NPO Spotlight: Clinic By the Bay

5 mins read

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the work you do.

My name is Sarah Gordon, I am the Executive Director of Clinic by the Bay which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Our legal name is Volunteers in Medicine, San Francisco and  we do business as Clinic by the Bay, and we are a completely 100% Free Clinic that offers primary & specialty care services to low-income uninsured adults. 

We are privately funded by individual donors and foundation grants and most of our medical services are provided by volunteers. We are volunteer-powered and we  have a small paid staff of  seven individuals. We are a free primary care clinico we  provide the full spectrum of primary care services and then we link people to outside resources as needed. If they need extra specialty services like X-rays or outpatient surgery, things that we can’t do in the clinic, we utilize our nonprofit partners.

What current and future challenges does Clinic By The Bay face?

Funding is always a challenge for us because we are privately funded by individual donors and foundation grants. Particularly in these tough economic times, we’re relying on the generosity of individuals that aren’t making quite as much money, or their investments aren’t going quite as far as they usually do in the economic climate that we’re in. So people just have less money to give than they have in years past. So that’s definitely a challenge for us.

Another challenge is  that the number of individuals that are uninsured and in need of free medical services is increasing and we don’t have enough space to keep them. So, we are expanding  our organization and our services through our current capital campaign.

What are some foreseeable areas of growth for your organization?

We’re actually in the middle of a big capital campaign to expand our services and move our clinic just around the corner from our current location where we operate in a shared leased space.

We’re space-limited, so we’re only able to utilize the exam rooms clinical space in the building that we’re at two days a week. So the other three days a week are just our administrative days, but we’re not able to see patients on those days. Because of this we are in the middle of a $5 million capital campaign to move to a new location and expand our services. It’s a partnership with the city of San Francisco. The building is city-owned and we are fundraising to completely renovate the whole building and turn the whole space into our new clinic space. We’ll be able to see patients on more days of the week, expand our medical and mental health services, and add dental – which we know is a huge need for our community.

How can people get involved?

We are always looking for volunteers. Like I said, we are volunteer-powered, everything from the front desk, interpreters, scribes, and non-clinical volunteers, all the way up to clinical volunteers, nurses, and doctors, and we’re always looking for more volunteers. All of that information can be found on our website, And there’s also information there about donating. So if anybody is interested in helping to support our mission of caring for uninsured individuals in the Bay Area, you can find information about donating on our website as well.

I’m really excited to have this opportunity to spread the word about Clinic by the Bay. We’re really unique in what we do, and how we do it. We know that there’s still a really big gap in people’s access to health services and primary care services in the Bay Area, even for folks that have MediCal or other private insurance. So we really want to be here to help those people and fill that gap because healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Everyone deserves to have equal access to medical care, it’s really important. Thank you so much.