Over the last five years, the Pfizer Foundation and Pfizer Worldwide Philanthropy department has developed platform focused on investing the full range of the company's resources — people, skills, expertise and funding — to broaden access to medicines and strengthen healthcare delivery for underserved people around the world. The new philanthropy platform, Pfizer Investments in Health, offers a more coordinated approach to contribute to society beyond medicines, centered around developing stronger relationships with their partners (grantees, field experts, etc.) and including cash grants, capacity building/technical assistance, product, skilled volunteers and stronger networking. This has resulted in mutual benefits for Pfizer and for its philanthropic partners.
The Pfizer Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world-leading pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc, is committed to addressing global health needs through community programs that also leverage its corporate resources and connections. Pfizer had successfully implemented international and smaller scale domestic HIV/AIDS programs, but recognized the need for greater national attention. In 2002, the Pfizer Foundation developed the Southern HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative (SHAPI) in reaction to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the southern United States. HIV/AIDS rates were still alarmingly high and growing, especially in the U.S. South. SHAPI, a three-year program from 2003 to 2006, provided more than $3 million in program investments and $3 million in capacity-building opportunities. To further develop the program and assist in its strategic planning and implementation the Foundation engaged TCC Group in 2002.
Developing Focus and Goals
In response to TCC Group's research and facilitated discussions with stakeholders, the Pfizer Foundation focused SHAPI on prevention programs in small to mid-size AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs), particularly those working with minorities and women. With TCC's help, the Foundation developed a clear set of goals for SHAPI. The core strategy focused on building relationships and supporting a targeted number of organizations, and included investments focused on direct services in local prevention and education programs and additional investments designed to create longer lasting impact through organizational capacity building and regional networking opportunities.
Together, TCC and the Pfizer Foundation selected 23 grantees and 39 additional finalists. Grantees were provided annual grants of up to $50,000 for prevention programs, and all grantees and finalists were provided with opportunities to improve organizational effectiveness and be a part of the SHAPI network. TCC managed the overall initiative and worked closely with grantees to achieve the SHAPI goals of capacity building and networking.
Opportunities Beyond the Grants
In order to offer grantees tailored capacity building opportunities, TCC Group developed a new, comprehensive assessment tool for nonprofit organizations that was based on best practices in the field and tested by leading ASOs (now further developed, available on-line and called the Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT)). Using the CCAT, TCC identified target areas for capacity building in each participating organization as well as cross-cutting needs for clusters of organizations. Each SHAPI grantee was offered annual customized capacity building recommendations and funding support (which often was nearly equal to their program grant) as well as general opportunities, such as board development, peer mentoring, software and technology training, financial management, and evaluation technical assistance.
In addition, TCC worked with the Foundation to provide networking opportunities to the SHAPI grantees and finalists, such as training sessions, teleconferences, and peer exchange. In particular, the Pfizer Foundation sponsored its SHAPI partners to attend the annual United States Conference on AIDS and hosted its own annual HIV/AIDS prevention conferences focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and capacity building needs identified throughout the year. During these networking opportunities, the Pfizer Foundation invited and introduced Pfizer Inc's HIV Community Liaisons (HCLs) to SHAPI partners to be able to foster more localized relationships with Pfizer Inc and to provide access to Pfizer Inc's local resources, such as training materials, mini-grants/sponsorships and volunteers. Through these networking opportunities, grantees and finalists shared ideas, information, and inspiration. "Long after Pfizer's funding relationship with [us] has concluded, the skills and expertise culled from these capacity-building efforts will continue to make [us] a trusted and well-respected organization." – NC Grantee