The Margot Murphy Women's Cancer Program & Avon: Creating A Safety Net for Women In-Need

Funding Continues to Support Diverse Client Needs

Earlier this spring, the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Grants Program sponsored three Margot Murphy Women’s Cancer Program representatives to attend its second annual grantees retreat in New York City. The MBC Grants Program launched in 2014 to support initiatives to provide information and services that help people with metastatic breast cancer navigate the medical and emotional challenges associated with their diagnosis.  Client Gerry Crowley, Program Director Judith Harkins, and Care Navigator & Wellness Manager Lily Tsen participated alongside representatives from 22 different non-profit organizations from across the United States in the two-day retreat. The program covered topics unique to the needs of metastatic breast cancer patients, including integrative medicine, legal assistance, clinical trials, and nutrition for those undergoing treatment. As the only attendee over 80, Gerry was able to provide a unique perspective. The team from Shanti was able to connect with other providers and client representatives during panel sessions and breakout groups, creating a stronger network of care for all those facing a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. 

Through Shanti’s partnership with the Avon Foundation for Women, our Women’s Cancer Program has received $475,000 in grants, including $75,000 in grants from the Avon-Pfizer MBC Grants Program. This generous funding helps ensure that Shanti can continue to offer critical safety net services to underserved women with breast cancer in San Francisco. Significantly, the support through the MBC Grants Program enables our staff to identify the unique needs of our clients with metastatic breast cancer and expand and adapt our services to best serve them. 

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.

Last year, Shanti provided Care Navigation, Emotional and Practical Support, and Health & Wellness Activities to more than 500 women facing cancer in San Francisco.

For more insight on metastatic breast cancer and the Avon-Pfizer MBC Grants Program, please visit:

Volunteer Spotlight: Adrienne Jonas Celebrates 30 Years at PAWS

Every week clients look forward to hearing Adrienne’s voice over the phone. She is often described as “a good humanitarian” who is “smart, compassionate, and extremely helpful.” Earlier this spring we were deeply honored to celebrate Adrienne’s 20 years of service with PAWS. Staff sat down with Adrienne last week to uncover how this canine and feline loving champion of PAWS manages to do it all.

Adrienne Jonas will be the first to tell you, when she thinks of beloved animals and the bond with their two-legged human companions, she can get emotional. From sweet Figaro—the feline love of her life (with a heart-shaped marking on his side to prove it!)—to her 11-year-old pup Bamboo “Boo” (recently adopted from Muttville), it’s no surprise she has touched more than a few lives during her 20 years of volunteering at PAWS.

A native of England, Adrienne got her start in San Francisco on a trip from Canada to Los Angeles in 1957. Originally intending on making the move to L.A., she quickly realized the one-day stopover in San Francisco had left its mark and promptly returned to the city by the Bay. Trained as a secretary, she got a job at Levi’s earning $300 a month. Eventually Adrienne grew to work as Purchasing Manager for all “labels, buttons, and baubles” on denim, working at Levi’s a total of 38½ years before retiring. It was not until a summer concert at Stern Grove in 1997, just after retirement, that Adrienne’s journey with PAWS began.

Representatives from PAWS were at a table in the Grove during the concert and caught Adrienne’s eye. At the time, PAWS was run by two full-time staff and an army of volunteers. Soon, Adrienne joined that army. Over the past 20 years, Adrienne has held a bevy of volunteer roles. Early clients might remember her working the reception desk of the office, back in the years when PAWS staff and volunteers had to knock on the door of the tenant upstairs to use the restroom.  Since then Adrienne has also assisted in data entry and computer work. Today, Adrienne is a regular and welcome feature in PAWS’ clients lives. Weekly, she makes calls to clients who receive food delivery from the PAWS pet food bank, although the conversation often touches on much more than quantities of pet food and cat litter. To be a constant voice on the other end of the telephone line on such a regular basis is a powerful part of the role, and Adrienne creates the space for clients who love to talk, or just want the wisdom and ear of a fellow pet lover.

Outside of PAWS, Adrienne has championed an expanded role of the human-animal bond in her own residence--a large community that was without pet-friendly staples such as a dog run. Adrienne started a pet club bringing together the 18 dogs and 18 cats—and their human companions—to further enhance the well-being of all.  For Adrienne, it comes back to the heart of the matter—the bond that exists within the two- and four-legged family. 

The PAWS family is truly lucky to have such a champion. Adrienne, for your 20 years of service, we thank you!

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


More than 1,400 AVON 39ers conquered 39.3-miles to take down breast cancer

SAN FRANCISCO, July 9, 2017 – AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer continued its 15th annual event series in San Francisco this weekend raising $3.1 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 united by the theme #FierceIsForever – drew more than 1,400 participants from 39 states and Washington, DC, including 220 breast cancer survivors who walked a total of 39.3 miles over two days. Since AVON 39’s launch in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620,000,000. Funds raised are distributed to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations.

“Since 1992, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has been committed to enabling access to medical advances and support services for breast cancer patients, particularly those from vulnerable populations,” said Jill Surdyka, AVON 39 National Ambassador. “The $3.1 million raised this weekend will allow us to continue this important work with our beneficiaries in the San Francisco area and across the nation, with the hope that one day we will obliterate breast cancer once and for all.”

Rae Smith, a two-time AVON 39er and Avon Representative, earned her 39 this weekend in San Francisco. I'm doing this walk because of my mom,” says Rae.  “My mother was a true fighter and never let this disease get the best of her. She had such courage and stamina and it amazed me how she kept going until the very end. I walk and fight for those who can't, and support those that are.”

At the event, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade announced 10 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 $45 million donated by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and Avon Foundation for Women to organizations and institutions in Northern California.

Representatives from the 10 organizations receiving grants at AVON 39 San Francisco 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.

  •         Tanya Project received a grant to help provide free legal assistance to breast cancer patients throughout the Bay area. They will support underserved women by drafting legal documents, addressing health insurance issues and ensuring that women know their rights.
  •         Shanti Project received a grant to continue providing care and support for more than 150 low-income and uninsured women with breast cancer in San Francisco. Their multi-lingual staff will help patients understand their treatment plans and provide referrals and support around nutrition, childcare, housing and other needs.
  •         Charlotte Maxwell Clinic received a grant to help deliver integrative medicine, like acupuncture, herbs and yoga, alongside practical support, like grocery cards, emergency funds for unpaid bills and food pantry services to more than 350 underserved women in Oakland
  •        Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County received a grant to continue to provide comprehensive navigation services to women living with breast cancer in rural areas of Mendocino County. They will facilitate communication with healthcare providers and ensure that women have transportation and lodging for appointments that are often far from their homes.
  •         Women’s Cancer Resource Center received a grant to increase awareness of breast cancer screening in multiple languages to more than 1,000 individuals living in the East Bay. Additionally, they will help 140 women diagnosed with breast cancer get the care and treatment they need.
  •         Alameda Health System and Alameda Health System Foundation received a grant to continue to support their patient navigation services for a multi-ethnic population of medically underserved breast cancer patients, giving them access to critical breast cancer screening, diagnostic and treatment services.
  •        Paradigm Shift Therapeutics received a grant to continue their research to identify small molecules that can activate the immune system and stop cancer growth in patients with metastatic disease.
  •        Project Open Hand received a grant to make 100,000 meals and grocery bags for people living with breast cancer in San Francisco and Alameda County.  This year they will serve their 1 millionth meal to the breast cancer community.
  •         Samaritan House of San Mateo received a grant on behalf of Avon’s Breast Health Outreach Programs in the Western U.S. so organizations like the Samaritan House can help communities learn about the importance of regular breast cancer screening. They will also help individuals access screening and get the care they need should they be diagnosed with breast cancer. 
  •         San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, home of the Avon Center of Excellence, received a grant on behalf of the ZSFG Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Program to improve access to mammography services, care delivered through the mammography van and access to patient navigation.  In addition, they will conduct two research projects, one examining how targeted outreach messages can increase screening mammography rates and another assessing how breast cancer survivors seek further health services. 

"As the company for women, we are proud of our strong purpose-driven mission to improve the lives of women – and this includes our long-term commitment to the fight against breast cancer. I've had the great privilege of participating in the AVON 39 Walk and being a part of the powerful community of walkers. I'm inspired by the individuals whose lives have been touched by breast cancer, and who have their own personal reason for wanting to take part and make a difference," says Scott White, Chief Executive Officer, New Avon LLC.

Event Details
AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer San Francisco began on Saturday, July 8 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at Lindley Meadow. Participants then walked 26.2 miles through the San Francisco area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters. AVON 39 participants spent Saturday night at City College of San Francisco featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers and meals, entertainment and leisure activities, as well as volunteer medical services provided by AVON 39 Medical Sponsor Stanford Health Care.

On Sunday, July 9, after completing the final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends at Marina Green to celebrate their achievement at a finish festival with entertainment and closing ceremony, which started at 2:00 p.m. During the ceremony, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade awarded new grants to Northern California-area breast cancer organizations to ensure the funds raised will benefit the community immediately.

Get Involved with AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer
Registration is open for 2017 events, including Santa Barbara (September 9-10); and New York (October 14-15). Registration is also open for 2018 events in Houston (April 21-22); Washington DC (May 5-6); Chicago (June 9-10) and Boston (June 23-24).

For more information about AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, visit or join the #FierceIsForever conversation on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

About AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer
AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer is the largest fundraising event for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Since its launch by the Avon Foundation for Women in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620,000,000 in the fight to end breast cancer. Funds raised at each event provide direct impact in the area where the event takes place, and also help make sure that care and research programs nationwide have adequate resources to make the most progress possible. For more information about AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, visit or join the #FierceIsForever conversation on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

About New Avon LLC New Avon LLC (“Avon”) is the leading social selling beauty company in North America, with independent sales Representatives throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Avon's product portfolio includes award-winning skincare, color cosmetics, fragrance and personal care products, featuring iconic brands such as ANEWAvon Colormark., and Skin So Soft, as well as fashion and accessories. Avon has a 130 year history of empowering women through economic opportunity, and supporting the causes that matter most to women. Together, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women have contributed over $1 billion globally toward eradicating breast cancer and domestic violence. Learn more about Avon and its products at

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 Title Sponsor Avon,
National Sponsor Reebok, Official Sponsor PLS Financial Services
Local Sponsor Vionic and Medical Sponsor Stanford Health Care.
AVON 39 also thanks Coffee Sponsor Don Francisco’s Coffee,
Breakfast Sponsor Cognizant, Ambulance Sponsor AMR / American Medical Response

 and Supplier Sponsors Tiger Balm, Effie’s Homemade and Palmer College of Chiropractic

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.”