Press Release

Baker Places Inc. Merges with Positive Resource Center

Positive Resource Center, June 20, 2016

Positive Resource Center (PRC), a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to assist people living with HIV/AIDS or mental health disabilities, today announced its agreement to combine with local nonprofit Baker Places (BP), which provides a comprehensive array of residential treatment services to people with mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS- related issues. PRC also announced that it is exploring a deeper collaboration with AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), an emergency financial assistance provider for low-income residents disabled by HIV/AIDS, which could also result in a merger of AEF and PRC. The boards of BP and PRC unanimously approved the combinations. The closing of the combination between PRC and BP is subject to customary closing conditions, including notice and consent requirements under applicable regulations.

With a combined 115-year history of service, approximately 5,000 clients would benefit directly from these consolidations by bringing multiple, like- minded services “under one roof” and placing clients’ needs front and center. Following the combinations, the PRC, BP and AEF operations would conduct business as Positive Resource Center and would have an aggregate annual budget of $20 million. Brett Andrews, PRC’s current executive director, would be CEO of the consolidated organization.

“Combining three like-minded nonprofits such as these represents the next logical step in PRC’s organizational growth and development,” said Andrews. “This expansion will allow us to provide a continuum of services so people have one-stop access to everything they need.”

After October 31, BP’s executive director, Jonathan Vernick, who worked with the organization for 33 years, will transition from his current role to become a special advisor to the new PRC.

Eighty-five percent of BP clients were either homeless or recently homeless prior to receiving the organization’s services. Vernick is confident this merger will provide these clients with a comprehensive array of mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS-related services. “Since 1969, Baker Places has dedicated itself to helping people learn and regain the skills they need to live their lives fully and productively,” said Vernick. “Just as Baker Places has done for the last 52 years, I’m looking forward to working with PRC as we align these services to better reflect our clients’ needs.”

Sandra Nathan, who joined AEF and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) last September to lead both organizations through a strategic planning and restructuring process, will transition from her role as executive director when the pending merger is complete. BCEF, with a separate 501c3 status, serves a distinct and targeted population and will remain an independent entity.

“In 1982, a group of San Franciscans came together to pay bills for their friends that were too ill to work due to HIV/AIDS. 34 years later, the AIDS Emergency Fund continues to provide financial assistance to more than 2,000 low-income residents disabled by HIV/AIDS,” said Nathan. “This proposed merger will provide even greater financial assistance by increasing the availability of services that are still in demand.”

BCEF Board Chair Heather Renshaw said the organization feels it is vital to its mission to continue as a standalone organization at this time. “We’re very excited for AEF to better serve its clients through a potential merger with PRC,” she said. “Our focus at BCEF will be to continue to raise funds that directly help low-income women maintain medical care and basic living expenses when they’re too sick to work. Furthermore, we’re going to more deeply engage our donors, funders and other key stakeholders to take our compassionate service model to the next level of growth."

The organization will have a combined staff of approximately 250 employees as a result of the merger. Although the buildings which are part of each organization will remain in operation, the headquarters of the new PRC will remain at 785 Market St. in San Francisco.

Since the programs offered by the three organizations are fully complementary, no program overlap exists. Under the new PRC, donors can designate which program their gifts support. Volunteers can support activities that offer easier access to a comprehensive array of services for people with myriad disabilities and chronic conditions. Volunteers can still elect a specific program with which to assist.

The combined resources and expertise address four of the five major areas of social determinants of health:

  • Income (e.g. disability income, emergency funds, general assistance) 
  • Health Care Access (e.g. Medi-cal, Medicare, private insurance)
  • Housing (e.g. residential treatment, prevention of homelessness) 
  • Employment & Education (e.g. job placement, vocational training)

Core Values

The services provided:

  • Offer an integrated approach to help clients with all their needs
  • Give clients easy access to the knowledge needed to make their own choices
  • Serve all clients in a culturally appropriate way
  • Utilize a harm reduction and client-centered model, emphasizing one-on-one relationships
  • Are culturally competent and diverse at the volunteer, staff and Board levels
  • Respect and seek participation from all agency stakeholders, including people living with HIV, in all areas of the organization
  • Operate at all levels with accountability, honesty and integrity

Meet the needs of all persons affected by or at risk for HIV including:

  • people of any gender identity or sexual orientation
  • immigrants, regardless of immigration status, and people with limited English proficiency
  • people who are incarcerated, ex offenders, people with dependents, people of color, people with mental or physical disabilities including the deaf and hard of hearing, women, youth, seniors, sex workers, active drug users, and people in recovery

Leadership

Brett Andrews, Executive Director of PRC; will become CEO of the new PRC

  • Oversees all operations
  • Began his PRC career in 2003; served most recently as PRC’s executive director
  • Formerly served as commissioner for the San Francisco Ethics Commission, as well as the ED for Los Angeles Team Mentoring, Inc. and Kid’s N’U, Inc.

Jonathan Vernick, Executive Director of Baker Places 

  • After October 31, Vernick, who worked with the organization for 33 years, will transition from his current role to become a special advisor to the new PRC. 

Sandra Nathan, Executive Director of AIDS Emergency Fund

  • Joined AEF and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) in September 2015 to lead both organizations through a strategic planning and restructuring process.
  • Will transition from her role as executive director when the pending merger is complete. 
  • BCEF, with a separate 501c3 status, serves a distinct and targeted population and will remain an independent entity.