Dana Van Gorder joined the agency as its Interim Executive Director in February of 2019. In June of the same year, the Board of Directors appointed him our permanent Executive Director. On December 31 of 2021, after 2 years and 10 months of strong stewardship of the agency, Dana will retire at 65 years of age. Under Dana’s leadership, The Spahr Center has grown its HIV, LGBTQ+ youth and senior and advocacy programs; doubled its annual budget; increased its visibility and community support; strengthened its relationship with public policy makers; and created a visionary Strategic Plan to guide its work for the next five years. We are grateful for the knowledge, skill, dedication and spirit he has brought to this work. Dana deserves his retirement after a career of effective service to the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities beginning in 1981.
He has been a Legislative Aide to two openly gay and lesbian elected officials, helped guide campaigns to defeat three ballot measures seeking to quarantine people with HIV, staffed two International Conferences on AIDS, guided LGBTQ+ services for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, lobbied in Sacramento to ensure a strong state response to HIV, served as the Executive Director of a leading national HIV patient advocacy group, and is the founder of the San Francisco LGBTQ+ Community Center. He has accomplished much for both communities to which he proudly belongs. I asked Dana to comment for this letter about his thoughts on leaving the agency. This is what he had to say:
“What a complete honor and joy it has been to become friends with wonderful clients and community members, serve a strong Board, support a highly capable staff, nurture generous donors, and partner closely with supportive County officials. Together, we have ensured that the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities of Marin enjoy greater health and well-being, a stronger sense of community with one another, more visible public support, and increased empowerment. In December, I will leave my position proud of what we have built, happy to have come anywhere close to sustaining the legacy of the great Jane Spahr, and thrilled that The Spahr Center is positioned for even stronger stewardship.”
The Board and I will communicate regularly to you about the results of our search for a powerful and effective new Executive Director. In the meantime, we welcome your questions and comments, and your continued support of our lifesaving and life-affirming work.