Excellence in Care Grant Awards

DIFFA Chicago’s grant making tradition has been to support programs and activities that reflect a unique or innovative approach to addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Chicagoland area and whose programs align with Get To Zero Illinois

We continue to seek requests where public support and other philanthropies – including an organization’s own fund raising capacity – is not otherwise available, and where DIFFA Chicago grant funds can be appropriately positioned to expand and diversify the impact of an organization’s service program(s).

We also seek proposals that include appropriate and strategic collaboration among agencies.

The DIFFA Chicago granting process selects Chicago agencies providing the best care possible – those who put dollars where they have the most impact to help the men, women, and children living with and/or impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Eligible Programs:

Community-based 501(c)(3) organizations providing direct service, preventive education, and outreach to people who are HIV positive, living with AIDS or at-risk of infection.

Grant Cycle:

DIFFA Chicago issues grants annually. We are moving the alignment of our grants cycle to coincide with our fiscal year. The next round of applications will be available beginning in the spring of 2025 with the next Excellence In Care Grants Reception to be in the fall of 2025. In some cases, a special grant may be awarded during the year to meet specific funder, community or emergency needs.

Grants fall under two categories: Chapter Grants and Foundation Grants

In both instances, DIFFA Chicago does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Invitations are sent out to organizations to apply. 

After review, grants are then approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Grants are presented at the Excellence In Care Awards in February, and shared with the world through a robust social media campaign. 

Grant Process

The review and scoring of agency grant applications is a very detailed and hands-on process. The DIFFA Chicago Board is committed to ensuring that donated funds are applied and used to their fullest extent. 


Invitations for Applications from community organizations go out in the Fall. The ask:

How the money would be used

Summary description of the program

Financial documents


Board Review of Applications


Grant Review Teams are established from members of the board.

Each team is given a set number of applications to review in depth. One-on-one interviews with applicant organizations are set up.


In-person, on-site interviews are held between the Grant Review Teams and the Applicant Organizations. Virtual interviews have been used when health concerns dictate.

Review of facilities, program, provided documentation.


Based upon interviews and review of provided documentation, rankings are established by each Grant Review Team against consistent and universal criteria, for each organization.


Rankings are provided to the DIFFA Chicago Executive Committee for review.

Recommendations are made to the Board.


Grant Review Teams present their individual findings to the full Board.

The Board debates and establishes recommendations for grant award and dollar amounts.

The Board votes, making the final decisions.


Official announcement of Grantee Organizations is made at the Excellence in Care Awards in February of each year.

Announcements of awards are supported through social media visibility campaign.

Our Commitment to Finding a Cure:

Since 1990, THE DIFFA Chicago Fellowship has supported a 2nd year HIV/AIDS Research and Clinical Studies Fellow at the Northwestern Medicine Center for Infectious Diseases; actively supporting the pursuit of a cure.

31 DIFFA Chicago Fellows now 

  • 1991
    Peter F. Bornstein, MD, MBA 
  • 1992
    Peter F. Bornstein, MD, MBA 
  • 1993
    Peter Bornstein, MD, MBA
  • 1995
    Concepta Merry, MSc, PhD
  • 1996
    Kristin Englund, MD
  • 1997
    Lee Cheng Chuan, MBBS
  • 1998
    Trevor Slom, MD
  • 2000
    Carlos Zambrano, MD
  • 2001
    John Baraboutis, MD
  • 2002
    Padmam Sriram, MD
  • 2003
    Adam Treitman, MD
  • 2004
    Edwin Yu, MD
  • 2005
    Claudia Hawkins, MD, MPH
  • 2006
    Angel Leake, MD, MPH
  • 2007
    Michael Angarone, DO
  • 2008
    Susan Pacheco, MD
  • 2009
    Patrick Ryscavage, MD
  • 2010
    Niki Alami, MD
  • 2011
    Ramona Bhatia, MD, MS
  • 2012
    Guajira Thomas, MD, MSCI
  • 2013
    Ellie Sukerman, MD, MSCI
  • 2014
    Amesika Nyaku, MD, MSCI
  • 2015
    Sean Kelly, MD
  • 2016
    Karen Krueger, MD
  • 2017
    Janna Williams, MD
  • 2018
    Mary Clare Masters, MD
  • 2019
    Lindsey Morrison, MD
  • 2020
    Kendall Kling, MD
  • 2021
    Omar Al-Heeti, MD
  • 2022
    Rebecca Osborn, MD
  • 2023
    Joshua Craft, MD

Since 1984, proceeds from such events have enabled the various regional DIFFA chapters to grant over $50 million to AIDS service and education organizations nationwide.

DIFFA Chicago Excellence in Care 2023 Grant Recipients:

Bonaventure House

Care2Prevent at UChicago

Chicago House

Children’s Place

Legal Council for Health Justice

Mother And Child Alliance

HIV/AIDS Research and Clinical Studies Fellowship at Northwestern Medicine

South Shore Help Center

Test Positive Aware Network

Youth Outlook