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Besties: Community: Historical society is favorite nonprofit

by compiled by Seth Hemmelgarn

Some of the Bay Area Reporter's Bestie winners<br>crowded around an exhibit at the GLBT History Museum, which won best LGBT<br>nonprofit. In front, from left, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's (best HIV/AIDS nonprofit) LifeCycle riders (best LGBT fundraiser)<br>Parker Trewin and Art Desuyo. Behind them are best drag king Alex U. Inn; best<br>DJ Michael Chu/MC2; best choral group winner San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus members Gary Mendelson, Peter Zimmerman, Frank Marx and Ryan<br>Nunez (who died during a performance March 31, see related story); and in<br>between (in glasses), best male cabaret singer Jason Brock. Photo: Gooch
Some of the Bay Area Reporter's Bestie winners
crowded around an exhibit at the GLBT History Museum, which won best LGBT
nonprofit. In front, from left, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's (best HIV/AIDS nonprofit) LifeCycle riders (best LGBT fundraiser)
Parker Trewin and Art Desuyo. Behind them are best drag king Alex U. Inn; best
DJ Michael Chu/MC2; best choral group winner San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus members Gary Mendelson, Peter Zimmerman, Frank Marx and Ryan
Nunez (who died during a performance March 31, see related story); and in
between (in glasses), best male cabaret singer Jason Brock. Photo: Gooch  

San Francisco's GLBT Historical Society was founded in 1985 and is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of LGBT public history. The historical society's extensive archives are housed at its offices on Market Street, while the newer GLBT History Museum in the Castro draws visitors from around the world.

The historical society celebrated its 32nd anniversary last month, which also marked the museum's sixth year in operation.

This year the historical society is a new winner in the best nonprofit category in the Bay Area Reporter's annual readers' poll, the Besties: The LGBTQ Best of the Bay.

Executive Director Terry Beswick said it's an "amazing honor."

"People also seem to be inspired by our vision for a new, much larger museum for LGBTQ history and culture in San Francisco, and I think this vote is a reflection of that enthusiasm," Beswick said, adding that the award "validates that our commitment to preserving and sharing our diverse stories matters."

The historical society is expected to launch a capital campaign for the larger museum, although it is not known when that will commence.

In the meantime, the historical society is in the midst a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 for a makeover of the current museum space; the lease expires in about three and a half years.

The historical society features numerous public programs, lectures, and other events throughout the year. Admission to the museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month, thanks to a grant from the Bob Ross Foundation. Last year the foundation also provided a $50,000 donation for the society to create an online, text-based, searchable archive of the B.A.R.'s first 34 years, before it launched its website. Beswick said recently that the equipment has been purchased and a part-time archivist has been hired "who is busy at work on the project."

GLBT History Museum: 4127 18th Street, San Francisco, (415) 621-1107. GLBT Historical Society archives and research center, 989 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 777-5455. http://www.glbthistory.org.

Runner-up

Castro Country Club

Executive Director Brenda Storey

Best Health-Related Nonprofit

Mission Neighborhood Health Center

Mission Neighborhood Health Center was selected as best health-related nonprofit.

Executive Director Brenda Storey said MNHC, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year, is "very happy and honored" to hear the news.

"Our focus has been on serving those who may not have other health insurance options, and we will continue that mission," said Storey, who is a lesbian.

MNHC has long provided HIV prevention services, and it's also started a PrEP clinic. Storey said the nonprofit's multidisciplinary services for HIV care are recognized nationally for their effectiveness in viral suppression.

Mission Neighborhood Health Service, 240 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, (415) 552-1013, http://www.mnhc.org.

Runner-up

Positive Resource Center

Best LGBT Fundraiser

AIDS/LifeCycle

AIDS/LifeCycle, the annual 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. LGBT Center, has been chosen as best LGBT fundraiser.

"We're so thankful and excited," Melissa Lewis, the ride's northern California director.

Participants have raised more than $220 million since 1993, Lewis said.

"Last year alone, we raised $16.1 million to support" the nonprofits, "enabling them to provide crucial HIV/AIDS services to thousands of clients," she said.

Lewis added, "I am constantly blown away by the passion, dedication, and altruism exhibited by the cyclists, roadies and volunteers. Without their support, we would not be able to care for those living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS."

This year's ride is June 4-10.

AIDS/LifeCycle, (415) 581-7077. http://www.aidslifecycle.org.

Runner-up

AIDS Walk SF

Victor Ruiz-Cornejo, left, from state Senator Scott Wiener's (D-San Francisco) office presented a proclamation to SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner at Strut's first anniversary party in March. Photo: Liz Highleyman

Best HIV/AIDS Nonprofit

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Readers voted the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which provides HIV testing and counseling, syringe access, and numerous other services to thousands of people every year, as best HIV/AIDS nonprofit.

CEO Joe Hollendoner said the organization is "incredibly honored" to receive the recognition.

"Looking back at the last year, I'm proud that we have been able to expand our services with the opening of Strut in the Castro and our 6th Street Harm Reduction Center in the SOMA/Tenderloin neighborhoods," Hollendoner said. "... We look forward to the future as we work toward our goal of getting to zero new HIV infections, zero HIV stigma, and zero AIDS-related deaths."

The AIDS foundation is part of the city's Getting to Zero coalition.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation, 1035 Market Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, (415) 487-3000. http://www.sfaf.org, http://strutsf.org/.

Runner-up

Shanti

Matching flaggers joined the parade at last year style's San Francisco Pride. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Best LGBT Event

San Francisco Pride

The mammoth San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration and parade was again selected as the best LGBT event. This year's festivities, themed "A Celebration of Diversity," are set for June 24-25.

George Ridgely, executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, which oversees the activities, didn't respond to requests for comment. This year, given the political climate and the Trump administration's anti-LGBT actions in several policy areas, including rescinding guidance for trans public school students, some activists are talking with SF Pride officials about making the event more of a protest than a party. Stay tuned.

http://www.sfpride.org .

Runner-up

Folsom Street Fair

In 2012 members of the San Francisco Gay Softball League played their 40th anniversary game against the SFPD. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Best LGBT Sports League

San Francisco Gay Softball League

This is a repeat winner, as the San Francisco Gay Softball League, which welcomes LGBT players, continues to be popular with readers.

"It shows that we are doing our part by making sure that we set up an environment where everyone feels welcome and is able to be themselves," sand league Commissioner Vincent Fuqua. "... If you are someone who never played softball join our league, if you are someone of any level of experience join our league, if you are someone with advance skills set join our league. We are set up so that everyone can play softball no matter what their skill level is."

The league offers play at all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Registration for spring 2017 is still open for new players, according to the league's website.

San Francisco Gay Softball League, http://www.sfgsl.org.

Runner-up

San Francisco Fog Rugby Club

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