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    A Nod to Nonprofits

    By Brett Andrews–

    Recently, a few members of my extended family started posting old family photos on Facebook. As you can imagine, it didn’t take me long to jump in on the nostalgic fun. With a bit of trepidation, I began to post a few photos of my own. There they were, for all to see: an aqua–colored kitchen; a small birthday party, with my mouth full of cake; kiddy train rides; and so much more. Clearly, those were my wonder years.

    I often reflect on my very middle-class childhood, being raised in a home that had just enough resources to provide for the family—solidly placed in Pennsylvania, and surrounded by honest, loving, salt-of-the-earth people with a strong work ethic.  What was less apparent to me then, and quite clear to me now, were the multitudes of people who worked various jobs that made up that middle class. It was not uncommon to have family members working as farmers, teachers or firemen, with many pulling long hours in the steel mills and the coal mines.

    Fast forward and more people than ever are doing “middle-class jobs,” but are earning working class wages. When you think of middle-class jobs in the Bay Area, you often think of jobs in the hospitality, retail, construction/trade, government and transportation sectors. Rarely does one think of the nonprofit sector.

    In fact, there are approximately 18,000 nonprofit organization workers in San Francisco. Why is that important?  Well, it’s good for the city’s bottom line. Many of our nonprofit workers live in the city and all contribute greatly to the economy. We are proud of the fact that San Francisco is recognized as a world leader when it comes to creating and carrying out innovative and effective models of community care. It would be almost impossible for the city to provide our robust level of service to such a diverse community without its partnership with the nonprofit sector.

    While San Francisco’s nonprofit sector is moderately healthy by most indicators, it is important to pay close attention to the constant tension between the increased demand for its services and the constant struggle the sector faces in keeping nonprofits capitalized through investments from government and philanthropy.

    I have had the honor of working within the nonprofit sector for twenty-seven years. I have seen, first-hand, the triumphs and struggles that organizations experience as they aim to advance their noble missions. Through it all, what remained abundantly clear to me was the abiding commitment and dedication of individuals who chose to take up the charge in doing this noble work. This important work is often overlooked, is less-compensated, and is not nearly as appreciated as it should be. To our dedicated nonprofit workers I say, thank you. The results of your efforts allow us to experience the humanity in the world.

    Leading PRC since 2003, Brett Andrews has overseen PRC’s evolution from a small HIV/AIDS legal service agency to an integrated social and behavioral health provider bent on fighting poverty, stigma and isolation by uplifting marginalized adults and affecting the social conditions of health. Brett holds an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Washington University, received the San Francisco Pride Celebration’s Heritage Award for 10+ years of service in 2017, and was appointed to the San Francisco Mayor’s Methamphetamine Task Force.