Telluride Foundation: Montgomery In Botswana To Help Nonprofits

The Telluride AIDS Benefit keeps repeating itself  – and with good reason: it is not over until it is over. The need to Fight, Fund, and Educate ends when the HIV/AIDS pandemic ends. Which is not yet. And certainly not in Africa. Proof of that fact of life was thrown into high relief when the Telluride Foundation’s VP Programs, April Montgomery, returned from Botswana after spending the month of May on sabbatical there. April was one of six resource mobilization professionals from Colorado consulting with nonprofit organizations working in the AIDS/HIV space.

And stay tuned for more from April Montgomery the week of the 2020 TAB event.

April Montgomery and the team from Botswana initiative.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” said Montgomery. “I’m returning so exhilarated and inspired by the passion and dedication of the people of Botswana, who are trying to tackle a complex issue, with the goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030.” 

Collectively the professionals April worked with had more than 100 years of combined experience. Together they led resource mobilization workshops in Gaborone and Francistown for 100 CSO representatives. (In Botswana, nonprofit organizations are called “CSOs”) They then traveled to the CSOs’ sites to spend two days in one-on-one consultation on various resource mobilization strategies, including individual giving, memberships, board development, corporate partnerships, social enterprise, and grant-writing. The primary objective was to help each CSO develop a resource mobilization plan to raise funds from within Botswana and thereby reduce dependence on declining international HIV donor funding.

As it turns out, funding for HIV/AIDS is being cut by 40% and is expected to continue to decrease. Unfortunately, while international funding was available, those monies did not come with a blueprint for effective capacity building, an exit strategy, or support for building nonprofit infrastructure. As a result, in the face of severe and worsening budget cuts, nonprofits are having to learn quickly how to fundraise within their own country, as well as become more efficient.

April & Co.’s visit was part of a new project, “Giving Starts Here,” funded by the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency, The Rotary Foundation, and Rotary District 5470 (Colorado, USA). It was developed by seven organizations: Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organizations (BONASO), Botswana Business Coalition on AIDS, Peace Corps Botswana, Rotary Club of Gaborone, Project Concern International (PCI), Bakgatla Bolokang Matshelo, and Stepping Stones International.

The project’s mission was to ensure sustainable and adequate funding for Botswana’s HIV-focused CSOs to support the Third National Multisectoral HIV and AIDS Response Strategic Framework (NSF III), which calls on CSOs to “play a key role in increasing coverage, efficiency, and sustainability of HIV service delivery in the next five years,” while acknowledging that Botswana must build CSO capacity to “mobilize human, financial, and material resources to support community interventions.”

April Montgomery & The Team:

April Montgomery is currently the VP Programs at the Telluride Foundation where she manages the Community Grants program, nonprofit capacity-building trainings, and several initiatives. She has worked for the Foundation for over 13 years and took time off from her job to participate as a training team member in Botswana.

“Being able to apply the work I do everyday in another country and culture has always been a professional dream of mine,” said April. “I was honored to be part of this experienced team and to be part of this effort to strengthen organization’s ability to end the HIV and AIDS crisis in Botswana.”

Botswana is still one of the countries most affected by HIV in the world, despite the government’s progressive provision of universal free antiretroviral treatment (ART) to any resident with HIV. At 21.9% of the population, Botswana has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world.

Other team members included: Richard Male as Team Leader who co-founded the Community Resource Center, the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Community Shares of Colorado and currently teaches graduate level courses in grant writing, fundraising and resource development at the University of Colorado at Denver; Scott DuPree, an international nonprofit consultant who worked for 20 years as the Southern African Program Director for the Synergos Institute; Lauren Palumbo, an experienced fundraiser and proposal writer, who is current Director of Family Support Services for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Patricia Yeager, current CEO of the Independence Center in Colorado Springs; Barclay Jones who is the Leadership & Equity Officer at the Denver Foundation and previously served as the Assistant Director for the Leadership Residential Academic Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Amy McBride from Ridgway is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Botswana and has been instrumental in designing this vocational team training program and writing the grants to fund the team.

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