Beggin for budgets: AIDS Service Organizations and the competition for funding in Alberta

TitleBeggin for budgets: AIDS Service Organizations and the competition for funding in Alberta
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBerndt E
DegreeMaster of Arts M.A.
Number of Pages94
UniversityConcordia University (Canada)
CityMontréal, QC

Public attention towards HIV/AIDS has shifted away from Western democracies in recent decades towards the global South. AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) in the West, who were among the first in the world to respond to the epidemic, face increasing competition in relation to accessing nearly all of their traditional sources of funding. Within this thesis, the dynamics of competition for funding among ASOs operating in the province of Alberta is explored. Using Hilgartner and Bosks (1988) public arenas model, I assume that the processes governing a social problems rise and fall on the public agenda can be similarly applied to the study of non-profit funding. I introduce the concept of funding arenas to describe the location of financial resources available to ASOs in Alberta, and the social processes that influence successful competition therein. Seventeen interviews were conducted (N=17) with Executive Directors and other development staff from all thirteen ASOs operating in the province of Alberta. Content analyses of relevant ASOs funding documents are analyzed in conjunction with interview data. Two broad categorizations of five funding arenas are explored: government arenas and arenas of diverse competition. Cultural factors surrounding HIV/AIDS, including stigma, present various influences on the fund-seeking process in distinct funding arenas. In a critique of the public arenas model, I challenge the assumption that the objective conditions of a social problem bear little impact on the amount of attention it receives.