Philanthropy Friday: Nurit Shein On the Mazzoni Center

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.”

Nurit Shein, CEO of Mazzoni Center.

Nurit Shein, CEO of Mazzoni Center.

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.

If a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep … I would dedicate the funds to building a robust LGBT medical and mental health research capacity. Very little research has been done about our communities—the disparities, the specific medical issues, and the impact of stigma and social isolation. We have so much rich data which, if analyzed, could be put to excellent use to support everyone in the community.

Special events coming up? Right now you can support our Emergency Fund and Holiday Drive, which supports individuals and families who are living with HIV, as well as vulnerable youth who attend our weekly drop-in health clinic. This fund helps our Care Services team provide these clients with clothing, shoes, personal hygiene products, and medical supplies not covered by insurance. You can contribute any amount in just a few clicks here.

Are there other ways I can contribute without giving money? You can refer a friend, and let people know about Mazzoni and the services we provide (following us on social media is a great start!) You can also learn about current volunteer opportunities via our website:

How can I donate money? The easiest way to give is through our website. If you prefer to write a check, we’re happy to receive those as well. Instructions and our mailing address are listed on the same page.