After years of looking for a place where they could consolidate two of their Center City offices, the Mazzoni Center has signed a lease to move their medical, mental health, legal and social service operations to a larger space at 1328-1338 Bainbridge Street.
Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Nurit Shein on the Mazzoni Center, the hard-working local organization that aims to “provide quality comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment.”
Who are you? I’m Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein, and I’ve been with the organization since 1995. We are Philadelphia’s home for LGBT health, legal, and wellness services. After nearly 20 years I am still excited to get up and go to work every day, because there’s always something new and interesting to dive into. I’m proud of my dynamic and talented staff, who provide caring, quality services and programs to our clients and patients, and have an impact on 35,000 people each year.
When was Mazzoni founded? 1979
What’s Mazzoni’s shining moment, to date? There are so many individual moments that stand out over my tenure here, many of them simple but powerful interactions between staff and clients. But in terms of major milestones, something I am especially proud of was the opportunity we had in February 2012 to partner with The White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in presenting the first White House LGBT Conference on Health. The daylong symposium featured remarks by Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management John Berry, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, among others. It was the inaugural event in a series of conferences around the country specifically focused on LGBT Americans. It was truly a watershed moment, in terms of recognizing the importance of LGBT health. More than 300 health care professionals, community organizers, medical students, and community members from at least 22 states traveled to Philadelphia to attend the conference.
On Saturday, members and supporters of the Mazzoni Center took over the Wells Fargo Bank and Museum for its fourth-annual Elixir Gala. The sold-out party, with the theme “Out Is the New In,” included a well-stocked open bar, delicious food, and a silent auction with prizes ranging from laser hair removal to GayBINGO tickets to a seven-night luxury trip to the Caribbean. When the mingling portion of the evening subsided, Master of Ceremonies Jim Donovan took the stage to announce this year’s 2014 Elixir Honorees. (But first a few photos from the evening, from Freedom G Photography’s Tara Lessard.)
The Mazzoni Center received an unexpected gift recently when it was notified that it would receive $100,000 from the estate of a Conshohocken native who later moved to San Francisco.
Thomas M. Dross passed away in San Francisco on January 7, 2012. He was born and raised in Conshohocken, educated at Widener in Chester, Pa., and later moved to San Francisco where he worked in marketing and advertising, and founded a popular restaurant, Upstairs, Downstairs. Upon his death he requested that his $2.1 million estate go to support HIV/AIDS charities, so when passed his co-executors set out to choose the organizations that would receive gifts. Most of the beneficiaries are located on the West Coast, but knowing Dross wanted to make a difference in his hometown, the co-executors decided to send money to Philly’s own Mazzoni Center. The donation marks one of the largest single contribution in the organization’s history.