Michael Smithwick
From the desk of our  
Executive Director

Most of us at Maitri are accustomed to saying goodbye to our hospice residents as they pass, which, in recent years, has typically been a monthly occurrence. But when that pattern changes, as it did last week, and we see two of our residents—our friends—pass on the same day, it impacts us all deeply. What follows is a time of quiet contemplation of the lives lost and a reminder of how challenging it must have been in the early days of Maitri when deaths were much more frequent.

As tough as it is to move on following resident deaths, that is precisely what happens at Maitri. As we welcome two new residents to our shared home, Halloween decorations will start appearing in our common areas, and joyful anticipation of the holiday season (Halloween followed in rapid succession by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) will offer welcome distraction. This year in particular, the holidays are also a reminder that moving on together, in joy and love and remembrance, is really all that we can do and exactly what we should do.

It is in this spirit of togetherness that we invite you, our cherished supporter, to join us for our December 12 Holiday Open House to experience for yourself the joy of the season in classic Maitri style. Of course, we also hope that you will remember Maitri in your year-end charitable giving. As always, thank you so much for your generous support of Maitri and our residents who struggle every day with advanced AIDS and have nowhere else to turn.

Warm regards,

Michael Smithwick

Michael Smithwick,
Executive Director

Here's what we have for you in this Fall 2015 issue:   

Please consider forwarding this newsletter to a friend who may not yet know us. As always, thank you so much for your generous support of Maitri's programs benefiting our residents who struggle every day with advanced AIDS.

Mary Wilson of the Supremes performs at Bliss 2013.

BLISS 2016 is Kicking Off!


Mark your calendars: Our annual BLISS gala and silent auction is set for Sunday, May 1, 2016 at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF. With our newly formed BLISS auxiliary committee at the helm, we expect this year’s gala will include some new and surprising treats.

Never been to BLISS? Interested in being a part of the action? You won’t want to miss this year’s event, so stay tuned for additional details. And if you’re interested in contributing to BLISS, whether as a sponsor, volunteer, or auxiliary member, reach out to Toni Newman, Maitri’s Development Manager (tnewman@matrisf.org) or Christina Raymond, our Development Chair (christinaeraymond@gmail.com).

We hope to see you all at this inspiring event, the proceeds of which go directly towards the compassionate care of Maitri’s residents.

NewStaffNew Staff at Maitri

Susan Canavan-Program Director  A native San Franciscan, Susan moved to Southeast Asia at the age of 5 and returned to the Bay Area as a young adult. In the early 90’s Susan began her professional career working with homeless youth in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Polk Gulch districts. Susan joined the Housing Department of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation where she managed a transitional residential housing program. Susan obtained her BA in Social Work in Education in 1996 from San Francisco State. She served as Director of Client Services at Project Open Hand for 12 years before her most recent experience overseeing the development of a culinary social enterprise at Episcopal Community Services. Maitri is thrilled to have Susan.

Madeleine Mulderrig-Volunteer and Activities Coordinator Madeleine is an Irish native who has lived in San Francisco for over 20 years. She had volunteered with Peter Claver Community, a 32-room residential care facility for people with HIV/AIDS, since 2000 before accepting a staff position there in 2011 as their Volunteer/Activities Coordinator. In addition to her work at Claver, in 2013 Madeleine accepted a part-time Activities Coordinator Position for 5 to 10 hours/week at Richard M Cohen Residence , a 10-room residential care facility for people with HIV/AIDS operated by Dolores Street Community Services. Madeleine enjoyed organizing activities for and with the residents and volunteers at both Claver and Cohen, so she steps into her role at Maitri with lots of relevant experience and enthusiasm. 



Toni Newman-Development Manager 
Toni comes to Maitri and San Francisco from Los Angeles, where she was the Development and Administration Coordinator for T.H.E. Health and Wellness Centers (South Los Angeles’ largest healthcare center network). In that role, Toni was responsible for development, grants, website presence, marketing and working with the outreach team as Certified Enrollment Counselor helping the homeless, mentally ill, HIV positive and underinsured get affordable healthcare and the services they need. Prior to this, Toni worked for Equality California - California’s premier statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization - as a canvasser, fundraiser, legislative aide and volunteer recruiter. Toni is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BA degree.


Annemarie Heineman-Social Work Case Manager 
Annemarie moved here from New York City in 1986. She began working in the HIV community in 1993 as a case manager for HIV+ inmates and parolees from the state prisons. She then worked at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and UCSF. Most recently, she was Manager of the Client Services Department at Project Open Hand for 8 years. She is very excited to be joining the Maitri team.


Here is pic of administrative staff with names and titles in order (from left to right): Susan Canavan-Program Director, Tess Gurrey-Nurse Manager,
Helga Sigvaldadottir-Facilities and Administration Manager, Tamara Redding-Nurse Care Coordinator, Michael Smithwick-Executive Director,
Madeleine Mulderrig-Volunteer and Activities Coordinator, Toni Newman-Development Manager


Maitri Wish List for the Holidays. 

Gift Links

Other Gift Ideas

  1. Jigsaw puzzles: ones...1,000 piece and 1,500 piece...the residents like a challenge!
  2. Movie passes (please): AMC/Century theatre outings are much appreciated. A $25 pass, for example, takes three residents to the movies on senior discount day.
  3. Starbucks, or other coffee gift cards: A coffee outing for a resident from time to time facilitates companionship and conversation.
  4. Target or other retailer cards: A little retail therapy is fun for a shopping trip with residents for clothing or other personal items.

Maitri Artist and Musician Sharing Their Talents with Maitri Compassionate CareArtMus



Anita Bowen – Photographer

Anita has a passion for creating portraits that empower her clients. She is a professional freelance photographer and instructor of photography in San Francisco. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has been creatively occupied ever since. Now with 20 years of experience under her belt, Anita is still excited by the power of the lens to help tell a story that impacts our world. For more information on her photography work, go to www.anitabowen.com.



Erica Messer – Harpist

Classically trained, Erica studied at the Musikhochschule in Vienna, Austria after completing her Bachelor's Degree of Music, Honors at Valdosta State University. Erica is an experienced, professional and seasoned performer and has been playing professionally since 1997. Erica also sings and performs with guitar and mandolin[insert comma here] providing several options for musical entertainment. Erica performs on a beautiful, custom, white, electro-acoustic harp; the only one of its kind! Erica also have a vintage, gold-leaf concert harp, a natural maple pedal harp and a wearable Harpsicle harp.


Erica serves on the board of directors for the Bay Area Chapter of the American Harp Society. Erica is also a member of the Music Teachers Association of California where she mentors students to earn a Certificate of Merit for harp studies. Erica is a member of The Suzuki Association of the Americas, Harper's Hall, and the facilitator for the Bay Area Harpists S&A Meetup Group. Erica has started a harpists guild for the Bay Area and also developed with the former Superintendent Of San Mateo, the first public in-school harp education program. Erica hopes to grow this program to reach out to under-privileged students in Bay Area schools. She frequently takes her harps into schools and teach children about the harp in a 45-minute presentation to this rare, special, and otherwise inaccessible instrument. For more information on her work, go to www.hauteharpist.com.


If you or someone you know have a musical talent or artistry that you would like to share with Maitri and its residents, please contact Toni at toni@maitrisf.org.



Employee Spotlight:

Tamara Redding-Nurse Care Coordinator, RN, CHPN

Tami has been at Maitri since 2014 as the Nurse Care Coordinator. Her job is to oversee and direct the medical care of our 15 residents. One of our beloved residents, Sorrita, who was just released from Maitri to live independently said “The nursing staff at Maitri is first class with lots of love and compassion.” Tamara arrives each morning to Maitri showing love, respect and compassion for the residents.

Tami was raised in a small town along the Columbia River in Oregon. Nursing was a midlife career decision for Tami, receiving her RN at age 41. Tami's decision to go to nursing school was based largely on her experience with hospice care for her father after he received a terminal diagnosis of lung cancer. The experience had a profound effect, and hospice work called strongly. After a brief stint with hospital work in Arizona, Tami moved to Seattle where for 10 years she worked for several different hospices. During her years of hospice work, she gained valuable clinical experience out in the field managing a caseload of patients.

Tami is now the proud grandmother of a one-month-old boy who is the pride and joy of her life. Maitri feels very fortunate and blessed to have such a dedicated nurse on the Maitri staff.




Volunteer Update

Volunteers at Maitri play a vital role in resident care, providing emotional ,practical, and spiritual support, escorting to doctor’s appointments, participating in outings, sitting at the bedside of the sick and dying, assisting with events and much more. To be a volunteer you must participate in our volunteer training after which we ask for a minimum six months commitment of four hours per week.

Our next training session is scheduled for the weekend of Friday, October 16 to Sunday, October 18.

For more information, please contact Madeleine Mulderrig, Volunteer and Activities Coordinator, at 415 558 3004 or madeleine@maitrisf.org.


Honoring Issan Dorsey


Maitri resident Anthony and Reverand Drakka performing at Issan memorial


Maitri Compassionate Care held a ceremony to commemorate the life of Issan Dorsey Maitri founder on Sunday September 6th 2015. September 6th 2015 marked the 25 year anniversary of Issan’s death... Honoring his compassion, selflessness and bravery in the face of the aids epidemic. The event was hosted by Jana Drakka, a Buddhist monk, during which we looked back at Issan’s life as well as the lives of our residents who have passed in the past year.


Booty Shakin' at Wheel House

Wheel House at One Embarcadero Center is a local, independent start-up fitness studio. It offers quick, high-energy spin, yoga and strength classes to downtown professionals who don’t have a lot of time to work out.

Co-founder Carl Morley is a San Francisco’s fitness veteran with a reputation for teaching fun, energetic, and challenging classes at some of the city’s best gyms. A former product strategy manager at Oracle with a passion for fitness, he left his day job in the tech world and in 2013 opened Wheel House with his life and business partner, Suhail Maqsood.

A key component of the Wheel House mission is community involvement, and the owners and staff have donated resources to many San Francisco fitness and philanthropy events and causes. We are very grateful to Wheel House for making Maitri a part of this outreach. The studio recently held a Shake Your Booty 70’s Soul theme ride and donated proceeds to Maitri. The event was a sellout and featured dual instructors, Carl Morley plus Nan Luma. Maitri Development Manager Toni Newman spoke briefly, followed by 45 minutes of booty shakin’ spinning for Maitri Compassionate Care. Find out more about The Wheelhouse

wheelhouse Nan Luma, Instructor, Jill Stockwell, Maitri Volunteer, Toni Newman, Maitri Development Manager, Carl Morley, Wheel House co-owner. Special thanks to Suhail Maqsool, Wheelhouse co-owner also.

Upcoming Events: 

December 12, 2 pm – 5 pm, Matri Annual Holiday Open House

There’s no better way to understand the love and warmth of Maitri Compassionate Care than to visit the facility. The organization’s next open house will take place on December 12, 2015, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. Visitors will enjoy special treats from Hot Cookie as well as live holiday music. Maitri’s Holiday Open House is always a joyous way to celebrate the holidays and sure to help put a smile on the face and warm the heart. The suggested charitable donation is $10, and gifts of toiletries for Maitri’s residents are always welcomed. Please RSPV by Monday, December 7, 2015 to tnewman@maitrisf.org. or (415)558-3003.