Michael Smithwick
From the desk of our  
Executive Director

Summer has arrived at Maitri in a particularly joyous way this year as staff, volunteers, and residents alike celebrate the historic Supreme Court decision that effectively redefines state-sanctioned same-sex marriage as marriage from sea to shining sea. Equality can be so simple. It is only when we try to segregate and disempower that things become complicated.


Of course, we are also still basking in the glow of BLISS 2015, our biggest opportunity of the year to come together--both longtime supporters and those who are just now getting to know us--to honor Maitri's history, embrace and support our present, and look to the future. We were thrilled to see record attendance at BLISS this year--our first sold out BLISS ever--and raised well over $100,000 (net of any/all expenses) to sustain Maitri and all the good that we do for the most vulnerable members of our community suffering from advanced AIDS. We are humbled by such an outpouring of generosity.


Here's what we have for you in this 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.

BlissForgeBLISS: Looking Back and Forging Ahead


Maitri's BLISS gala and auction on May 3, which was held at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF, raised over $100,000--net of any/all expenses--for our resident programs.

Attendees enjoyed the brilliant and saucy comedy of Alec Mapa, delicious fare and cocktails, and massage from the San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork. The evening's entertainment included live piano performances by Maitri resident, Anthony, and volunteer, Anneli Virkhaus. Guests were also treated to digital caricatures by Jon Casey and a SnapFiesta photo booth (pictures can be viewed here).

BLISS 2015 would not have been possible without generous underwriting from our sponsors, including Sutter Health/CMPC, The Apothecarium, The Dorian Fund, The Bob Ross Foundation, Sterling Bank, and SPARC. We were thrilled to welcome several new sponsors, including Fitness SF. And once again, we were humbled by the incredible level of support we received from the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF, which hosted our event and also contributed funds as both a Silver and In-Kind Sponsor.

We would also like to acknowledge the generosity of the over 40 volunteers who served at BLISS. Just as volunteers are at the heart of our compassionate care model, they are key to the success of our annual BLISS gala and auction.

Check out Maitri's  Flickr account for photos of this year's BLISS, taken by our friends at Rink Foto!

Are you looking for a way to make a bigger impact at Maitri while having a bit of fun? We are pleased to announce the formation of a new committee entirely devoted to BLISS planning. If you are interested in joining this dynamic group of Maitri supporters, please reach out to our Development Committee Chair, Christina Raymond (, for more information.



Maitri Board and Committee Leadership Changes


Chris Harris has been named the Vice-President of Maitri's Board of Directors. Chris, who joined Maitri's Board in 2014, is the Women's Programs Manager at UCSF's Positive Health Program. She has been involved with Maitri in various capacities for nearly 20 years, initially providing HOPWA capital and service grants to move Maitri from the Hartford site to our current location. Chris also helped facilitate the original licensure of Maitri as a Residential Care Facility for the Chronically Ill and served as a critical advisor in our successful efforts to obtain over $250,000 in capital improvement grants in 2014.




Michael Niemeyer, who serves as Secretary of Maitri's Board of Directors, has been named the Chair of our new Strategic Planning Committee. Michael is a Director, Meaningful Use at Kaiser Permanente and joined Maitri's Board of Directors in 2009. Over the years, Michael has served as Board President, Chair of the Development Committee, and as a direct-service volunteer at Maitri. 



Christina Raymond  has been named the Chair of Maitri's Development Committee. Christina is a writer and editor at RPX Corporation. She joined Maitri as a direct-service volunteer in November 2013, became a member of our Development Committee a few months later, and was appointed as a Board Member in late 2014.


Interested in helping to craft a long-term vision and plan for Maitri? 


We are looking for committed individuals to devote 2-4 hours a month from August-December 2015 on a focused, strategic planning effort. A strategic mindset, respect for diverse viewpoints, and a love for Maitri is all that is required. If interested, please contact committee chair Michael Niemeyer at


 hatsoff2015 Volunteer Choice Award

We are proud to report that following a popular vote held in May, Maitri was named one of the top five finalists for the 2015 Volunteer Choice Award.


The award is presented annually to a Bay Area nonprofit, and is bestowed by The Volunteer Center (an organization founded in 1946 by the Junior League of San Francisco) following a popular vote.  


Maitri was represented at an awards ceremony on June 18 by Executive Director Michael Smithwick as well several board members, volunteers, and staff members.


Thank you to everyone who voted for Maitri to win this esteemed award! We appreciate your support.



YasmenVolunteer Yasmen Mehta Publishes Book,
Shares Proceeds with Maitri

One of Maitri's direct-service volunteers, Yasmen Mehta, recently published a memoir and has generously pledged to share some of its proceeds with Maitri.

Yasmen currently teaches CrossFit, Pilates, and Yoga Tune UpĀ® and is a trained dancer and speed skater. In her memoir, Mom You're Not Normal, she explores the power, beauty, and grace of the human body while encouraging others to experience that for themselves.

At Yasmen's book release party on June 14 (at SF Crossfit, where she is a coach), she signed and sold over 60 books. Afterwards, Yasmen donated $480 from the sale of the books to Maitri.

If you would like to order a copy of Mom You're Not Normal, please send an e-mail to and we will connect you directly to Yasmen. She will then donate $5 of your purchase to Maitri!

We are so grateful for Yasmen's compassion as a volunteer and her generosity as a donor. Thank you Yasmen!




IssanTwo Opportunities to Remember Maitri Founder Issan Dorsey

On September 6, 2015, both Maitri and Hartford Street Zen Center will hold ceremonies to commemorate the life of Issan Dorsey. This year will be the 25th anniversary of Issan's death; join us in honoring his compassion, selflessness, and bravery in the face of the AIDS epidemic.

Maitri will hold a ritual of remembrance from 1:30 to 2:30 PM, during which we will look back on Issan's life as well as the lives of our residents who have passed. Hartford Street Zen Center, where Issan served as Abbot until his death in 1990, will begin its celebration at 3:00 PM--we hope to see many of you there.

Employee Spotlight: 

Melanie Bien's Hospice Project in Uganda

Melanie Bien, one of Maitri's Social Work Case Managers who also works at SF General Hospital, is leveraging her deep experience in hospice and palliative care to help terminally ill individuals in Mbale, Uganda, including those dying of AIDS. Through Global Village Connect (GVC), an organization that Melanie supports as a board member and volunteer, she is sharing information, resources, medications, and supplies with hospice providers in Mbale.

Melanie has travelled to Africa four times since her first visit in 1999, which was supposed to be a six-week trip but turned into a year-long exploration. "My friend Joanne and I drove a truck from Senegal, in West Africa, to the Central African Republic, stopping only when dead-end roads and dangerous political strife prevented us from traveling any further," Melanie says. It was Joanne Trangle, the president and founder of GVC, who introduced Melanie to Uganda last year. During their visit, Melanie spent time meeting with hospice providers and patients, helping in any way she could while bearing witness to a terrible crisis.

According to UNAIDS, in 2013, an estimated 1.6 million people in Uganda were HIV positive (190,000 of which were 0 to 14 years old), 63,000 people died of AIDS, and over 1 million children were orphaned by AIDS. "It appears that every single person in Uganda has been deeply impacted by HIV/AIDS," says Melanie, adding that 40% of the people who receive help from GVC in Uganda are HIV positive. "I knew, after that first trip to Uganda, after I saw such tremendous loss, that I had to do something to help."

With the assistance of GVC staff and volunteers, as well as the support of individual donors, Melanie has since returned to Uganda twice more to help with hospice initiatives and palliative programs there. She typically stays three to four weeks, travelling from one community to another, educating volunteers, strategizing with local medical professionals, and visiting with patients in hospitals and homes.

Receiving help from an expert like Melanie could be a game changer for hospice providers and patients in Uganda, improving end-of-life care in a place where so many people are sick and dying. You can support this important initiative by donating funds and equipment (such as used cell phones), by volunteering your professional skills (e.g. in development, graphic design, or communications), or even by starting your own grassroots fundraising campaign to benefit GVC.

Visit for more information. For additional details on Melanie's project and how you can get involved, go to  


Falletti Foods and Its Customers Give Back


One of our favorite local grocery stores, Falletti Foods, happens to be one of the most generous in the city. The Falletti Foods Five Back campaign gives tokens to customers who bring in their own bags, which the shoppers then use to "vote" for their favorite nonprofit. Falletti then matches each vote with 5 cents.

In late June, Maitri received a nearly $800 check from Falletti Foods! Many thanks to the mystery shopper who nominated Maitri as a beneficiary of the campaign, and to all the customers who voted for us as their favorite nonprofit. And last but not least, a deep bow to Falletti Foods for its generous gesture.

Many thanks for a successful BLISS 2015!
We would not be able to do it without our sponsors and friends:


($25,000 or more)

Sutter Health / CMPC





 ($10,000 or more)

The Apothecarium


The Dorian Fund

Joseph & Cohen





 ($5,000 or more)

Mission Bay Conference Center
at UCSF 


James C. Hormel


Jim King


Nancy Nipper


Sterling Bank & Trust


The Bob Ross Foundation




Jill Stockwell

Winston C. Vaughan, MD  
and Jeffrey P. Sallot




 ($2,500 or more)

Scott Agnew Design


Fitness SF  

The Faeder Family
Danford Foundation



Ruth and William Isenberg  

Silva Watson Moonwalk Fund





 ($1,000 or more)

AHF Pharmacy

Christina and Brian Raymond

Kathleen Gallardo

Miguel A. Sesana

Chris Harris and Dr. Sally Hand

Michael Smithwick and Jerry Wilder
Paragon Real Estate Group Walter Parsley

Barry Tereshkow and
Andrew McConnell




 ($500 or more)

Pierre Crouch and Larry Cadloff

Abbott A. Leban and Janet A. Leban

Alan Gibbs and Fabrizio Chiesa

Jamie Moran, LCSW

Harry and Marjo Cuddy

Michael Niemeyer

Bob Dockendorff 

Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen

Maitri Goonewardena

Mary Schroeder and Deena Lahn

Greenleaf / Mario Goes

Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen

Joe Grubb

David Troup and Kenny Lin
Kirk Kleinschmidt
R. Kevin Wewerka

Ray Lapointe and Matthew Reedy

Douglas Will





Barefoot Wine

McCune AV

Church Street Flowers

Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF

Classic Party Rentals DBI

Montagrano Inc.
Thomas Farrell - GAIA San Francisco School of Massage

JK Sound

Southern Wine and Spirits