2013 Recipient - San Francisco Free Clinic

The San Francisco Free Clinic has been caring for the community for 20 years. By offering no cost, high quality health care to people without medical insurance,  the clinic and its staff are models of community service in pursuit of the common good.

Since its Valentine's Day opening in 1994, the clinic has provided more than 70,000 patient visits, millions of dollars worth of needed medication, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of free specialty care. But the clinic and its founders have gone further: They have inspired hundreds of doctors and medical students to engage in similar work, creating a circle of providers, suppliers and institutions committed to community service.  

The clinic was founded by Drs. Richard and Tricia Gibbs, graduates of Yale Medical School who established a successful family practice soon after completing their residencies. But the two young doctors quickly realized that despite San Francisco's wealth of medical resources, there were still many in the city who went without care because they had no insurance.  

They decided to practice in the population that needed them most. In 1993, the Gibbs' closed their private practice and founded the San Francisco Free Clinic. Five years later, they were named Family Physicians of the Year by the California Academy of Family Physicians.

Today, the clinic relies on financial donations from individuals, foundations and businesses.  It receives no government funding. Its mission is two-fold: to provide free, accessible treatment to those without health insurance and to advance the field of primary care by providing educational opportunities for future medical practitioners.

From its beginnings in a modest townhouse in the Richmond District, the clinic has grown into a San Francisco institution, providing patients with a range of services, from cancer and heart disease screening to vaccinations and primary health care. If someone needs specialty care, the clinic's network includes more than 100 specialists who donate one or two consults every month. In addition, hospitals and imaging centers donate a small number of x-rays, MRIs and other services.

Who are the clinic's patients? The Doctors Gibbs put it best in an article published several years ago about their personal journey:  "They are neighbors, families, students, the self-employed, small business folk, or people who recently lost their jobs. They are people we know and see every day."

Join us in honoring The San Francisco Free Clinic for its inspiring vision, its lasting impact on San Francisco and its extraordinary commitment to service and the common good.