Creating a culture of concern

Samaritans Council member Stew Chapin elaborates on the importance of finding causes that move you.

We all have some mix of “time, talent, and treasure” to share – but for most of us, it’s finite. And I think we all want to feel like we’re making a difference. In my experience, figuring out what moves you, and then finding organizations that connect to that, leads to the somewhere and somehow.

I first heard about Samaritans in 2011, when the team wrote to our family foundation. The Bennett Family Foundation is fairly small; my brother and I manage everything from grant-making to investments. When we began our grant-making in 2004, we had no real direction or focus beyond a preference to support smaller, local organizations.

We spent some time thinking about what moves us, and realized we have a special interest in young adults who are disengaged, disenfranchised, or otherwise disconnected from the support of family and community. We have a special interest in addressing the mental health needs of that population. Most of the organizations we support in Boston – Roca for young men and young mothers, YouthHarbors for homeless high school teens, Fenway Health’s Borum Health Center for LGBT young adults, for example – connect in some way with those interests.

That first outreach from Samaritans was about offering text messaging as an option on the Helpline, and we recognized a fit with those interests. Additionally, Samaritans does have a special resonance for us as a family. Like so many others who contribute, we are suicide loss survivors, having lost a sister and a young adult son to suicide. That happened well before texting was so prevalent, but the rapid growth of Samaritans’ texting and social media efforts today makes a connection.

In parallel, I retired from a career in technology and realized that I had skills I could contribute as well. I connected with Community Consulting Teams of Boston (CCT), who assemble teams of MBAs to do pro-bono work for Boston-area nonprofits. After supporting Samaritans with grants from the Foundation, I encouraged the team to apply for a CCT project team in 2017. I’ve nudged my other grantees as well and I’m delighted to see project results that are maybe even more valuable to an organization than my modest grants.

Most recently, I joined the Samaritans Council as another way to connect with an organization that means so much to me. By introducing others to Samaritans programs and services, being more involved in events, and sharing my professional and personal expertise, I have the opportunity to support Samaritans’ mission more deeply. When we combine our passions, our skills, and our experiences, we are able to create a culture of concern that can define our community.

 Feeling inspired and want to be more involved with Samaritans?

                I have time:

                I have talent:

                I have treasure:

We are so appreciative to Stew and the Bennett Family Foundation for all of their support. To learn more about our generous funders, visit our Financial Information page.