Dear Friends –

Organization’s lives unfold in many different chapters. This includes The Spahr Center. We were formed out of two agencies, each with a rich history of accomplishment toward critically important visions. One vision was to assure the empowerment, visibility, rights, and wellness of all LGBT people in Marin County. The other vision was to assure that the needs of People Living With and at risk for HIV and AIDS were comprehensively and compassionately met. To acknowledge the significant relationship between these aspirations, the two agencies merged to form The Spahr Center. The agency committed itself to addressing LGBT and HIV issues equally, and that commitment endures.

It is hard to emphasize enough that The Spahr Center is the only community-based agency in Marin with a mission to serve LGBT People Living With HIV and AIDS. The agency has done life affirming and life saving work. We must be positioned to do much more!

Today, The Spahr Center opens a new chapter in its history. Executive Director Jennifer Malone has departed the agency after many years of service to the community. We thank her and wish her great things to come. The Board of Directors now begins a search for its next Executive Director to build upon the great work done by the agency to date and to lead us, as they say, boldly into the future!

While the Board takes time to conduct a nationwide search, we have hired Dana Van Gorder to serve as our Interim Executive Director. Dana joins us with 40 years of work on LGBT and HIV/AIDS related issues. He has served as a Legislative Aide to two gay elected officials, Harry Britt and Carole Migden; is a founder of San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center; been a State Lobbyist for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation; and served as the Executive Director of Project Inform. Dana has made appreciable contributions in keeping with The Spahr Center’s mission, and we are happy to have him working with us.

During this interim period, Dana and the Board will be focused on two ongoing goals. The first is to listen – to clients, community members, donors, volunteers and staff. We want our stakeholders to know what’s happening at The Spahr Center, to understand the things we do well and know what we can do better, and to understand what aspirations you have for us. Our second goal is to build support for the agency by increasing fundraising and volunteer participation. The community rightfully wants and needs The Spahr Center to accomplish a lot.  This requires increasing our funding and securing even more volunteers, as well as Board members. I encourage you to contact Dana directly if you would like to introduce yourself and offer your vision for the agency. His address is dvangorder@thespahrcenter.org.

During the month of March, the Executive search will officially begin. The Board and staff are very excited about what can happen in this next chapter of The Spahr Center’s history. Stay tuned as things develop!

I am deeply inspired by the great spirit and energy a large number of community members put into the services and activities of The Spahr Center. There is no way we could serve the community without them.  They are such a great antidote to what is happening in our world today. If you haven’t yet, do join us in our commitment to the well-being of each of our clients by donating or volunteering!  If you haven’t plugged in for a while, we warmly welcome you back!  Our clients and the community need you!

Whitney Hoyt

Board President