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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Shanti Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: AIDS, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Health, Health Care

Mission: Shanti is dedicated to closing the gap between people who receive comprehensive medical care and those who do not, and provides the information, skills and support clients need to make informed decisions about their treatment, improve their health and wellness, and enjoy good health outcomes and a high quality of life. Originally founded in 1974 to help people dying of cancer, Shanti was one of the first organizations to respond to San Francisco s AIDS crisis.  Today the organization provides a variety of emotional and practical support services that help people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other disabilities. Services include a drop-in center, peer and treatment advocacy, case management, health counseling, patient navigation, and activities. Shanti also shares its expertise in volunteer management and HIV/AIDS peer education with other local and national organizations interested in starting or improving their programs.

Target demographics: Our clients are all underserved individuals with life-threatening illnesses & often come from challenged, at-risk & underserved communities including women & those of trans experience, communities of color, seniors, the homeless and marginally housed & those with a dual or triple diagnosis with mental health &/or substance use issues in addition to their positive HIV or breast cancer diagnosis.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco

Programs: Shanti serves over 2,000 men and women every year through the following programs: The Women's Cancer Program reduces the obstacles faced by women with cancer by providing a continuum of tailored services that address their physical, emotional, psychosocial, educational and support needs. Clients are primarily low-income, uninsured and medically underserved San Franciscans, the majority of whom are women of color and who are living in poverty. HIV Services Program provides care navigation, peer advocacy, a drop-in center, activities and events, support groups, women's services and encourages a continuity of HIV treatment and care through the provision of culturally competent support to at-risk, underserved HIV positive communities. Volunteer Services Program trains volunteers to provide emotional support and practical assistance to individuals living with life-threatening illnesses, using the internationally recognized Shanti Model of Peer SupportTM. Volunteers serve clients through one-on-one client/volunteer matches, short-term or one-time only support, our drop-in center, our activities program and by offering workshops and classes. L.I.F.E. Program® is a health-enhancement program based on the latest medical research in mind-body medicine. “L.I.F.E.” stands for Learning Immune Function Enhancement. Evaluation research shows that L.I.F.E. reduces risk behavior, improves quality of life, increases medication adherence and reduces health problems. Our programs have the potential to increase the health of individuals with HIV, Hepatitis C, breast cancer and other immune related illnesses. Community Support Program provides management, administrative support and training to council members of the San Francisco EMA (Eligible Metropolitan Area) HIV Health Services Planning Council. This body is mandated by the U.S. Congress to determine the size and demographics of the population of individuals with HIV in the three county area and the needs of this population.

Community Stories

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Sarah342

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I moved from London to San Francisco in February this year I wanted to find a volunteering opportunity that would allow me to give back to the community in a truly meaningful way. I feel so fortunate that I discovered Shanti as they have allowed me to do this and then some!

Shanti has been such a massive part in shaping my love of San Francisco; the passionate and dedicated staff, the excellent volunteer training programme, the other awesome volunteers, my incredible client and being involved in fundraising events from auctioning lap dances to serving beers at leather festivals.

Everything about Shanti is so refreshingly genuine and the services they provide make such an important difference to some of San Francisco's most vulnerable.

Long may their work continue!

shirleeeeeey

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I waited 1-1/2 years to volunteer with the Shanti Project before my schedule finally allowed it, and it's been everything I was seeking!

I wanted to make a deep commitment to help someone else. The Shanti Project provided thorough training and then paired me with a long-term peer support client who is such a wonderful match for me.

I'm learning how to be open-hearted and fully present for my client... and it extends into every other aspect of my life. On top of getting to give back to the world around me, I'm having so much fun! Thank you, Shanti!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ShantiProject is an ever evolving nonprofit .it was founded in 1974 and through the darkest days of the AIDS plague of the 80's it was one of the go to organizations offering support and comfort. As our community and its needs have changed so has the Project.
They offer peer support to all that have life threatening illnesses.
Needs vary by individual. Every client is meticulously matched to their peer volunteer . And support is specific to clients needs and requests . I am proud to be a member of this selfless and compassionate organization .

1 Ryan77

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Shanti Project sets the example for a peer-support network beautifully integrated into the communities it serves. This nonprofit provides critical, often overlooked, services to those afflicted with life-threatening illnesses and others in need, such as emotional & practical support, empathy, and general companionship. I've volunteered with Shanti for almost three years, and can say with confidence that this organization is a vibrant, necessary, and constructive force for many communities in San Francisco. If only there were sister nonprofits spread throughout the country ... the world would be a better place.

1 Chellee P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've known about Shanti for a while, and have wanted to be apart of the organization for some years now. I was lucky enough to get an internship as an Event Coordinator, and was later on hired full-time. I am reminded everyday how beautiful and welcoming this community is. From the amazing and caring staff, to the exceptional volunteers, Shanti really makes a difference in the lives of our clients, and has for a fact made a huge impact on mine. I look forward to coming to work everyday, to serve the community of San Francisco, and work with people who truly care and want to make a difference.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so happy to be a Shanti volunteer. It has always been one of my goals to work with this wonderful organization . The orientation is 24 hours which seems daunting but time well spent. During the weekend, I looked forward to seeing the other volunteers as we learned skills to best interact with our future clients. Working with my client has opened up a whole new world . He finds free things to do in San Francisco every week and we have great talks.
Once a month I attend a support group to share our experiences and our ups and downs with clients. It is a great volunteer experience.
I also work with PAWS . Once or twice a month on Saturday, I help deliver pet food to needy clients. Paws also helps clients walk and bath their dogs .

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I think of Shanti, the phrase that immediately comes to mind is, "from the heart." All of it. As great the word of mouth has been and as much good as I've heard about them, my experience volunteering with Shanti has still exceeded my rather high expectations.

Everything that Shanti offers and provides for its clients, and the in-depth training it provides for its volunteers, is completely and authentically from a place of caring and love in ways I find difficult to completely articulate in words--and in a way, Shanti's active listening model in being present and there our clients makes this feel a bit appropriate!

Shanti shares its mission of compassionate care and supporting many of San Francisco's most vulnerable folks with an assortment of services, including my own role as a peer support volunteer. The training I received was truly a bonding experience with other volunteers--I haven't felt that close with and supported by a group of strangers-turned-Shanti family for some time. Moreover, the training I received includes interpersonal skills that have only enhanced my interactions with housemates, co-workers, and my partner.

I have greatly enjoyed spending time with my client in a variety of support roles: in my case, simply being there in an emotionally supportive and totally present manner with some practical assistance here and there. My client and I have grown close in a short amount of time, and I look forward to our weekly meet-ups and finding out what's new with him.

I cannot recommend Shanti enough to anyone who has a desire to make a positive contribution to our community and help those in need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Shanti Project is beautiful-from it's clients and volunteers to it's mission statement. As a volunteer, I really appreciate being able to work one on one with a client that I was perfectly matched with. It feels more like hanging out with a friend than doing volunteer work.

I loved the training as well. I have not felt that inspired about the kind of work I want to do and the type of person I want to become since college!

I love volunteering for Shanti and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to get involved in public service and mental and physical health problems.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've started volunteering with Shanti only recently but already can see that this is a unique organization. The support and guidance they offer their volunteers is remarkable. Also, I've noticed that many of the employees and volunteers used to be patients, I do believe it says a lot about a place. I honestly can't emphasize enough how grateful I am to take part of such an amazing organization!

2 Taylor28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is the best nonprofit I have ever been involved with! I am currently a peer support volunteer. The training process for becoming a peer support volunteer was very organized and well thought out. I have been impressed with the kindness and professionalism of all the Shanti staff and would recommend them to anyone looking to get involved with a great cause! I love them!

1 Josh37

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering as a peer support volunteer for the last 6 months, and have been supporting Shanti for about two years. This is a phenomenal organization that spreads kindness throughout the San Francisco community and makes the lives of its most vulnerable members better through support and care navigation. It has been a truly rewarding experience to give back to the community through Shanti, and I admire all of the people who work there and are driven to spread its mission.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What lies at the core of the Shanti model is the epitome of humanitarianism to me - kind, caring, nonjudgmental support of peers in their time of greatest need. I feel privileged and grateful to have been a part of this community as a volunteer for eight years and counting. I get to help others the way I've been helped in my life. And I get to see so many wonderful staff members and volunteers make a positive difference in so many lives. This is all possible because of the focused and efficient way Shanti functions as an organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for Shanti Project in numerous capacities over the last year and a half. They genuinely care about their volunteers and follow up and offer more opportunities for folks to expand their services. I have gained positive personal growth and am certain my matched client benefits greatly from both the services I and Shanti provide. I am so thankful this organization is available in our community.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the Shanti community in May 2013 and have been warmly welcomed by the staff, and members of the community within this great non-profit. I not only have been blessed with peer-support opportunities, but have been assisting within other departments such as Research and Fundraising. Not only are the staff and volunteers friendly and helpful, but the organization provides support for their volunteers as well. I believe this is key to the long-running strength of Shanti as a key player in the non-profit sector and LGBT community within San Francisco and abroad. The Shanti Model is one other non-profits, HIV/AIDS and Breast cancer organizations strive to mirror.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Shanti in various capacities for nearly two years. I have found this organization to have a high performing staff, who are always engaged and eager to work with you. Shanti's unique mission has a tremendous impact for both their community and their clients, and I have been proud to be a part of this special group through volunteering both my time and money.

Some highlights of this organization and my experience are as follows:

-experiencing the unique volunteer training course, which ensures that each volunteer understands and espouses the Shanti mission
-building a relationship with my Shanti client
-helping plan the annual Breast Cancer Program event

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is an amazing organization both for its volunteers and for the breast cancer and HIV communities it supports. I joined Shanti 3 years ago as a volunteer in the HIV peer support program and am impressed regularly with Shanti's commitment, professionalism, and caring/knowledgable staff.

The first thing they do for new volunteers is to put them through an intensive weekend training program, which was an absolutely amazing experience. I was worried it would be poorly organized and kind of a waste of a precious weekend, but I could not have been more wrong. The training was well thought out and contained many safe and supported opportunities to practice the skills I would need as a peer support volunteer. The presenters were prepared and knowledgable, and the material was based on many combined years of Shanti experiences and best practices. I left the training with new friends and new skills in both personal life and peer support.

Following this I was matched with my very amazing and wonderful client, Josh, who is a blessing in my life. I am able to be a friend and support to him, listen to him, help him get to appointments, and share in his joys and his challenges. Our relationship is incredibly special to me, and I look forward to our time together very much. I feel grateful that we can share each other's lives through the Shanti model. I am also constantly supported by Shanti's amazing staff. As a volunteer I am part of a small support group that meets monthly, allowing us to work through issues that are hard for us with our client, share the joys and challenges and refresh ourselves by supporting one another. At the same time if I have anything come up with Josh that I'm not sure how to handle I can call or email my Shanti contact, who knows Josh personally and also stays connected to him. This means that Josh and I always have experts to go to for the challenges we are not sure how to handle on our own. I am so grateful to this amazing organization and love to be a part of it!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of Shanti for over 5 years and each year gets better and better. I was honored to serve as a Board of Directors member and when I needed to step down; I was thankful to be able to continue to be a part of the the planning committee for Shanti's Swim-for-LIFE event.

Shanti contineus at 40 years strong - serving the Breast Cancer and HIV Communities of the SF Bay area and I am proud to be a part of this strong history.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Shanti has been a place to where I am routinly in awe...from the staff, volunteers and clients. As a BOD member, I hear often how Shanti has had a positive impact on the lives of those we provide services to but also for the larger SF community. It has been an honor to be a part of Shanti and glad I can make a contribution to the work we all do together.

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1 Brad D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to SF a few years back and sought out great non-profits that I could volunteer at, primarily to give back, and to meet new people. After having done research, I landed on Shanti--they had some wonderful reviews out there. I went through the volunteering orientation sessions and was *thrilled* to see that such care went into their programs. It truly is staffed by people that genuinely care about the causes. This was refreshing! Ultimately, I was unable to make a long-term commitment to their caregiving volunteer program; however, I volunteer each year for their Swim-for-Life program--it's my small way of still being connected to a fantastic organization and a fantastic cause.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Shanti and aware of their impact for about ten years now. It is truly inspiring how many ways they change lives for the better. The breadth of their activities and their determination and perseverance is breathtaking. To not only survive, but thrive as a non-profit for over thirty years is an amazing feat.

I've seen first-hand the effects Shanti has not only on their clients, but on their community as a whole and I am honored to know many staff and volunteers there and to be a part of it myself.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is truly an exceptional and life-changing nonprofit. I have been volunteering with Shanti for almost 10 years. There are few nonprofits in which I have witnessed such compassion, heart, and support from everyone involved - the staff, the volunteers, the Board of Directors, and the clients. I have volunteered and worked at numerous nonprofits, and I can truly say that it is rare to find 1) the incredible level of support that the Shanti staff provide for the volunteers and the clients, and 2) the deep level of compassion and dedication that the volunteers embody.
The staff and volunteers who provide Shanti's vital services and support to the HIV/AIDS and breast cancer communities are passionate about helping people with these life-threatening illnesses. There is a good reason why so many volunteers give hours of their time each week to serve Shanti's clients, and often volunteer with Shanti for many, many years!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Shanti is able to provide comprehensive support to almost 2,000 clients each year because staff put all of their heart into serving clients, and because the organization as a whole makes every effort to run on a lean, effective budget. Shanti has a model that has worked for over thirty years to improve quality of life for its clients, but their is still a strive to innovate and grow. Shanti works to expand and enhance its services, and build partnerships with organizations in the city that have complimentary models and resources.

Shanti stands out as the best volunteer organization I've ever worked with. First, the experience Shanti facilitates - providing compassionate support to their clients living with chronic illnesses - is an honor and a gift. Second, Shanti values volunteers as an integral part of the Shanti model, so Shanti staff treat volunteers as equitable partners in supporting clients. Finally, being a volunteer at Shanti for 5 years has been an opportunity to join a long-standing and important community in San Francisco. It is an inclusive community that is not based on similar backgrounds or lifestyles, just shared values - most importantly compassion!