Why We Exist: Bebashi – Transition to Hope was founded in 1985 as a full-service HIV/AIDS organization with special interest in serving low-income people of color with HIV disease. As the second-oldest AIDS service organization in the Philadelphia region, Bebashi – Transition to Hope was the first African-American organization in the United States to address the AIDS crisis. It remains one of Philadelphia's largest community-based minority providers of HIV/AIDS education and services for the urban community, and is a model for the provision of culturally specific education and services for other communities of color, serving more than 20,000 consumers annually.
Bebashi provides a continuum of care (free of charge) involving culturally sensitive and competent community education, HIV, STI, and pregnancy counseling and testing services, and medical case management (for HIV+ individuals). In recent years, Bebashi has begun to recognize the need for services to combat the health disparities that have plagued the underserved minority community of the Greater Philadelphia area (a five-county area), such as breast cancer awareness – linking the medically uninsured and underinsured to resources that provide free or low-cost screenings and diagnostic services. Additionally, to assist those living with HIV and their families to have the proper nutrition necessary to maintain their health, the hunger relief program was established to provide food supplies to these consumers and the general public living below the federal poverty guidelines.
Today, we are a multi-purpose health and social services agency with a special interest in serving people in Philadelphia. Our mission is "To provide culturally sensitive health related information, direct services, education, research, and technical assistance to reduce and eliminate HIV/AIDS and other health disparities within the urban community of Philadelphia and vicinity." We're also expanding to fight other challenges like hunger and breast cancer.
Bebashi has helped more than 600,000 people and their families. We serve the underserved, and give compassionate care to people who need it most.
Bebashi's purpose is to help those in need with testing and services for sexual and breast health, support groups, and food assistance. Here are just a few of the 600,000 people who have come through our doors since 1985.
I have the virus, but so what? I am in better shape than before. To others diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, I say forget about the past and live for the future. Slow down. Listen.
There are people that I still know who are scared to disclose their HIV status. I don't care. I will disclose it to the Pope. Guess what, I got it, but it ain't got me.
If you are willing to help yourself, the staff at BEBASHI are willing to help you. It's like if you are praying for a job, but you don't go look for it – you think that it will just fall out of the sky. The staff helps to ground you.
I couldn't do crack and my HIV meds. It had to be one or the other. I wanted to live, so I chose the meds.
Our Executive Director
Gary J. Bell, MSW, LCSW, BCD - Executive Director
Follow him on Twitter at @AIDSFIGHTER
Gary has tirelessly expanded, promoted, and nurtured Bebashi since he became Executive Director in 1996. He brought with him years of experience in serving Philadelphia's most underserved. In 16 years at Episcopal Community Services (ECS), he provided and supervised a range of services for older adults, the homeless, people living with HIV, and other communities. One of his greatest accomplishments at ECS was the Supportive Therapy for AIDS Affected Relatives (STARR) program. STARR was the only program in Philadelphia that provided individual and family counseling and support groups for children affected by HIV/AIDS. He was also integral to developing one of the largest HIV/AIDS programs in Pennsylvania.
At Bebashi, Gary has created several innovative programs, including a women's initiative, screening for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy counseling and testing, housing counseling, an emergency food cupboard, a variety of psychosocial support groups, and one of the country's first discharge planning programs for HIV+ ex-offenders. He is a highly sought-after speaker on sexual health issues. With many internet, broadcast, and print appearances, Gary has been featured in The Body, Essence Magazine, Radio Times, the Bev Smith Show, Visions, and Tony Brown's Journal.
- PFERIC'S Pioneer Award
- Man of the Year of the National Association of Business and Professional Women's Clubs-Philadelphia and Vicinity Branch
- The Philadelphia Tribune's Most Influential African Americans-Leaders Award (2007-2011)
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority's Black Rose Award
- National Organization and Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE) Community Service award
- The Extraordinary Citizen Award of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP
Gary is also an individual and family therapist, with a private practice in Plymouth Meeting. He has a B.S. in Psychology from Bucknell University and a MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Montgomery County with his wife and two children.
With varied backgrounds deeply rooted in community and care, Bebashi people are your people. From our core staff to community advocates, we are all Bebashi: A dedicated staff is here to bring health and social services to the people who need it most. We offer support and access to help, never judgment.
Bebashi would like to extend special thanks to the following foundations, businesses and organizations for their support and commitment to the success of our agency.
AFSCME District Council 47
BJ's Wholesale Club
Blue Star Pharmacy
Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS
Cars for Causes
Cedar Park Presbyterian Church, USA
Charles R. & Mary Lindback Foundation
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dolfinger McMahon Foundation
Dr. Maria B. Hancock
Family Planning Council
Faith & Love Center Church
Fraternal Order of Police
Genomic Health, Inc.
Girard Avenue Pharmacy
Green Tree Community Health Foundation
Independence Blue Cross
Jerry Murphy, MD
LDC Health & Safety Fund
Lomax Family Foundation
Losier Law Firm, LLC
MAC Global Foundation
Medical Staff Fund of St. Christopher's Hospital
Mel Heifetz Donor Advised Fund
Mt. Sinai Tabernacle Church
Network for Good
Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Pennsylvania Hospital 's Black History Committee
Philadelphia Department of Health
Reef Restaurant & Lounge
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The Fresh Grocer
The MAC Global Foundation
Union Benevolent Association
United Healthcare Services, Inc.
United Methodist Church
Wesley AME Zion Church
We Are Here To Help
If you have a a sexual health, breast cancer, or hunger related issue, Bebashi can help.
Our doors are always open – simply stop by our office or give us a call @ 215-769-3561.
If you have an immediate sexual health question or concern, use our anonymous texting service to get an answer within 24 hours.
For Your Community
Need Bebashi to sponsor or attend an event at your school, neighborhood, or church? Fill out our simple request form and we'll get back to you.