Thankful, From The Directors

Jim Dilley and Lori Thoemmes at Art for AIDS 2015 photo by Jeff Chan

It does not take a turn of the calendar to November—the so-called gratitude month—for us to recognize how much we have to be grateful for. And we say this despite the fact that so many of our clients are suffering from mental health crises, the chaos of substance abuse, and the challenges of surviving with HIV disease. In fact, we say it precisely because they are suffering.

Every day, we get to work with an amazing group of staff members, who have labored tirelessly, in some cases, with smaller teams and less time. And we get to see—and hear—from the very clients who face daunting challenges, how much this talent, commitment, and passion of counselors, case managers, therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, trainers, front-desk staff, and event organizers means to them. How these efforts change lives. How walking into 1930 Market Street helps people feel better because they know here, they will finally find some relief, a place for hope and healing, a place to connect, a place for problem-solving, a place for support.

We are also grateful for the volunteers who join staff in some of this work as volunteer facilitators and HIV test counselors, as well as and the dozens who help raise money to fuel all this dedication. This year, our Community Advisory Board, Art for AIDS Host Committee, and Art for AIDS Jury collected an astonishing number of donations. (And they’ve already started working on the next Art for AIDS, our 20th. Save the date: September 16, 2016!)

There is still work to be done. Many of our most vulnerable neighbors are homeless; many are in desperate need of medical and mental health care. We are working with the city and state officials to reach more people in need . We just received new funding to support men of color considering PrEP for HIV prevention. We are applying for three new grants as we speak. We stand with our entire community—and every L, G, B, T and Q in the alphabet!— especially those in need of behavioral and mental health treatment.

And, gosh, we are so grateful that we get to write to you, because—and we know this sounds so cliché—we really think about our family of donors, volunteers, colleagues, and supporters. This is not a rote activity. We know that by supporting us you are making a conscious choice to invest in our capacity and in our results. We take your commitment seriously, and we are grateful for it and for the standard it sets for us.

Please enjoy you families, enjoy your friends, this month and next. We are thinking of—and appreciating!—you.


Jim and Lori