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Local and Community News

San Francisco: AIDS Fund Hires Its First Executive Director

October 29, 2002

The former all-volunteer driven AIDS Emergency Fund in San Francisco welcomed its first permanent executive director earlier this month and is preparing to mark its 20th anniversary in November. Mike Smith, who co-founded the Names Project Foundation in 1987 and has spent the last four years as executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Colorado in Denver, began work in his new role Monday, Oct. 7. "My job here is how to professionalize the organization," said Smith, 42, who holds an MBA from Stanford.

While Smith will receive $90,000 his first year, he said his hiring will not change the nature of AEF, which has always championed the fact it is volunteer run and based. "By bringing me on we are not changing the total overhead budget of the agency. We are just spending the money on a full-time executive director rather than on part-time consultants," he said.

Smith acknowledged the job will not be easy. AEF's fiscal needs are climbing while donations are declining. During the first six months this year, AEF experienced a 10 percent increase in clients -- its usual annual increase is 5 percent. AEF expects to serve more than 3,300 clients this year compared to 3,000 last year. To cover a deficit that could reach $600,000 by year's end, the board of directors has dipped into AEF's reserves.

In addition, AEF announced this spring it was changing how it awards grants. First-time applicants seeking one-time grants for housing or medical costs could still receive $600 from AEF, while returning applicants' grants are $400 instead of $600. AEF is also debating how to define which emergency situations warrant a grant.

With rough economic times for Bay Area nonprofits, AEF had difficulties finding corporate sponsors for its anniversary gala on Nov. 20. In addition, smaller fundraising events are not generating the same returns as in years past. "I am looking at this as what are some new opportunities for fundraising," Smith said. "I want to be working with the city's AIDS office and grant-making foundations to raise the amount of money coming into the agency."

Back to other CDC news for October 29, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
10.17.02; Matthew S. Bajko

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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