Historically, nonprofit organizations providing local social services were fragmented. Neighborhood, ethnic and service distinctions kept nonprofit providers from exercising a civic voice commensurate with their contribution to the City. Major policy decisions involving the future of San Francisco and its human services system were made without significant input from organizations providing services to our most vulnerable residents.
In December 1997, a group of nonprofit executive directors met to discuss a coordinated human service response to several proposed legislative initiatives affecting the nonprofit community. They recognized that no forum existed to direct an organized nonprofit response to pressing public policy issues, nor to brief elected officials on policy ramifications in the health and human services community. This meeting marked the genesis of the San Francisco Human Services Network, founded by Bruce Fisher, Executive Director of Huckleberry Youth Programs, and Ann Lazarus, (now former) CEO of Mount Zion Health Fund.
Since 1998, HSN has coalesced into the only major public policy forum for health and human service providers in San Francisco. HSN and its active member agencies have successfully brought an invaluable nonprofit perspective to the development of major policy initiatives. Through education, policy analysis and advocacy, HSN has made significant progress in creating a more supportive climate for nonprofit service providers and addressing many of the difficult challenges that nonprofit organizations face.