St. Vincent de Paul of San Francisco

SVDP-SF Elects New Board President

St. Vincent de Paul Society embarks on new leadership chapter

SAN FRANCISCO – March 26, 2021 – Martha Arbouex has stepped down from her long and successful tenure as the hands-on Board President and District Council President for our San Francisco St. Vincent de Paul Society. Executive Director Shari P. Wooldridge states, “With Martha’s guidance we were able to respond to the escalating demands of Covid-19. This work is not easy. Martha exemplifies the spirit of service before self. We wish her well as she pursues her chosen next chapter in charitable works, a role model not easily replaced nor forgotten.” Under Martha’s leadership, SVDP-SF is in its own building and has grown into a strong $17 million operation serving the most vulnerable in San Francisco, many who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing domestic violence, in alliance with our local City and County governmental agencies. Martha reflects, “I’ve really appreciated and enjoyed working with all the staff and clients. Giving someone a pair of shoes or a meal they desperately needed did my heart well.”

The Society has elected Joseph (Joe) Stark to replace Martha Arbouex as the new President of the Board and District Council of Conferences for The St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco (SVDP-SF). A proud native San Franciscan, Joe attended local St. Ignatius College Preparatory and San Francisco State University for his undergraduate and MBA degrees. He is in the sunset of his career in Microscopy and Electronics Technology where he has worked with universities and hospitals in the biological field and with many Silicon Valley companies in advanced measurement systems and industrial manufacturing applications.

Joe is no stranger to the work of SVDP-SF, as he has been involved for several years with his local Sunset Parish St. Gabriel’s and our City’s Laguna Honda Hospital Residence Conferences. He hopes to bring his approach with a spirit of humility, collaboration and understanding about the difficulty of solving complex problems like homelessness. “Everyone wants to solve problems quickly and have the solution right now,” said Joe. “But that’s not the way our real world works, especially when our work with individuals needs to promote trust, dignity, healing and assistance.”

Executive Director Shari P. Wooldridge looks forward to working with Joe on The Society’s next chapter. “We’re grateful Joe is willing to continue this challenge,” said Shari. “We’re deeply thankful Joe is willing to receive the torch and continue to shine the light for San Francisco’s most vulnerable, in crisis and in need of help.”

Joe hopes to promote this aura of camaraderie with the dedicated and hard-working staff to integrate clients’ needs and support their visions, because this job cannot be done alone. It requires the unified work of hundreds of hands, eyes, ears and most importantly, hearts.

About the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco

The organization’s mission is to offer hope and service on a direct person-to-person basis, working to break the cycles of homelessness and domestic violence. SVDP-SF provides safety-net services to individuals and families who struggle to meet their basic needs. One hundred percent of clients are without shelter and rely on our programs to regain stability and self-sufficiency.