Welcome to the website of the AIDS Service Center NYC (ASCNYC). As ASCNYC’s Executive Director, it’s always a remarkable experience to reflect on this agency’s humble origins and extraordinary achievements over a decade of service to New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
ASCNYC began in 1990 in a small office space donated by the Design Industry’s Foundation for AIDS (DIFFA). On my very first day of work, I had a box of files and a copy of ASCNYC’s grant from the AIDS Institute – nothing else. DIFFA lent me a desk and chair and I began setting up. We started out with three staff in that small office and a budget of $170,000. Within a year we had doubled ASCNYC’s budget and the staff had more than doubled – seven of us crammed into a tiny space, sitting in a circle next to each other with three phones. Whenever I had to do staff supervision in those days, I’d say, “step into my office” and we’d go into the stairwell because that was the only quiet, private place I could find.
Today, ASCNYC has more than 90 staff, 85 peer interns, and a budget of nearly $8 million. More than 1,800 clients come to ASCNYC for services each year; another 18,000 people are reached through our peer education and community outreach initiatives.
It has been an honor to be a part of ASCNYC’s growth and change. ASCNYC started as a multi-service AIDS organization for people with the virus and has evolved into a health promotion and disease prevention agency that helps people at risk for HIV to stay healthy and stay connected to services and care.
In many ways, ASCNYC has become a social change agency. We have many people here who first encountered ASCNYC as clients, then became part of our Peer Education Program. They’ve left welfare and rejoined the work force – many now work for ASCNYC at various staffing levels. These men and women have courageously turned their lives around, and it’s a joy to know that ASCNYC has been a small part of that process.
It’s amazing to look around at this agency and see so many people doing such wonderful things with their lives, and giving so much back to the community. They are my heroes, and my inspiration for doing this work. I hope, as you explore ASCNYC’s website, they’ll become your heroes, and your inspiration, too.