Stephen Lewis with children at Panzi Hospital in DRC (Photo by Avi Lewis)

About the Foundation

The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) works with community-based organizations working to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Since 2003 we have funded over 1100 initiatives, partnering with over 300 community-based organizations in 15 countries.

We know from experience that the fastest and most effective way to turn the tide of AIDS is to work with small, committed, community-based organizations. The staff and volunteers of these organizations are unwavering in their commitment to save lives, provide counselling and support to all who need it, and to restore hope in every home and community.

Our Areas of Focus

We work with a wide variety of grassroots initiatives, with a particular focus on the following areas:

Every organization with whom we work has a strong connection to the community. They recognize that gender inequality drives the AIDS pandemic in Africa, and that it is essential to have dedicated programmes that support grandmothers, girls and women. For more information on the critical work being done by community organizations to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa, please visit the Where We Work section.

Why We Work at the Grassroots

The AIDS pandemic is ravaging the continent of Africa, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UNAIDS Global Report of 2010, sub-Saharan Africa is home to 68% of people living with HIV worldwide and 72% of global AIDS deaths. Of the 22.5 million people living with HIV on the continent, more than half are women, and a growing number are children. Although great strides have been made to provide treatment in recent years, only 37% of those who need it are receiving antiretroviral drugs, and the number of orphaned children continues to rise.

Despite these alarming figures, the same report identifies some real progress in halting and beginning to reverse the epidemic. Fewer people are becoming infected with HIV and fewer people are dying from AIDS. Increasingly, African countries themselves have taken on the financial responsibility for prevention, treatment, care and support, accounting for 52% of resources for the HIV response.

But, just as these advances are beginning to make a difference, western governments have flat-lined or cut back their funding of AIDS assistance.

This is where the Stephen Lewis Foundation steps in to play a critical role. Our philosophy is firmly rooted in the knowledge that if anyone is going to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa at the community level, they will be found in the communities themselves. They are the experts, and they are widely acknowledged as providing the best care for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. 

These resourceful and creative grassroots groups are restoring lives and hope to their communities and are on the cusp of bringing real change throughout the continent.

Our support is based on the principles of social justice, equality and partnership. Before we partner with an organization, one of our Field Representatives will visit to assess its connection to the community, its ability to implement programmes and its financial accountability systems. We communicate regularly with the staff of each organization so we can ensure that our approach is sensitive, responsive, effective, respects their expertise, and promotes sustainability. To learn more, click here.


Slaight Family Foundation announces $7M in donations to seven Canadian NGOs February 19, 2015

Media Profile, Canada NewsWire

Porter: African women caring for their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren need our help November 24, 2014

Catherine Porter, The Toronto Star

Upcoming Events

Rayanna’s Hope for Africa Presents: Film Screening of “African Grandmothers Tribunal: Seeking Justice at the frontlines of the AIDS crisis”. February 28, 2015

Stony Plain, Alberta

Voices For Africa March 4, 2015

Newmarket, Ontario