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Toronto PWA invests in info system

Foundation faces declining government grants

The Toronto People With AIDS Found-ation (TPWAF) is planning to pilot a new database system designed to help better serve its clients.

At the foundation’s annual general meeting last month, TPWAF executive director Murray Jose told members as part of its strategic planning the agency has been in talks with the Ontario HIV Treatment Network to help implement a province-wide standardized database system that could be up and running by next year.

“It wouldn’t be a shared database but one… that you would be able to personalize depending on the needs of each agency.”

The database would allow agencies like TPWAF to document what services they provide, how they provide them and the financial support they need to operate. It doesn’t have a price tag now because it’s in the early stages.

“It would allow the government to have standardized reporting information, able to provide data, epidemiology and statistics that would help us to have a case for the funding needs that we have and for changes in program needs we might be facing,” says Jose.

The foundation says it is trying to respond to the increasingly complex needs of its clients who are living longer lives with HIV/AIDS, despite receiving less government funding; grants for the year ending in March 2006 added up to $747,409, down almost $175,000 from the previous year.

“As a general trend, as the [TPWAF’s] needs increase the money is not coming from government funding, but rather from fundraising,” says board chair David Church. “The [TPWAF] does a very good job, but there’s still a lot more we can do.”

Revenue from TPWAF’s signature fundraiser, the Friends For Life Bike Rally, was $666,631 in the last fiscal year, up from $597,311 the previous year. But the expense of fundraising also increased by more than $37,000. Because of reduced spending on client services — things like the meal program, long-term care and education — TPWAF’s total expenses of $1.9 million were almost the same as the previous year.

The foundation, the largest support service agency in the country, has assisted more than 5,400 clients living with HIV/AIDS.