Mazzoni Center Receives $1.5 Million in State Funding for New Building Through RACP Program
Mazzoni Center is pleased to announce it has received an award of $1.5 million through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). The funds are designated to support the purchase and renovation of a Center City building at Broad and Bainbridge Streets, where the agency will relocate and consolidate its core programs and services in summer 2017.
The RACP award represents the largest one-time gift in Mazzoni Center’s history, and the largest amount ever awarded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to an organization with an LGBTQ-focused mission. The grant demonstrates the growing commitment and collaboration between the State of Pennsylvania and the LGBTQ community.
“We are thankful to Governor Wolf for his support of this important project, and for understanding the impact it will have in addressing critical health disparities and establishing a first-class home for LGBTQ health and well-being in the heart of Philadelphia. We are deeply grateful and indebted to State Senator Larry Farnese for believing in this project and the work that we do, for championing the application in the PA Senate and for being our advocate with the Governor. Thanks also go to State Representative Brian Sims, for publicly supporting the grant request, and serving as our primary PA House liaison,” said Mazzoni CEO Nurit Shein.
“By expanding our physical capacity and reducing overhead costs,” Shein added, “the new building will enable us to provide essential, life-changing care and services to the individuals who need us most, to innovate and meet the increased demand for our various services, and to manage our internal growth in a sustainable way.”
“These funds are a much welcomed recognition and support as we embark on our major gifts campaign,” said Mark Blecher, MD, Chair of Mazzoni Center’s Building Committee. “With the RACP grant, we have secured over $3.8 million, and we are closing the gap to our goal of $6 million by 2022. I am confident that members of our community as well as allies will partner with us and offer their support for this exciting and transformational project.”
“I am proud to stand with Mazzoni Center and its staff in support of the programs and services they provide to Philadelphians from the LGBTQ community,” State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) said. “This grant, however, is about more than numbers and funding – this grant is about people. It’s about the future of our community and should serve as an example of the support we should be giving to ensure that each and every one of our friends and neighbors has the opportunity to live a healthy life, work hard and thrive in our great Commonwealth.”
Farnese added: “I wish Mazzoni Center much continued success in their work and pledge my support to continue working toward equal protections for everyone in the LGBTQ community.”
“I’m very pleased to see the Commonwealth extending support to this important project, which will have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of the many people Mazzoni Center serves, which includes some of the most vulnerable individuals in Philadelphia,” State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) said. “In addition to what it will do in terms of bricks and mortar and the provision of essential services, this award represents an important affirmation of the values of fairness and inclusion, and the idea that all Pennsylvanians deserve equal access to quality healthcare.”
History and growth of Mazzoni Center
Founded in 1979 as an all-volunteer clinic serving the city’s LGBT communities, Mazzoni Center now employs 136 people and offers more than 30 separate programs and services, including: primary medical care, trans specific health care, behavioral health counseling and support groups, case management, HIV prevention and education services, legal services, as well as a food bank and housing subsidy program for individuals living with HIV. A substantial percentage of Mazzoni Center clients and patients are low-income, and approximately 30% of our medical patients are uninsured. Many of the agency’s programs are offered at no cost, and others are available on a sliding scale basis.
Between 2012 and 2015 annual patient visits to Mazzoni Center Family & Community Medicine, the agency’s primary care facility at 809 Locust Street, increased by 77% from 12,565 to 22,244. Mazzoni currently has 9,369 active patients in its medical practice, and impacts more than 35,000 people in the region through its work.
Currently Mazzoni Center operates out of three Center City locations, with two of them – the medical practice at 809 Locust Street, and the main office at 21 S. 12th Street that houses the agency’s behavioral health, case management, food bank, education, housing program and legal services, along with administrative offices – severely crowded, and having no room to expand.
“The sharp increase in demand for our services, along with a shortage of available and affordable space in our current locations, has brought Mazzoni Center to a transformational moment in our history,” said Mazzoni Center Board President Jimmy Ruiz, MD. “Simply put – we need more space and we need to be under one roof. “
Our new location - The Broad and Bainbridge project - will double Mazzoni’s capacity for medical and mental health counseling visits, and provide enhanced coordination of care as well as greater convenience for its patients and clients.
The two-story building at Broad and Bainbridge – formerly a Department of Public Welfare office, and currently unoccupied—will be retrofitted and two stories will be added and configured to Mazzoni’s exact specifications and needs. With a total of 45,000 square feet of dynamic and flexible space which can be inexpensively adapted as needs change, the new building will increase Mazzoni’s overall program space by a much needed 14,000 square feet.
Among the innovations that Mazzoni Center plans for its new home at Broad and Bainbridge is the launch of the first Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for substance abuse in the region that is specifically dedicated to the LGBTQ community. The building will also include a spacious town hall/community room, and an onsite Walgreens pharmacy.
The RACP funding represents a significant step toward reaching our overall fundraising goal for the Broad and Bainbridge project, and certainly strengthens our case as we look to individual supporters to help us realize our vision of a truly comprehensive LGBTQ medical home.