DIFFA Grants Emergency Funds To Organizations Serving Those Affected By HIV/AIDS

Grants Fund Nonprofits Continuing to Support HIV/AIDS Communities Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), in partnership with the ASID “Design Impacts Lives” Fund, will provide $50,000 in emergency grants to six DIFFA grantees who have been working diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The grantees include Ali Forney Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, GMHC, God’s Love We Deliver, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Housing Works (Bailey House).

The funding for these grants comes, in part, from the ASID “Design Impacts Lives” Fund. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and DIFFA announced the new fund in May of 2019, when the ASID Benevolent Fund provided DIFFA with a $375,000 gift to support the organization’’s mission to offer grants to nonprofits that provide services, education and treatment to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The donation represented one of the largest ever single gifts to DIFFA and represented an effort to leverage the combined power of the two organizations to spur the design industry to action, inspiring support from the design world and maximizing its effect on communities in need.

“Whether it’s caring for at-risk LGBTQIA youth, housing those living with HIV/AIDS, or feeding the elderly and those with compromised health, the service provided by these organizations to the community has been astounding,” says DIFFA Executive Director Dawn Roberson. “We gladly stand with Ali Forney Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, GMHC, God’s Love We Deliver, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Housing Works (Bailey House) as they continue to advocate and serve the HIV/AIDS community and would like to say thank you for all that you do, and we’re proud to help make a DIFFA-rence.”

The Grantees

Representatives from each of the grantees acknowledge the challenges they’re facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and share how they’re continuing to serve their communities throughout the continuing public health crisis.

Ali Forney Center

“Our mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently. We assist nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program. COVID-19: Caring for Homeless Youth is a campaign launched to give a voice to the homeless LGBTQ youths in our care during the current pandemic we’re living through. With the spread of COVID-19, many service organizations are understandably making the difficult decision to temporarily suspend their onsite services. This is not possible for the Ali Forney Center. We cannot close and ask our clients to call from home. We are their home. For LGBTQ youth experiencing the terrors of homelessness, we are their first responders. And now they need us more than ever. In such a time of fear, we have to stand firm and keep our doors open.”

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

“We’re facing immense financial challenges. Patient visits have declined dramatically, personal protective equipment costs have skyrocketed, and staff are out sick or lack childcare. Even so, we remain committed to our patients and our staff. Callen-Lorde’s responsibility as a healthcare organization – one that primarily serves people who have been systemically excluded from healthcare, housing, and economic stability – is to stay open and do our part for the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Callen-Lorde began providing medical services on Friday, April 3rd, 2020 at the Callen-Lorde Hotel, as we call it. Callen-Lorde quickly came to understand that the complexity of need was exceptional. Staffing includes medical providers, nursing and medical support staff, care coordination, front desk staff and a site administrator. This dedicated team cares for approximately 130 patients on a 24/7 basis, with patients discharged and new patients arriving daily.”

God’s Love We Deliver

“The mission of God’s Love We Deliver is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. God’s Love We Deliver has been working to meet the needs of their clients, volunteers, and staff since the start of the outbreak, and has brought more than 1,000 clients on to program, delivered 210,000 shelf stable meals and increased their meal production 25% to serve people who need their medically tailored meals.”


“GMHC was founded as an emergency response to the AIDS epidemic nearly four decades ago. Today, GMHC continues to fight on the frontlines of the public health crisis, including the COVID-19 Pandemic. Since we closed our offices in March, we have successfully implemented remote service delivery for our mental health, substance use, workforce development, supportive housing, financial management, nutritional counseling, and legal programs, using videoconferencing and other technologies. People living with HIV are among the most vulnerable populations for COVID-19 infection. Many clients suffer from diabetes or cardiovascular disease that put them at higher risk for complications. Additionally, over 55% of GMHC’s clients are over the age of 50, and many more are Long Term Survivors. Collectively, these comorbidities and factors complicate our clients’ ability to access vital supplies and services. We are working diligently to ensure our clients’ needs are met as we adapt our services during the pandemic.”

Hetrick-Martin Institute

“Hetrick-Martin Institute has been challenged during the pandemic in that our core youth members are contending with limited or zero access to healthcare and treatment, serious mental health challenges, homelessness, and food insecurity. They rely on HMI to be their safety net. In March 2020, HMI launched our Continuity of Critical Service Plan which allows for the safe delivery of food and hygiene supplies, regular counseling sessions via virtual telemedicine platforms, peer support and socialization through “Q Chat Space”. We communicate with Runaway and Homeless Youth programs and emergency shelters and are maintaining constant contact with our health provider partners, to make sure that we have up-to-date information to share to youth and to maintain coordination of care.”

Housing Works (Bailey House)

“Most people Housing Works serves face co-morbidities – consequently, all are at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, and those infected are at risk of severe complications or even death. Social distancing measures present challenges for our population, as interruptions to primary care, substance use treatment, and HIV prevention can be just as risky. If patients exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, they may lack resources to access appropriate healthcare without exposing others. Housing Works has rapidly modified its care delivery system to ensure that our patients remain engaged, safe, educated, and empowered to stay healthy during the COVID crisis. One crucial change includes the rapid establishment of a telehealth program, in all clinical areas, across our clinics, which serve over 8,200 patients annually. Housing Works is committed to serving any clients who need assistance in person. Housing Works opened two new clinic sites in Downtown Brooklyn and East Harlem, allowing us to provide a higher quality of care and enforce social distancing. Housing Works is also supporting the community at large by assisting in the procurement and distribution of PPE to homeless and other marginalized New Yorkers, and by operating COVID quarantine facilities for people in NYC’s homeless shelter system.”


Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) raises awareness and grants funds to organizations that provide treatment, direct care services, preventive education programs, and advocacy for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS, as well as related challenges, including drug abuse and homelessness, which directly impact new HIV/AIDS infections. DIFFA is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States, mobilizing the immense resources and creativity of the design community. Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA has emerged from a grassroots organization into a national foundation based in New York City with chapters and community partners across the country that working together have provided more than $45 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide. www.diffa.org.

About ASID

The American Society of Interior Designers believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks, and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional, and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidence-based and human-centric design to social responsibility, well-being, and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide. ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. Learn more at asid.org.