Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

HIV+ man leads
SF AIDS Foundation


Tim Jones. Photo: Courtesy SFAF
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For the first time in recent memory, a man who's living with HIV is leading the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, one of the largest AIDS-based nonprofits in the country.

Tim L. Jones, 50, who was named SFAF's interim CEO in December, said his HIV status is "significant in the sense that we're hoping to move into an era of supporting people living with HIV more so than what we are today."

As SFAF works to end HIV transmissions and establishes Strut, the gay and bi men's health center that's set to open January 4 at 470 Castro Street, there's been a shift in focus.

"We are looking to help people living with the disease, so that's me, and it really does hit home that I'm involved at this level of the organization," said Jones, who's gay and tested positive in 1991, about three years after he moved to the city. "I'm somebody who has benefited from the AIDS foundation. ... It's important for us to stay focused on helping those living with HIV going forward."

Jones is taking over from Neil Giuliano, who's led the organization for five years and announced in August that he was leaving to become CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership, a business organization focused on civic improvement initiatives. Giuliano's last day at SFAF is Thursday (December 31).

Since its founding in 1982, just as AIDS was beginning to decimate San Francisco's gay community, eight or so people have led the nonprofit, which now has a $32 million budget and offers free services including HIV testing, syringe access, and counseling.

It's not clear which of the former directors, if any, were HIV-positive at the time they led the organization. Giuliano is HIV-negative, as were his predecessors, Mark Cloutier and Pat Christen, along with the people who ran the agency in the interim between them. The Bay Area Reporter contacted several ex-directors via Facebook, but none of them responded.

SFAF spokesman Andrew Hattori noted in an email that SFAF co-founder Cleve Jones is HIV-positive. "Additionally," Hattori said, "we have a long history of HIV-positive members of our board of directors, including past board chairs."

Cleve Jones recently told the B.A.R. he couldn't recall any SFAF executive directors or CEOs being HIV-positive.

Tim Jones, who'd been a member of SFAF's board since 2011, is the former national director of operations for the consulting firm Deloitte. He started the interim job December 7.

He said that among his priorities in the post are ensuring that "we're focused on serving our clients to the best of our abilities," especially through Strut. The center's opening comes at "an unprecedented time for the foundation," he said.

Jones also wants to continue the momentum he said Giuliano started. One of the accomplishments Jones pointed to was the expansion of the board, which now has 20 members, according to SFAF's website.

"We have really developed a stronger commitment to the community by ensuring our board members are very engaged" with fundraising and other activities, Jones said.

Jones is interested in holding on to the CEO position.

"Stranger things have happened," he said. He hasn't "personally applied," but "I have given my information for the search committee, and we're taking it as we go."

He estimated the CEO search would take six months, including having "some overlap" between him and whoever next takes the job. He isn't aiming to make many changes at the nonprofit.

"As an interim, my goal is to really provide stability to the organization," Jones said.

In a farewell email Monday, Giuliano said, "Tim's dedication to our community is apparent in everything he does, and his professional experience is a great asset to the organization," Giuliano said.

Giuliano's total compensation for the fiscal year ending in June 2014 was $327,447, according to SFAF's most recently available tax filings.

Jones is in the interim position on a contract basis and currently has a 30-hour workweek making $150 an hour.

"It's not a specific monthly salary, as I might need to ramp up on some weeks and ramp down on other weeks," he said.


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