Philanthropy Friday: Bebashi

Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, Bebashi-Transition of Hope, an organization that works to provide healthcare information, direct services, education, research and technical assistance to reduce and eliminate HIV/AIDS and other health disparities within the urban community of Philadelphia and its vicinity.

Gary J. Bell, executive director of Bebashi-Transition of Hope.

Gary J. Bell, executive director of Bebashi-Transition of Hope.

Who are you? My name is Gary J. Bell and I am the executive director of Bebashi-Transition to Hope. Bebashi was the first African American based AIDS service organization in the United States and remains one of Philadelphia’s largest community-based minority providers of HIV/AIDS education and services, serving more than 20,000 clients annually.  We offer a comprehensive continuum of prevention and care, which includes HIV counseling and testing, integrated screening for STDs, Hepatitis C, and pregnancy; culturally sensitive and competent prevention education, medical case management, community-based education programs; outreach services; support groups; HIV discharge planning for recently released inmates; breast cancer awareness and screening for high-risk African American women; and a hunger relief program.

When was Bebashi founded? In 1985 by Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer and Wesley Anderson as BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues). The purpose was to address the impact of HIV/AIDS and other sexual health disparities in communities of color at a time when there was no other organization in the United States doing so.  Five years ago we changed our name to ensure that our openness and availability to all people was not misunderstood based on our acronym.

What’s Bebashi’s shining moment, to date? In 1998, Bebashi moved to its present facility, which provided more space and placed us in closer proximity to the individuals in lower income communities who are disproportionately being impacted by HIV/AIDS and other health disparities. A few years ago, Bebashi changed its mission statement to reflect its growing emphasis on other health disparities that impact low-income people. Consequently, we have launched several initiatives towards that end such as breast health awareness, Hepatitis C screening and food insecurity.


If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep … we would leverage the money to purchase our own building which would enable the agency to expand its services. We could add more classrooms,  a meeting space, a medical clinic, a clothing bank, a larger food cupboard with a full-service kitchen, and showers.

Special events coming up? A lot. Look out for Bebashi’s Holiday Harvest (Saturday, November 22nd), our Lifted! Voices of Compassion Gospel Concert (December 1st), which features performances by Joy Unlimited Mass Choir, Grammy-award winning pastor Marvin Sapp, among others. Tickets for that can be found here. We are also currently hosting our Annual Holiday Gift Drive and Client Holiday Party to benefit families affected by HIV. New, unwrapped toys and gifts can be dropped off at Bebashi (1217 Spring Garden Street) from now until December 14th. More information and drop-off hours can be found on our website.

Are there other ways I can contribute without giving money? We are always looking for volunteers, people who can help staff special events. You could also join our AIDS Walk team (#10) or create a sub team with your company; host a food drive or cell phone drive at your organization; become a Bosom Buddy for our Breast Cancer Awareness program. There are also opportunities to advocate. We’re looking for folks to perform community outreach to help promote our programs and services or upcoming events, and to represent Bebashi at speaking events.

We also accept all kinds of non-cash donations: Donate can goods to our food cupboard, a used, working cell phone, gently used household items for our sidewalk sales or even a car via the Cars 4 Causes link on our website. Find out all the other ways to donate here.

How can I donate money? On our website at, or send a check, money order, or drop off monetary donations to Bebashi at 1217 Spring Garden St., 1st Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19123.