Gary J. Bell ’79
Gary J. Bell '79 has been a pillar and thought leader in the social services community through his successes and experience in nonprofit management and clinical psychology.
As the executive director of Bebashi Transition to Hope since 1996, Bell has been instrumental in Bebashi's growth and innovation. When Bell began his tenure with the agency, it was struggling financially and focused solely on HIV/AIDS medical case management and testing services. Gary shifted the agency's focus and transformed Bebashi into a health and social services agency that provides resources to economically disenfranchised people of color impacted by health and social disparities.
Under his leadership, Bebashi overcame its financial hardships and has grown to incorporate many innovative programs related to breast health, sexual health and screenings for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Other initiatives include support groups and the largest food cupboard in North Philadelphia. Bell also initiated one of the only discharge planning programs for HIV positive ex-offenders in the country.
Prior to Bebashi, Bell was employed by Episcopal Community Services, most notably as the director of adult services, where he managed a department of 75 employees while overseeing its homeless, adult, AIDS and counseling services to 800 clients annually. He was integral in developing one of the largest AIDS programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Bell has been recognized in both local and national media for his work with Bebashi, including PBS, The Body, Essence, Radio Times, The Bev Smith Show,Visions and Tony Brown's Journal.
Bell is the recipient of numerous awards, including PFERIC'S Pioneer Award, Man of the Year by the National Association of Business and Professional Women's Clubs–Philadelphia and Vicinity Branch, Philadelphia Tribune's Most Influential African Americans Leaders Award (2007–2015), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Community Service award and the Extraordinary Citizen Award of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP.
Bell holds a master's in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a board-certified diplomate for individuals, children and families under the American Board of Examiners in clinical social work. In addition to his accomplishments with Bebashi and ECS, Bell works as a family therapist, is a proud husband and father of two and resides in Montgomery County, near Philadelphia.