Doug Gary


What made you want to start/create DISH?

Lauren approached me about the opportunity that would later turn into DISH and I was thrilled about the chance to work with her, to be part of solving a serious problem in SF, and be part of a wild new adventure!

What was your experience with supportive housing before DISH?

I’d worked at the Corporation for Supportive Housing in Oakland for about seven years. They’re a national nonprofit that helps communities all over create and expand supportive housing. I met Lauren and a bunch of other amazing people there. So I knew a lot about some aspects of supportive housing, but I’d never been part of an organization that actually does the work every day. And I’d never run an organization. And so it began!

How would you describe your team of DISHers to someone you just met?

That’s a tough one. Does it have to be brief? I’d say I got to work with the most amazing, committed people. To me, DISH is about creating lasting change in the world one person at a time, one interaction at a time. And the DISH team does that better than anyone else. I feel so fortunate to have worked with the 70+ incredible human beings who make DISH rock every day. The tenants we serve are doing well because of this team.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

This was the best job I’ve ever had. I love that every day came with new challenges and opportunities – and yes, sometimes unwelcome surprises. The most gratifying part of my job at DISH was the chance to help make a real difference. Whether that’s pushing successfully for increased pay equity or coming up with ways to help solve a really challenging tenant situation or supporting a long-time DISHer in their growth, I got to witness a better world every day at DISH. For sure we also bore witness to trauma and tragedy. But knowing that we could be some part of someone’s healing, someone’s sense of home, is profound to me. I’m grateful every day for DISH.

Is there anything you'd like to share about your experience at DISH?

DISH was a wonderful place to work. I learned a ton and had a chance to experiment with ideas (mine and others’). I’ve also gotten to be a clearer and fiercer advocate for ending homelessness, for racial equity, and for social justice in general. I’ve also made some great friends. I hope I’ve become a better person, too, because of the magic of what the work does. It’s pretty spectacular work and a great place.