Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Shanti Project

14,983 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Health, Health Care

Mission: Shanti is a pioneering nonprofit that builds human connections to reduce isolation and improve quality of life. We believe that meaningful relationships are essential for navigating life’s most difficult challenges. Every day, we ease the invisible suffering that can accompany isolation or illness, and combat it through the power of personal connection. Because when we take care of each other, we make San Francisco a healthier and more compassionate community, for everyone.

Results: For nearly 50, Shanti has been cultivating compassion in our community. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Charles A. Garfield at the UCSF Cancer Institute, Shanti was one of the first volunteer organizations in the United States to provide support to people with life-threatening illness. Shanti emerged from the UCSF cancer ward halls to become one of the world’s very first community-based organizations to help support people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS during the epidemic’s early, most nightmarish days. In 2001, we expanded our services to include women diagnosed with breast cancer, and in 2015, we expanded again to serve women facing any cancer diagnosis. Also in 2015, we welcomed into the Shanti family community partner Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), whose mission ensures that no person has to make the decision between caring for their pet or caring for themselves. To bring our internationally recognized model of care to more underserved members of our community, we launched two new programs in 2016. Our LGBTQ Aging & Abilities Support Network (LAASN) addresses social isolation as well as emotional, behavioral, and health challenges faced by LGBTQ seniors and adults with disabilities. Our Peer Advocate Care Team (PACT) supports current residents of Potrero Terrace and Annex to help them prepare for their public housing to be demolished and rebuilt into a mixed-income community.

Target demographics: marginalized individuals, including people who are living with life threatening illness or disability, aging adults, and individuals facing poverty and systemic inequities overcome barriers to care so they may improve their health and wellness outcomes.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,200+ San Franciscans

Geographic areas served: San Francisco

Programs: Shanti serves more than 2,000 San Franciscans every year through the following programs: COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer Program (CERV) is our most recent program, launched in March 2020. CERV was created in partnership between the City of San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) and Shanti Project. CERV volunteers provide one-time or occasional practical support to older and vulnerable adults who are strongly advised to limit outdoor exposure during the Coronavirus pandemic. HIV Programs exist to ensure that the most underserved people living with HIV in San Francisco receive the compassionate support they need to manage all aspects of their health. LGBTQ+ Aging & Abilities Support Network (LAASN) addresses social isolation as well as emotional, behavioral, and health challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer seniors and adults with disabilities. Margot Murphy Women’s Cancer Program offers services to mitigate the barriers women face after a cancer diagnosis. Our program augments hospital-based care and reduces the social, economic, linguistic, and cultural barriers that underserved women face accessing, maintaining, and completing treatment and transitioning into survivorship. Peer Advocate Care Team (PACT) PACT reduces isolation, stress, and anxiety among residents of Potrero Terrace and Annex as we help them to prepare for their housing to be rebuilt into a mixed-income community. Our Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) program keeps people and their companion animals together. PAWS believes that no one should have to make the difficult choice of caring for themselves or caring for their beloved pets. We provide free comprehensive support services for pets of seniors and individuals living with disability or illness. Volunteer & Community Support Services Program offers meaningful opportunities to volunteer directly with our clients as Peer Support Volunteers and PAWS Pet Assistance Volunteers. We also provide other ways for volunteers to support our organization and our clients. Each year, hundreds of Shanti volunteers provide emotional and practical peer support services to some of San Francisco’s most underserved individuals, from those with challenges such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses to LGBTQ+ seniors and adults with disabilities facing isolation. Animal lovers also help keep those most at risk in our community together with their beloved pets within our PAWS Program (Pets Are Wonderful Support). Volunteers provide a continuum of services such as dog walking, distributing and delivering pet food from the PAWS food bank, transporting pets and clients to vet appointments, and providing temporary pet foster care.

Community Stories

99 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

On July 25, 2010, I had the pleasure of participating with a wonderful team of people in the San Francisco Marathon.  Each person on our team worked hard to raise money for a great cause while being a participant on the Shanti Cares Team.  Many of the Shanti employees ran in the marathon with the participants...which I thought was very commendable.  This program was awesome!  It motivated me to do something special to help others, while helping myself to become a better and healthier person. The Shanti Cares team training was very well organized, fun and motivational.  It was nice to be a part of such a great organization that does fabulous work assisting those in need.  I appreciate the hard work by the staff and volunteers. Keep up the good work Shanti.  

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I began supporting Shanti nearly ten years ago! I think they are a great organization. I have seen them grow, thrive, and support many people over the years. Specific ways I have helped include: hosting house parties, attending events, and filling a table for the annual gala.

1 studancer

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and told I would likely die within a year and I was angry and afraid of dying alone and in disgrace. I had read about Shanti's program offering practical and emotional support to people living and dying of this disease. I went and took the Shanti training in the early 1990's and my life was transformed completely. As the illness had progressed, I drank more and more and crossed the line from heavy drinker to alcoholic, and this two weekends of training gave me a new sense of hope and a window to recovery through which I entered and soon became involved volunteering with my own Shanti client as well as having my own Shanti volunteer and my physical health started improving as my emotional health grew. I experienced a world where men and women cared about one another with no expectation other than the possibility of helping another human being. I began a journey where I've come to believe in the infinite power of unconditional love and I'm forever grateful to Shanti for this great gift.

1 berto51

Client Served

Rating: 5

Shanti has been in my life for 4 years now. The level of concern and listening skills way surpassed my expectations. I've been a regular to the drop in on Thursday evenings which helped get me out of the house and into a positive and sharing environment. I've taken the L.I.F.E. course and changed bits and pieces of my health and behavior. (A good thing for me).
The staff has been so nice, loving, and caring. I grieve that this will not be around forever and hope that $ comes in to keep the programs alive.
What I'm really trying to say is... " Thanks to Shanti and everyone involved for helping me in my time of need" ..
Thanks so much

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't help but be thankful for all the support that SHANTI has given me and other people who have had issues with HIV+... Since I've attended the SHANTI L.I.F.E. work group, I've been more careful to take better care of myself (hopefully living better and happier). With the SHANTI group, I've also felt that I had a place to go when I've felt like a recluse. I've met so many good people THERE with hearts that hug. (my favorite) .. THANK YOU SHANTI!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shanti has been a part of my life since I first attended the volunteer training in the early years of the AIDS pandemic. I can still remember the powerful moment in my training when I knew that my life had been permanently changed. Since that moment I have never regretted the subsequent years I have spent with the organization as a volunteer, a staff member in every area of the organization from volunteer coordinator to Executive Director, and a volunteer again. Since joining the organization in my late 30's to now in my 60's, Shanti has helped make me a better person. I have never forgotten each client that I was matched with in the early years and the life lessons they taught me. The lessons I learned from them were so rewarding to me that I have always felt that I've received much more than I have ever given. I have continued to learn from clients, volunteers and staff throughout the ensuing years and find myself very grateful for the life I've had compared to the life I might have had if Shanti had not come into my life. I am proud to be a part of the Shanti community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with several organizations as a volunteer, and they were and are all great, but getting together with SHANTI and its Staff, its Clients, and fellow volunteers has rekindled a desire to go just that extra in helping those who at the moment need a hand. Kudos to all who built this organization, and to those unselfish volunteers who give so much of themselves, it is my pleasure to work by your side.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Shanti and everything it's done for me. I wish everyone could go through their peer support volunteer training, this world would be such a better place. Shanti has helped me be a better person and give back to the community.

1 marcus rivera

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SHANTI has changed my life. From the training to the connections among the clients and peers, I am extremely overwhelmed with the fabulousness that is this organization. When becoming a volunteer, I never expected to also make knew friends and become a better person than I was pre-training. If this is what can happen in my life in 2 months, I am only ecstatic of what can happen over the next year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is an organization that inspires its workers, its beneficiaries, and its volunteers. The training in Peer Support that I had through this organization provided me with valuable skills to be not only a better volunteer, but also a better listener and a better friend. Shanti seeks to be the difference between zero and one- providing the invaluable service of companionship and compassionate witnessing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Shanti has been a major role in the San Francisco area helping people deal with HIV and everyday LIFE issues. I participated in one of their LIFE workshops and learned more about myself and how to better educate and take care of myself because of the program. The staff are amazing and well trained and extremely friendly, they also are non-judgemental and great at helping find other resources in the community to assist those who need them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have only begun to become involved with this organization and can already see the incredible impact it has on the community. For 35 years they've been providing the support that people need when they need it. Without Shanti, San Francisco would not be the great, caring city that it is.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is an amazing organization and I am thrilled that I was able to volunteer and see the impact they make first hand.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

the shanti project is an incredible organization. they have a mission to help people in need, but they do so in a unique and original way. they put the needs of their clients first, and they listen.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is a loving, non-judgmental organization that provides a critical service to people living with breast cancer or HIV. San Francisco would be worse without it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel proud to be a part of this organization. Shanti goes to great lengths to provide services and resources to those living with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.

1 vsm

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In April 2005, I was matched with an HIV Services client. I enjoyed my client match and the organization so much that I wanted to get involved on a higher level. In September 2008, I had the privilege of joining Shanti's staff as the Volunteer Services Manager. I still love this organization and fully believe in what we are doing in the community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Shanti Project is one of those incredible organizations that changes your life, your perspective and the community at large. Founded under the ideals of humanism and harm reduction is their most base forms, the organization strives to make an emotional impact on the lives of people struggling with HIV AIDS and breast cancer. I've been a volunteer for over a year now and cannot express how positively Shanti impacts both the community and my life. Props out to Kaushik and Mindy, and of course, Charlie Garfield. AMAZING!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From the very beginning, Shanti has always been there for San Francisco's HIV+ Community! I know so many people who are so grateful for the help and support they received from Shanti and their Shanti volunteers, and as volunteer, I know it made a huge difference in my life!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is a fabulous organization. For volunteer and client there is opportunity to form a close bond with someone. I didn't want a volunteer position where I just went in did hours and left. In my experience I was able to get to know my client well and help her with her practical and emotional needs. I was able to see first hand how hard it can be for a woman with breast cancer and how she is able to manage her life with four children and take care of herself. Shanti training, staff and my support group have also been a benefit to my experience volunteering.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have always found the staff at Shanti to be inviting and friendly. They are supportive and promote an excellent atmosphere to learn about healing and support. I agree with other reviewers in that Shanti acknowledges and shows great appreciation to volunteers. My experience at Shanti has been many things: emotional, fulfilling, fun, educational, and more. Shanti provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to learn how to form potentially healing relationships. After training the staff will carefully match volunteers to clients. The processes and staff are organized at Shanti. I never felt confused about my role at Shanti, thanks to its good organization. Volunteer hours can be flexible. I recommend Shanti to anyone who would like to contribute to the community, to be a part of a great non-profit, to have the opportunity to advance in personal development, and/or to learn about healthcare.

1 gsulprizio

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is a fantastic organization with an attentive and friendly staff who do everything in their power to make sure their volunteers have a positive experience.

1 AngieR

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The organization itself is well run, friendly and flexible. The Shanti staff goes out of their way to support the volunteers, and make sure the volunteer experience is healthy and positive. Volunteers are carefully matched with clients whose needs fit the volunteer's schedule, personality and comfort level. The Shanti model of support is absolutely inspiring. It is based on the simple humanitarian principles of kindness and empathy. The basic idea is providing non-judgmental support for the ill, which can take many different forms. Some clients may need sympathetic listeners while others need someone to do the grocery shopping, or activity partners. I have been volunteering for Shanti for two years now. When I started the program, I knew that it would be a positive thing for me, but I had no idea how much my relationship with my client and my involvement in the organization would enrich my life. I consider volunteering for Shanti to be one of the best decisions I have ever made and I plan to remain involved with the project for a long time.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i searched for at least 6 months to find the volunteer opp where i thought i could most make a difference - and feel fulfilled personally. shanti has been more than i imagined. from the training (everyone should do this), to meeting and getting to know my client, to my peer support group, to the shanti coordinators - it is an incredible organization that truly makes a difference.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The service Shanti provides for the city of San Francisco is priceless. The staff at Shanit is made up of individuals who have a true passion and commitment to being of service, to individuals with life threatening illnesses. I have been a volunteer for three years and can honestly say that staff's commitment extends to all human kind. Their passion to be of service is truly from the heart.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti exemplifies dedication, compassion, reverence, humbleness, friendship, professionalism, perseverance, community, and so many other beautiful things that this world needs. The one thing that stands out in my mind, is that it's a family atmosphere when you're with Shanti, so you automatically feel the love. Shanti is a great, wonderful organization that proves there are people who really care for those in need.

1 RobP

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Shanti has been a profound experience of compassion, friendship and love. I've been privileged to spend two memorable years as a volunteer for my peer support client in the HIV/AIDS program. Left with very few friends and no family, he reached out to Shanti for a volunteer to be his companion and help him with simple tasks he could not do. The staff at Shanti are all wonderful and they make a great effort to acknowledge and show their appreciation for the volunteers. Shanti is more than a great nonprofit agency. It's a community of caring people who support each other give of themselves to serve others.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti provides an excellent outlet to provide peer support to people in need. If you feel compelled to give back, Shanti is the place to do it.

2 JonathanP

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to the US from Scotland and was lucky enough to be able to find my new home in San Francisco. After a year, I realized that while there was plenty to do between work and play, I wanted to find a volunteer opportunity in San Francisco. A friend took me to a Volunteer Appreciation event in 1995 and the Shanti staff and volunteers I met made an immediate impression on me. Charlie Garfield, Shanti Founder, gave a wonderful and moving speech to thank volunteers for their commitment and hard work. Shanti has created a peer-support model that is now used throughout the world. It teaches how to listen, witness, park judgements outside, provide validation and emotional/practical support for clients who may have no other people in their lives. So, a month later, I signed up for 2 weekends of intense training, learning about the organization and how to provide support to people with HIV/AIDS. I'll never forget how the training put me in touch with new ideas, people from a great variety of backgrounds and knowledge of how to deal with difficult client situations. I was matched with a client a month later and there began a 13 year volunteer/client relationship, that has been one of the most rewarding relationships of my life. The support of the staff at Shanti, their deep compassion about the plight of so many who need emotional and/or practical support in the city has been incredible, through the years. For 10 years of my time as a volunteer, I decided to facilitate a group of volunteers as well. Frequent staff drop-ins, facilitation training and hours collection help to keep these groups going. They are important to providing an environment where volunteers can share experiences and provide support to one another. Like virtually every charity, Shanti has had difficult times financially, causing some staff turn-over and sometimes some major changes organizationally to survive. But one thing that never changes with Shanti is their ability to adapt, but continue to provide amazing services, training and support of volunteers who are incredibly inspiring. In terms of working voluntarily for a charity that in turn reaps unexpected life rewards, Shanti is second to none.