Announcing Shanti's Newest Program: The LGBT Aging and Abilities Support Network

February 21, 2017

Contact: Chandra Johnson
San Francisco Human Services Agency
(415) 557-5940


New Community Services to Prevent Social Isolation and Improve Access to Alzheimer's Care Among LGBT Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

San Francisco, CA -- The San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services is launching the implementation of two important recommendations from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Aging Policy Task Force. New community services will be announced to enhance the lives of LGBT seniors and adults with disabilities through a peer support network to reduce social isolation, and a targeted Alzheimer's and Dementia Care education campaign designed to overcome the unique barriers aging LGBT individuals have to access services.

The San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force was convened in 2012 by the Board of Supervisors to evaluate the needs of LGBT seniors, to assess the capacity of the current support system to meet those needs, and to make recommendations to address any unmet needs.

WHO:                     California State Senator Scott Wiener
                                San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy
                                San Francisco Human Services Agency, Department of Aging and Adult Services
                                Shanti Project
                                Alzheimer's Association, Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter

WHEN:                   February 24, 2017

WHERE:                 San Francisco City Hall, Goodlett Place Steps
                                1 Dr, Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102


Media Notes
Agency contacts for more information:

California State Senator Scott Wiener - Jeff Cretan
San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy - Andres Power
Shanti Project - Kaushik Roy
Alzheimer's Association - Edie Yau

The Better Angels of Our Nature

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory…will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

– from President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural address, March 4, 1861

Dear member of the Shanti family,

This morning, I watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech while holding my sleeping 17-month-old daughter in my arms. As Secretary Clinton encouraged us “to never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it,” the poignancy of last night’s election results overwhelmed me.

For 42 years, Shanti has been a catalyst – in San Francisco and across the country and world – in offering compassionate care. At the heart of our model lies the belief that our shared humanity is always stronger than any differences that may seem to separate us from one another.

When I showed up for my Shanti volunteer training in 2004, I immediately fell in love with this organization. Looking back, the training didn’t just teach me the skills I’d need to be an effective volunteer; it taught me how to live by, in the words of Lincoln, the better angels of our nature. I am looking forward to this weekend’s Shanti volunteer training, as I will have the honor to be surrounded by a new group of volunteers who are offering themselves to selfless service, with compassion and empathy, for some of our community’s most vulnerable. Because if there is one thing that is starkly clear to me right now, it’s how much we all need more compassion and empathy, and Shanti provides this.

I want to thank all of you for your support of Shanti. Though I’ve always cherished being a part of such a special community, my gratitude for the Shanti community and its work has never been greater than today, as we all brace for what’s next for our country.

In community, 

Kaushik Roy
Executive Director

Shanti Awarded $50,000 from Avon-Pfizer Towards Metastatic Breast Cancer Services


Shanti among 22 non profit organizations to be awarded funding specifically towards metastatic breast cancer patient services. 

New York, NY – October 13, 2016 – The Shanti Project received a $50,000 grant from the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program: Identify-Amplify-Unify. In total, 22 non-profit organizations received grants totaling $1 million in funding to support and educate metastatic breast cancer patients, their caregivers and their communities. 

The 22 grantee organizations will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $75,000, to:
·         Address gaps in services for the metastatic breast cancer community, including medical, psychological, nutritional, complementary and integrative services, support, financial, and legal support.
·         Distribute resources and services available to vulnerable populations, including through telemedicine.
·         Share educational resources with the public focusing on metastatic disease, palliative care, treatment options, clinical trials, access to holistic medication, and complementary medicine.

The Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program was created in June 2014 to support advocacy, academic and other nonprofit organizations that provide information and services to help people with metastatic breast cancer navigate the medical and emotional challenges associated with their disease. To date, the partners have invested $2 million towards this goal. The first class of grantees announced last year helped more than 32,800 individuals through efforts including nutrition counseling, patient navigation, education and complementary care. Nearly 230 caregivers also benefitted from grantee initiatives, and many more families and community members were supported by this work. In addition, some programs included online content, reaching more than 14 million people with information on metastatic breast cancer.

For more information about the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants program, visit


About Shanti's Margot Murphy Women's Cancer Program
Shanti's Margot Murphy Women's Cancer Program offers services to mitigate the barriers women face after a cancer diagnosis. Our care navigators provide multilingual, culturally competent services, offering patient advocacy, language interpretation, help applying for social services, in-home support, appointment accompaniment, and transportation assistance. Our staff meets with clients in their homes, hospital rooms, or in our office. Shanti also provides health and wellness groups and classes.
We work with anyone newly diagnosed, in survivorship, or in palliative care.
Our program is part of a larger breast cancer community, partnering with public and private hospitals in San Francisco, and working closely with social workers, medical providers, and community partners to encourage treatment adherence to reduce interruptions in care. For more information, please visit:

About Pfizer Oncology
Pfizer Oncology is committed to the discovery, investigation and development of innovative treatment options to improve the outlook for cancer patients worldwide. Our strong pipeline of biologics and small molecules, one of the most robust in the industry, is studied with precise focus on identifying and translating the best scientific breakthroughs into clinical application for patients across a wide range of cancers. By working collaboratively with academic institutions, individual researchers, cooperative research groups, governments, and licensing partners, Pfizer Oncology strives to cure or control cancer with breakthrough medicines, to deliver the right drug for each patient at the right time. For more information, please visit

About the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
Since 1992, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has been working to improve breast cancer outcomes and reduce disparities in survival rates. The Crusade’s strategic grant making reflects: a holistic and place-based approach in high-need areas throughout the United States; a commitment to enabling access to medical advances and support services for breast cancer patients, particularly those from vulnerable populations; and a commitment to investing in research on the prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of breast cancer. In the U.S., Avon Breast Cancer Crusade manages the Avon Foundation for Women’s breast cancer programs. The Avon Foundation for Women partners with affiliate Avon Foundations and Avon markets around the world for additional programming. In total, Avon and the Foundation have contributed more than $800 million to breast cancer programs around the world through 2015. To learn more, visit:  

About Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women 
Avon is a global corporate leader in philanthropy focused on causes that matter most to women. Through 2015, Avon and the 
Avon Foundation for Women have contributed over $1 billion in over 50 countries. Avon’s funding is focused on breast cancer research and advancing access to quality care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. The company’s global markets sell special products to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer and domestic violence, conduct hundreds of events for these causes, and educate women around the world through its global network of nearly six million Avon Representatives.

Volunteer Profile: Sondra Bishop

“ If I see a need, then I do it, whatever it takes.”

Shanti recently profiled one of its beloved volunteers, Sondra Bishop.
Like many long-time San Franciscans, Sondra first heard of Shanti during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  “I had several friends with AIDS, so I was affected directly…Shanti also used to have [flyers and billboards up], but it was [mostly] word of mouth – for someone that needed help, Shanti was the go-to organization, actually…. It was a brand name, Shanti.  There weren’t many other organizations that you really could identify with as helping the community….And now when I say [that I’ve volunteered with Shanti], people of that era or of that age group will say “Oh I used to volunteer [for Shanti!]”   

During the HIV/AIDS crisis, Sondra independently supported a number of friends affected by the disease. “I was just helping out 1-on-1…. Most of my volunteering is on a personal level – I’m just one of those people that, if I see a need, then I do it, whatever it takes. “

She became directly involved with Shanti when she enrolled her new canine as a therapy dog through the ASPCA. When the ASPCA assigned her to Shanti, at the Drop-In Center she met one of the Shanti Care Navigators, who asked her if she’d like to attend an upcoming volunteer training. Reflecting on how she felt after completing the training, she declared “I came out of there like I was born again, like…. ‘My eyes are open, you don’t know about this organization, it’s incredible!’” She now visits Shanti’s Drop-in Center during the first two Tuesdays of every month. Sondra also volunteers regularly at Shanti’s annual dinners and events (including PAWS’s Petchitecture, which was held in May). 

When asked what aspect of Shanti’s mission most resonates with her, Sondra stated “The peer support – offering help to the neediest in the community…and that no individual should face a life-threatening illness by themselves. That, to me – I think that says it all….that’s the humanity of the organization. And now that you’ve expanded it to everyone, it’s not like you’re isolating to one disease....It’s non-judgmental.” 

Her occupation: Part-time patient coordinator for a plastic surgeon who performs head, neck & facial reconstructions
How she recharges:  Visiting and conversing with friends.   She used to travel frequently and collect Tibetan art – these days, she mostly enjoys reading and helping people, and like many others in SF, she is “always busy!” 

Her favorite thing about SF: “It’s my home, so of course I love it. I love the fact that it’s small, that you can go from one neighborhood to another, and that each neighborhood is unique to itself – like the tapestry of the community….Everyone comes from someplace else, so it’s a sense of community.”

PAWS and Shanti: Hitting the Ground Running

Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

In great news for San Francisco animal lovers, Shanti merged with PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) in November 2015!  PAWS will continue as a program of Shanti. Here’s the new mission statement of the combined organization:  Shanti Project exists to enhance the health, quality of life, and well-being of people with terminal, life-threatening, or disabling illnesses or conditions.  Through a continuum of services, including in-home and onsite patient and care navigation, emotional and practical support, and preserving the human-animal bond, Shanti strives to achieve the highest medical and quality of life outcomes for San Francisco’s most vulnerable. 

While there exists a number of noble animal-related causes and organizations in San Francisco, PAWS is unique in that it is the only program dedicated to ensuring that no pet guardians have to choose between caring for themselves or keeping their beloved animal companions (often times their sole source of support).  And this service is critical for maintaining clientsemotional and physical well-being: interaction with companion animals has been proven to lower anxiety levels and decrease the onset, severity, or progression of stress-related conditions. Some studies even show that pet ownership can lengthen a persons life by providing cardiovascular benefits and decreasing incidences of depression. The PAWS merger with Shanti is helping to ensure that PAWS can continue to provide these unique services to hundreds of clients for years to come, as well as strengthen the presence of both organizations within the community. 

Over the past six months, while both organizations have been working through various integration-related initiatives and a few inevitable challenges, the merger already has spurred some very encouraging developments.  The program was able to hire two additional Care Navigators to further meet its expanding client needs.  Further, the joint organization has begun to pilot ways to provide clients access to a more holistic range of services. For example, recently, a breast cancer patient with an aging dog was referred to PAWS’ Ask a Vet services, where she was able obtain vital information on her companion’s healthcare needs. As a result of this type of progress, members of the agency are very optimistic about PAWS’ ability to keep strengthening the support that it’s able to provide to San Franciscans in need. 

On May 25, the agency hosted the 21st annual Petchitecture at The Fairmont Hotel—a signature PAWS gala and the first of many successful events with PAWS and the Shanti Project working to strengthen our community together. The evening raised approximately $195,000 in support of PAWS’ mission to maintain the human-animal bond for those most vulnerable in our community. Four-hundred and fifty friends, and approximately one hundred of their beloved canine companions came out for a wonderful event celebrating the mission of PAWS and the PAWS program’s champions of the human-animal bond. If you missed the celebration, we hope to see you next year as PAWS celebrates 30 years of service.
Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

Welcoming PAWS into the Shanti Family


Dear Shanti volunteers, donors, and friends:

Today, I’m excited to share the wonderful news of the Shanti Project’s merger with one of our long-time community partners, Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS). Founded in 1987, PAWS is a San Francisco-based human services organization that supports people living with disabling illnesses and disabilities in caring for their pets. I want to publicly thank and commend both Boards of Directors who have invested a tremendous amount of their energy to explore what would be best for both agencies and the community. The result is a combined organization which will be able to serve clients with stronger and more sustainable resources.

The newly-formed organization will retain the Shanti name and PAWS will become a program of the merged organization. PAWS services will continue from its current location in the Mission District and Shanti will assume ownership of the current PAWS building, while still maintaining our main office location at 730 Polk Street.

“We’re thrilled to bring PAWS into the Shanti family, which will provide continuity and a strong financial base from which both organizations will benefit,” said Frank Petkovich, board chair for Shanti. “PAWS’ work complements Shanti’s efforts to provide emotional and practical support to vulnerable individuals across San Francisco.”

Together with PAWS, we offer a combined history of nearly 70 years of service to the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, Shanti has expanded from its base of serving people with HIV to include service to women with breast and other types of cancer. Having grown rapidly in recent years, Shanti will operate with an annual budget of $4.1 million for fiscal year 2015-16 following the merger.

“People who rely on Shanti for human support often receive daily compassion from their pets,” said Scott Jacobs, board chair for PAWS. “All safety net service organizations need to give thought to long-term sustainability and how most effectively to provide services to the community. Shanti and PAWS have wonderful mission compatibility and we are thrilled with the merger.”

We invite you to join us on October 14th as we officially welcome PAWS into the Shanti community at our 41st Anniversary Benefit Dinner, Compassion is Universal, which will be held at San Francisco's Palace Hotel.

Please help us extend a warm sincere welcome to PAWS!



Kaushik Roy
Shanti Project
Executive Director


Shanti Awarded a $50,000 Grant from the Avon Foundation


More than 2,500 Women and Men conquered 39.3-miles to crush breast cancer
San Francisco, CA, July 12, 2015 AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, continued this weekend in San Francisco raising $4.6 million to accelerate breast cancer research, improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment, and educate people about breast cancer.

AVON 39 San Francisco – the fifth of seven events across the country to unveil the new theme #Powerof39 – drew more than 2,500 participants from 43 states and Washington, D.C., including 293 breast cancer survivors and 330 men.

“We were thrilled to continue the AVON 39 series in San Francisco, where more than 2,500 39ers united with one common goal: to eliminate breast cancer,” said Jill Surdyka, AVON 39 National Ambassador. “The grants given today will help us do just that – and will help us to further our goal in providing services to those in need, educating the public, and crushing breast cancer once and for all. The dedication, enthusiasm and spirit of our participants is undeniable – and we’re extremely grateful for their ongoing support.”

San Francisco AVON 39er, Alex Loveman, shared her moving story and battle with breast cancer to fellow participants, volunteers, family and friends. “When my radiologist told me I had breast cancer, I was shocked and felt completely numb. That’s the feeling I carried with me as I tried to wrap my head around how I was going to raise my three-year-old daughter and two-month-old twins,” said Loveman. “I was very fortunate to be part of a last-minute clinical study that began working immediately. Between that and the support from my husband, family and friends, the numb feeling began to fade. That’s what this weekend means to me, support and community. This weekend we united as a community to raise money and support the fight against breast cancer.”

Jill Surdyka, AVON 39 National Ambassador, announced 11 new grants to local breast cancer organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the local community. Additional grants will be awarded throughout the year, adding to the more than $41 million donated by the Avon Foundation for Women to organizations and institutions in Northern California since 2001.

Representatives from each Northern California organization received grants on stage at the AVON 39 closing ceremony. They thanked participants for their commitment to ending breast cancer and for their spectacular fundraising achievements. All Avon Safety Net and Breast Cancer Outreach Program grantees commit to providing their services to everyone – no matter their insurance status, demographic background or ability to pay.
·         San Francisco General Hospital, the home of the Avon Breast Cancer Center of Excellence, received a $500,000 grant to support the “Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Center” at SFGH, which includes a mobile mammography van, a high-risk genetic clinic, community outreach and breast cancer research programs. The Avon Center has performed over 95,000 mammograms and more than 12,000 breast procedures since it opened in 2004. 

·         University of California San Francisco received a $300,000 grant to develop novel therapies to reverse treatment resistance in hormone therapy resistant metastatic breast cancer and reactivate a patient’s immune system to help fight the cancer.

·         Project Open Hand the AVON 39 San Francisco's food sponsor received a $200,000 grant to serve more than 400 breast cancer clients this year, providing more than 63,000 meals through Project Open Hand’s Homebound Critically Ill Program.

·         Charlotte Maxwell Clinic received two grants totaling $175,000 to provide integrative medical services including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage therapy and homeopathy and safety net support services for low-income women with breast cancer, with a focus on patients with metastatic disease.

·         Paradigm Shift Therapeutics received a grant of $150,000 to support of research that will enable testing the role the protein CD47 plays in the development and spread of breast cancer. This protein may improve a patient’s response to chemotherapy, help reduce side effects and prevent breast cancer metastasis. 

·         Alameda Health System Foundation received a grant of $125,000 to assist high-risk patients in need of diagnostics and treatment services.

·         Women’s Cancer Resource Center received a grant of $125,000 to support 3,200 high-risk or diagnosed women with navigation, financial assistance, education and support services.

·         Zero Breast Cancer received a grant of $100,000 to continue its unique community-based, participatory approach to breast cancer research to identify its causes and ultimately prevent it.

·         Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino received a $75,000 to grant to provide patient navigation and support services to women with breast cancer who live in some of the most rural parts of Northern California with a special focus on Hispanic and Native American women.

·         Shanti Project received a $50,000 to grant provide one-on-one Care Navigation services to 175 underserved, low-income women with breast cancer in San Francisco. 

Event Details and Exciting New Elements
AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer San Francisco began on Saturday, July 11 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at Fort Mason. During the opening ceremony, participants received woven ribbon wristbands, called connection bands, to showcase who they are walking for. Participants then walked 26.2 miles through the San Francisco area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters. They spent Saturday night at Basecamp 39, which was located at Corte Madera Town Park, and featured pink two-person tents, hot showers, meals, and entertainment. New elements to the campgrounds included a temporary tattoo parlor, assorted games, and nightly entertainment. A special tent, Lounge 39, also allowed participants to relax.

On Sunday, July 12 after completing the final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at a closing ceremony at Fort Mason where the new grants were awarded. A DJ was onsite as participants crossed the finish line and received finisher metals as a new keepsake of their accomplishment.

Get Involved with AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer
The 2015 season is open for
registration. Upcoming events will take place in Santa Barbara (September 12-13); and New York (October 17-18).  For more information about AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, visit or join the #Powerof39 conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

About the Avon Foundation for Women
Avon Foundation for Women is the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women.  Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2014, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated nearly $1 billion in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit for more information.


Encourage women around you to do the same. Don’t forget, men can get breast cancer, too.
For breast cancer information and resources, visit

AVON 39 Thanks National Sponsor Reebok, Official Sponsors Tiger Balm, PL$, The Company Store, Medical Sponsor Stanford Health Care, Supplier Sponsors San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Go Go Squeez and Opening Ceremony Coffee Sponsor Cognizant.