Mental Healthcare is Changing in California. Join Us in Changing it for the Better!

Mental health. Substance use. Homelessness. Solutions. Investment.
These words typify our experience as San Franciscans, Californians, as Americans. But how often to we push beyond the buzzwords and have meaningful dialogue about the real issues affecting our communities? When was the last time we heard from an expert about the work on the ground and solutions that are achievable for everyday people?

Hear what we all need to keep in mind as we consider how to get involved in solutions on mental health in our community.

We’re grateful to Manny’s for providing a platform for this kind of community-based dialogue last month, joining the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies for an important conversation on the changing nature of our state’s behavioral health system. Together, we unpacked recent legislation affecting organizations like PRC and talked through the many reasons to be hopeful in the face of frustration.

“This is an incredibly dynamic moment for Behavioral Health in San Francisco, and it will require the collective effort of our entire community to explore innovative solutions for the systemic changes we aspire to see. While our primary focus is serving our clients, we understand that we cannot do this in isolation. We are committed to serving our clients alongside community members, recognizing that social rehabilitation thrives within the context of community.” – Chuan Teng, PRC Chief Executive Officer

Here are the most important takeaways you need to know:

  1. There’s more energy and political will around behavioral health in halls of power across California than ever before. Just last year, there were more than 300 behavioral health bills introduced, shattering levels from previous legislative sessions. That enthusiasm for solutions is in and of itself, a good thing. 
  2. It’s important to keep conversations around public health and criminality separate. Unfortunately, we’re seeing these conversations conflated. People who use drugs aren’t universally experiencing homelessness. People without homes aren’t universally using drugs or living with mental illness. We should reject language that says otherwise. We need to prioritize getting people into treatment because it’s proven to work. 
  3. Ensuring that everyone has the behavioral healthcare they deserve isn’t the responsibility of the government or one stakeholder. It will take all of us, government leaders, public and private health sector, nonprofits and philanthropy, and the community, working together to get more people housed and more people in treatment.

Manny’s, located in the Mission, is a space where the community comes together to take part in civic and political life. Manny’s is a town hall, a village square, the place where anyone can meet and engage with civic leaders, elected officials, artists, activists, changemakers, and each other.

Save the Date for Mighty Real | Friday, October 4

Friday, October 4, 2024 | 6:30pm | The Pearl | 601 19th St

Please join PRC at our annual fundraiser Mighty Real as we celebrate our clients and the positive life changes they make every day through imagination, inspiration, and action. Over the course of one special evening, we invite you to join us on a journey. Imagine a better future for our community. Inspire ourselves to take part in meaningful change. Act to make our vision a reality!

Named after the signature song, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” of PRC’s patron saint and greatest benefactor, the larger than life “Queen of Disco,” Sylvester, PRC’s Mighty Real pays homage to the star who benefitted from PRC’s services and in turn gifted his future music royalties to PRC. In gratitude, we honor Sylvester through the namesake of our signature fundraising event of the year. 

Sponsorships are now available and tickets go on sale soon. Stay tuned for more details!

Celebrating the backbone of PRC: our Finance Team

As PRC continues to celebrate May as Staff Appreciation Month, we recognize our phenomenal Finance team. They are experts in fiscal management and the glue holding PRC together.  

With meticulous attention to detail and unwavering devotion, our Finance team guides the smooth functioning of our organization in more ways than one. They navigate the complexities of reimbursements for more than 40 public contracts so our services are provided without disruption, while delivering the greatest impact. They manage expenses, reimbursements, and payroll for more than 200 employees, and support necessary compliance, all while exemplifying professionalism and expertise at every turn. 

Our Finance team’s diligence ensures that resources are allocated efficiently so our 7 residential treatment facilities, 22 Co-op residences, 2 Hummingbird low barrier access centers, and our Integrated Services Center can perform the crucial services each provides. Their efforts empower each department and program to fulfill their mission, helping over 5,000 clients annually to thrive. 

We are thrilled to recognize our Finance team for the invaluable part they play in our collective success. Their hard work often operates behind the scenes, but their impact reverberates throughout our organization. 

Please join PRC in extending our gratitude to the Finance team for their exceptional contributions and acknowledge the vital role they play in making a direct and lasting impact on our clients’ lives. 

P.S. Learn more about PRC’s incredible staff on our Instagram stories (click the Our Team icon). Follow us and share the important work we are doing far and wide!

Celebrating our unsung superheroes: the Facilities Team

As we continue celebrating May as PRC’s Staff Appreciation Month, we’d like to take some time to recognize some of the unsung superheroes of our organization: the Facilities team. While their work often goes unnoticed, their contributions are indispensable in ensuring the smooth functioning of our residences and properties where our services are provided. 

Beyond the routine tasks of maintenance and repairs at 7 residential treatment facilities, 22 Co-op residences, 2 Hummingbird low barrier access centers, and our Integrated Services Center;  our Facilities team plays a pivotal role in overseeing capital improvements and related grants. They maintain robust property management software ensuring that our clients’ needs are met promptly and efficiently, contributing significantly to their overall well-being.

They are the architects behind the scenes, crafting healing spaces that not only foster a sense of home but also provide safe environments for clients to develop essential social and independent living skills.

The Facilities team embodies the spirit of service and commitment that defines PRC. They are the backbone of our organization, tirelessly working to create environments where our clients can thrive. Their passion, dedication, and hard work are an essential component of the driving force behind the success of our mission. 

As we celebrate Staff Appreciation Month, join us in recognizing and applauding the relentless efforts of our Facilities team. 

P.S. Learn more about PRC’s incredible staff on our Instagram stories (click the Our Team icon). Follow us and share the important work we are doing far and wide!

If you would like to donate food or items to support PRC’s Staff Appreciation Month, contact Greg Perez, Managing Director of People Experience,
at [email protected].

Gary and Donna Retire Pride Brunch After 25 Amazing Years

Dear Friends,

Twenty-five years ago, we started Pride Brunch with the late Chef Rusty Gaspard at Stars restaurant as an opportunity for our community to gather during Pride weekend and raise funds for PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center). It quickly grew to an immensely popular official Pride event and significant fundraiser for PRC, honoring the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade and offering them a rare opportunity to share some remarks with the public.

2023 set new records with 350 guests, net proceeds of $78,000, and passionate remarks from every SF Pride Community Grand Marshal. The Westin St. Francis Hotel in Union Square came alive with colorful decor, lively entertainment, hosted bars from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Korbel, a delicious seated brunch, and a meaningful program augmented by comments from Mayor London Breed, State Senator Scott Wiener, and Assemblymember Matt Haney. In addition, we recognized 12 Legacy Partners, friends who contributed to the success of Pride Brunch over many years.

After careful consideration, we have decided to end this 25-year run with that successful 2023 event. As event expenses continue to climb, we find it increasingly difficult to keep ticket prices at a reasonable level for everyone. We want all our friends to be able to attend, regardless of their personal financial situation. In addition, the tremendous time, energy, and volunteer assistance needed for such a large event has eclipsed our resources.

We are so grateful to our generous financial sponsors, donors to the raffle and auction, those who bought raffle tickets and bid enthusiastically, and every single person who chose to support Pride Brunch with their attendance, donations, and volunteer hours. It is only with your help that Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet’s Pride Brunch has raised more than $645,000 in net proceeds since 1999 to support the life-changing work of PRC. We know how many
events and causes vie for your attention and we deeply appreciate your choice to include our event in your SF Pride plans.

To be clear, we will continue to serve on the Advisory Board of PRC and support PRC as before and we encourage you to do the same. If this decision leaves you wondering how to show your support for PRC, please consider the annual Mighty Real Fundraiser, Bare Chest Calendar, and Songs of the Season, among many other opportunities.

Thank you again for 25 years of generosity, community, and celebration. We consider ourselves very fortunate to live in San Francisco and to have your support.


Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet
Co-Founders, Pride Brunch

Join Charles and Gary in spreading support and joy.

We recently had the honor of meeting Charles and Gary, a remarkable couple who hope to amplify the profound impact that PRC has within our community. Charles came to PRC many years ago seeking assistance and shared his story of resilience, hope, and the transformative power of support.

Charles moved to San Francisco in 1979 on a quest for liberation, self-discovery, and to live freely as his true Self. He volunteered as a gay advocate with Citizens United Against Violence and as a street monitor during the Halloween festivals on Castro Street which he found to be fun and rewarding. Discovering his HIV-positive status in 1985 came as quite a shock and he discovered the daunting challenges he faced without adequate insurance coverage for HIV medications in those uncertain times.

While successful in a corporate day job, learning of his HIV status combined with feeling burnt out made Charles rethink what he truly wanted out of life. In his search for a change, he was guided to PRC. Charles credits PRC for providing the tools to help him process the trauma of contracting HIV, helping him reinvent himself and approach a new job market, and how to navigate the changes. He also credits the buying clubs for providing a lifeline to access vital HIV medications at affordable prices.

Charles’s search eventually led him to do voiceovers for the Network for Good’s call-in line and the National Radio Project. While working for the Network for Good he provided nearly free online fundraising services for nonprofits and remained in the field until after the passing of his longtime sweetheart Russel and then his retirement.

“The sessions I attended at PRC were very useful for helping me to really figure out my direction and to just survive. I continued working a corporate for a few years and then I moved over to the Network for Good where I spent the rest of my career. At the outset, I was working with a company called Ground Spring which was part of the Tides Foundation and then later merged with Network for Good. Now that I’ve retired, I want to give back. And I’m really excited about the ability to do stuff for PRC.”

Fast forward a few years, Charles and Gary met through a social meet-up group and are enjoying their life together here in San Francisco. Sharing a desire to bring positivity into the world, they’ve embarked on a mission to support PRC and encourage others to do the same. They understand firsthand the vital role PRC plays in providing resources and support to individuals like Charles.

Their commitment to our cause extends beyond their own experiences. Through their podcast, BayLyts, they share short episodes of their experiences in San Francisco that seek to foster community and laughter, bridging divides and spreading joy. They even talk about a recent visit to PRC’s Integrated Services Center in episode #2. We highly recommend giving them a listen.

We invite you to join Charles and Gary in supporting PRC. Your contribution can make a tangible difference in helping PRC to continue offering life-changing services to those affected by HIV/AIDS, mental health, and substance use, through providing hope, resources, residential treatment, and a path to a brighter future.

Every success story at PRC reinforces our belief that compassion should prevail over judgment and that individuals facing prolonged hardship should not be stigmatized or denied help over temporary emotional displays.  

We recently witnessed the powerful transformation of a client referred to Robertson Place, who, despite a history of strong emotions and behaviors, thrived there.  

Our dedicated and supportive residential counselors know the importance of looking past emotion and leading with compassion. They understand the metaphorical armor our clients acquire from being chronically unhoused and the compounded effects of substance use disorder. Whereas some may see a lost cause, our staff see a person deserving of help, and they know how to guide them on the right track.    
By more positively communicating his emotions and embracing the process, our client not only successfully completed the 90-day treatment, but he also secured housing, enrolled in school, and established strong community connections for ongoing support. His words resonate deeply:

“I feel like I’m starting a new life.”  

At PRC, we believe in providing individuals with the support they need to flourish and we’re asking you to join us.

Be a part of Hope, Grow, Thrive, PRC’s Spring fundraising appeal.

Through April 3 all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 thanks to our board match, doubling your impact. 

Individuals with mental health and substance use disorders can and do recover.

PRC helps people re-discover hope, and reimagine life and provides programs to help transform their dreams into reality.   

This is why we invite you to be part of Hope, Grow, Thrive, PRC’s board match fundraising appeal focused on turning moments of crisis into opportunities for growth and recovery. 

Recently, we helped a particular client who was experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder at our Hummingbird Center. His struggles with impulse control and frustration often led to outbursts towards others. Through dedicated one-on-one support, our counselors helped him reshape his reactions, identify and vocalize his emotions, and use therapeutic techniques for regulation. He learned to shift his fight-or-flight reactions to healthy coping mechanisms and this time he chose not to leave. 

While receiving care at Hummingbird Place, he cultivated supportive relationships and independent living skills and progressed to one of our specialized residential care programs. His journey showcases the profound impact of harm-reduction strategies combined with patience and the desire to change. 

PRC Baker Places empowers individuals to break free from cycles of despair and build hopeful futures.  

Please join us in making stories like this possible. Through April 3, your donation will have twice the impact thanks to our board match. Together, we can provide hope, healing, and the chance for a brighter tomorrow.

UMOJA Health Access Point – Join Us for Sexual Health Screenings and More!

February 28, 11 am – 6 pm
Rafiki Coalition for Health & Wellness 
601 Cesar Chavez Street

We are excited to share an upcoming community partnership with Rafiki Coalition for Health Wellness, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, 3rd Steet Youth Center & Clinic, and UCSF Alliance Health Project, to put on the UMOJA Health Access Point (HAP). The HAP is a one-stop hub providing sexual health services along with other supports for the African American community of San Francisco. The goal is to provide a holistic wellness experience empowering attendees with the tools needed to make lasting changes on their health journey through wrap-around services that meet their specific needs.

These free services include:   

  • holistic sexual health services 
  • cancer screenings  
  • grocery boxes  
  • healthy hot lunch  
  • massages  
  • self-care services  
  • community healing circles  
  • workforce supportive services  
  • wellness classes  
  • and more!  

Join us in our mission to empower the African American community of San Francisco with the tools and resources needed to thrive. Spread the word, share the love, and let’s make health equity a reality for all!   

PRC’s Board of Directors visit Baker Street House

Last month, PRC Board members and leadership staff had an opportunity to step into the shoes of those we serve on a visit to Baker Street House, our original and oldest transitional residential treatment program. This 16-bed facility caters to individuals with serious acute mental illness and offers a vital lifeline for their journey towards recovery. 

Board members gained an intimate understanding of the client experience within our residential care homes and witnessed firsthand the compassionate care and support our clients receive. Board members engaged in meaningful conversations with the dedicated staff who make it all possible.

Lower left, then clockwise | Chief of Policy and Government Affairs Tasha Henneman, Board member Darren Smith, Board member Tamarah Prevost, Board member Michael Niczyporuk, Facilities Manager Rich Mentze, Chief Development Officer Randi Paul, Board member Josh Frieman, Chief Operating Officer Marc Gannon, Chief Clinical Officer Jessica Winterrowd, and Chief Programs Officer Beth Mazie

Baker Street House staff shared that the residential site operates on five fundamental social rehabilitation principles that underscore its commitment to fostering holistic well-being: 

  1. Normalizing the environment: Creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere that mirrors everyday life. 
  2. Multidisciplinary staffing: Ensuring a diverse team of professionals collaborate to provide comprehensive care. 
  3. Client involvement in decision-making: Empowering individuals in their recovery journey by actively involving them in the decision-making process. 
  4. Program flexibility and individualized treatment: Tailoring care plans to meet the unique needs of each client. 
  5. Willingness to take risks: Encouraging a proactive approach in navigating challenges and facilitating growth. 

Board members had the following things to share:

“Thank you for hosting us today at Baker Street House. This was a great opportunity to learn a lot more about how one of PRC’s programs operates. I found this extremely helpful and hope to do more of it.”

“It was a great opportunity for us to come together to see firsthand all the great work being done to provide essential services to those in need. Looking forward to our next site visit!”

“I enjoyed learning about the facility. The staff is doing an amazing job.”

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Baker Street House program staff for graciously hosting us. Their insights provided invaluable context to the impactful work taking place within Baker Street House. Special appreciation goes to Jessica Winterrowd, our new Chief Clinical Officer, for consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership skills by effectively motivating team members and fostering a collaborative work environment.

This visit was not just a tour. It was an immersive experience that deepened our connection to the heart of PRC. As we continue our mission, we carry with us the shared commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve. 

In community,