Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Maitri executive director announces retirement

Maitri Compassionate Care, which operates a hospice in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, is searching for a new executive director after Michael Smithwick announced his retirement Friday.

(Maitri Executive Director Michael Smithwick. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

(Maitri Executive Director Michael Smithwick. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

According to an August 5 news release from the Milo Group, which represents Maitri, Smithwick, 60, informed the board of his decision to step down more than a year ago.

Maitri’s board will form an executive director transition team to start a search for Smithwick’s replacement, the release stated. Smithwick will stay on to work with whoever the agency hires to ensure a smooth transition.

The news release said that Smithwick, who has “been HIV-positive for most of his life, is looking forward to spending more time with his partner of 23 years and his aging parents.”

Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener praised Smithwick’s leadership.

“Michael did a phenomenal job keeping Maitri strong and helping it adjust to a changing epidemic,” Wiener said in a text message. “He will be missed.”

Smithwick, who was hired in 2010, is credited with steadying the nonprofit in the aftermath of the Great Recession and “other structural issues,” board President Michael Niemeyer said in the release, adding that Smithwick “led a transformation of Maitri’s operations that created its current period of stability.”

That stability, however, has been tested in recent years after the AIDS Healthcare Foundation moved its thrift store out of the ground floor of the hospice amidst a legal battle over unpaid rent.

Maitri then endured harsh criticism earlier this year when it announced plans to lease the space to a sex offender rehab company, without giving nearby residents a heads up. That deal fell apart after a neighborhood uproar, and the space has remained vacant for over a year.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in next week’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, August 5, 2016 @ 9:38 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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