIV-positive and affected women to make policy change and build programs that improve women’s lives.
Twin States Network provides support and prevention services to people living with and impacted by HIV in Vermont and New Hampshire. Founded in 1991, Twin States Network is a peer-led community based organization that has been active in the Northeast in advocating for the rights and needs of women impacted by HIV.
Learn more about the Ms. Foundation's work to ensure equitable access to health care and education for women and youth nationwide.