News Briefs: Foreman to take the helm at SF AIDS legal nonprofit

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday September 27, 2023
Share this Post:
Matt Foreman has been named the new executive director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. Photo: Courtesy ALRP
Matt Foreman has been named the new executive director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. Photo: Courtesy ALRP

The nonprofit AIDS Legal Referral Panel board has named Matt Foreman, a nationally recognized LGBTQ leader, to be its next executive director. He will succeed Bill Hirsh, a gay man and attorney who has led the agency for the last 24 years.

Foreman, also a gay man, will be formally introduced at ALRP's 40th anniversary reception October 19, where Hirsh will be honored, a news release stated.

ALRP provides free and low-cost legal assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area. The agency has attorneys and other personnel on staff and also relies on a panel of outside lawyers who provide pro bono services to clients.

ALRP officials praised both Hirsh and Foreman.

"We are profoundly grateful for Bill's extraordinary leadership over the last quarter century and also excited to have Matt come on board to continue and build on ALRP's unique record of serving people living with HIV/AIDS over the last four decades," stated Jaclyn "Jackie" Gross and Scott Zimmerman, ALRP's board co-chairs.

Gross and Zimmerman pointed out that over Hirsh's tenure, the staff doubled, the budget increased five-fold — it is now $2.1 million, Hirsh said — and legal services were provided to 20,000 individuals.

"ALRP has been my life's passion and I will always be profoundly grateful to everyone who has given so much to enable ALRP to help those in need, including our board members, staff, and volunteers," Hirsh stated.

Hirsh has had a leadership role with the HIV/AIDS Provider Network, a group of San Francisco nonprofit advocates for city funding and other services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Foreman, an attorney who graduated from New York University School of Law, has held leadership positions in the LGBTQ community for more than 30 years, the release stated. He served as executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; Empire State Pride Agenda, New York state's LGBTQ political advocacy organization; and the National LGBTQ Task Force.

For the last 15 years, Foreman led the LGBT Equality Program at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, one of the largest philanthropic funders of LGBTQ civil rights across the nation. As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, last year the San Francisco-based Haas fund announced it was ending its 23-year program of grants to LGBTQ nonprofits in 2023.

"I am deeply honored to be joining ALRP's extraordinary team of staff, board, and volunteers, especially at this critical time when people living with HIV/AIDS are facing ever-greater challenges," Foreman stated. "ALRP is known nationwide for providing excellent, robust, and successful legal representation for people living with HIV/AIDS, 95% of whom have very limited income and face a wide variety of injustices as a result of broken and hostile systems. I'm looking forward to sustaining and building on this stellar record."

Foreman's salary will be $175,000, according to Hirsh. While at the Haas fund Foreman had total compensation of $327,208, according to the organization's IRS Form 990 for 2021.

Foreman is expected to begin at ALRP October 16. He and Hirsh will work together through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, the release stated.

Tom DeCaigny. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

Create CA's DeCaigny to join Hewlett Foundation
Tom DeCaigny, a gay man and executive director of Create CA, will depart the organization to become the next program officer in the performing arts program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Create CA is a Pasadena-based nonprofit that advocates for high quality arts education for all students by providing policy expertise and by mobilizing a statewide network of advocates and allied partners. It was created by a 2021 merger with the California Alliance for Arts Education, which DeCaigny led beginning in 2020.

Previously, DeCaigny led the San Francisco Arts Commission as the city's cultural affairs director.

According to a news release from Create CA, DeCaigny served the organization well.

"Tom has been an invaluable leader during his tenure at Create CA, demonstrating unwavering commitment to advancing arts education in California," the release stated. "His passion and vision have significantly contributed to the growth and success of our organization and the broader arts education community."

A news release from the Hewlett Foundation also praised DeCaigny, pointing to his tenure with the San Francisco Arts Commission.

"In that role, he directed citywide cultural policy, oversaw over $15 million in grantmaking, and championed efforts to advance arts and culture," the release stated. "He also served as executive director of longtime Hewlett Foundation grantee Performing Arts Workshop for more than a decade."

Emiko Ono, program director for the Hewlett Foundation, stated that DeCaigny knows much about arts funding in the state.

"The foundation is thrilled that Tom is bringing to the role strong relationships with practitioners, advocates, and policymakers across California, as well as an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by the historic passage of Proposition 28," Ono stated.

In addition to leading the program's efforts to ensure that California takes full advantage of Prop 28, which provides $1 billion annually for arts education instruction in schools, DeCaigny will manage a large and diverse portfolio of grantees working across the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, the Hewlett Foundation release stated.

Prop 28 was passed by state voters in November 2022.

Born and raised in Minnesota, DeCaigny holds a bachelor's degree in dramatic arts and directing from Macalester College, according to the Hewlett Foundation release. He currently serves on the board of the San Francisco Community Investment Fund and as an adviser to the World Cities Culture Forum. He is also a member of the Proposition 28 Implementation Advisory Council, which supports the rollout of The Arts and Music in Schools Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act. DeCaigny resides with his partner in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco.

DeCaigny will begin his new position at the Hewlett Foundation January 9. His last day with Create CA will be November 15, and the organization stated that it has begun the search process for a new executive director.

SF police oversight office to hold public forum
The San Francisco Department of Police Accountability will hold a public mediation forum Tuesday, October 3, from noon to 2 p.m. at 188 Embarcadero in San Francisco.

An announcement stated that at the forum, attendees will have an opportunity to hear from experienced mediators and investigators, ask questions, and gain insights into the inner workings of DPA.

DPA, which is led by Paul Henderson, a gay man, investigates complaints against San Francisco police officers, makes policy recommendations regarding police practices, and conducts periodic audits of the San Francisco Police Department. It is staffed by civilians who have never been police officers, according to its website.

The forum is free. To register, click here.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.