Merton (Mert) F. Preston

Founding Board Member. 10/7/94 - 1/15/99 Mert Preston's focus has been to encourage men to look at the way they lead their lives and be willing to explore change and stimulate their own personal growth. Mert Preston's involvement in the men's movement began in 1978 when he became a member of the Board of the Petaluma People Services Center. He became president in 1979-82 and lead workshops and fundraising. In 1982, he co-founded Petaluma Men's Nite Out, a men's open support group offering weekly topics in consciousness-raising with extended education and work shops in personal growth, group process, facilitation and awareness. The same year he also co-founded the Sonoma County Men's Support Network, which was dedicated to the task of men evolving nonviolently. The program includes a 24 hour crises hot line & social reeducation for men who have problems dealing with emotional issues manifested in spousal abuse. In 1987, Mert became a charter board member of the Sonoma County AIDS Foundation, which advocates for and raises funds for AIDS services in the county. In 1998, be became a board member of Face to Face/Sonoma County Aids Network and has held all office positions for one year terms. In 1994 the organization had a budget of $1.8 million, 38 employees, 250 plus volunteers and serves upwards of 500 clients who are HIV positive. In 1989, Mert was a founding director of the Legacy Center, Inc., Sonoma county Lesbian and Gay community center and information and referral services. In 1992, Mert was honored as "Gay Man of the Year" by the Lesbian & Gay Community for "Your dignity, quiet pride, determined effort and dedication to the Lesbian and Gay Community in Sonoma County." And, was chosen as the Grand Marshal for the Sonoma County Gay Pride parade and celebration in 1993. In 1994, he became a Founding Board Member of The National Men's Resource Center. He retired from the board in January, 1999 and was honored by the Board for his years of service to all men and assistance and guidance in getting the organization off on the right foot.

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