Samaritans held its 2023 Breakfast for Hope on Tuesday, May 23, at the Boston Park Plaza, which celebrated the power of community and connection in preventing suicide. Over 500 people were in attendance, and more than $578,000 was raised for suicide prevention. During the event, Samaritans honored the Bancel Family and Bancel Philanthropies for their generous support and dedication to mental health. The event also highlighted partnerships with community organizations to support the mental health of those at highest risk for suicide, including communities of color, LGBTQ+ folks, young people, and those in certain professions.
“For a long time, suicide prevention has looked similar no matter the audience. It’s been based on research and best practices, but it didn’t necessarily consider that suicide and mental illness impact communities, cultures, races, and identities in very different ways. We are changing that,” said Kathy Marchi, President and CEO of Samaritans. She described how Samaritans has spent the last year building partnerships with community organizations to make education workshops more accessible. “Being invited to these tables to listen, ask questions, share our expertise, and most importantly, to give space for our partners to determine what suicide prevention looks like for them has allowed us to establish connections, foster conversations, and encourage hope in the ways that will best reach them.”
It’s one thing to say a couple of words or give a pat on the back, but to be a key part of someone’s career development and inspire them, show them that you have hope in them, as well as fostering an environment for them to be comfortable, to be heard, to feel important, can do wonders.
In particular, the event featured Anthony Thompson, Founder of Follow Suit, a local mentorship program that encourages leadership skills in young men and boys from Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods. Anthony discussed how the partnership between Samaritans and Follow Suit is supporting the mental health of youth in his community.
“In my community, kids who drop out of school or join a gang are on a path to suicide. I believe my job is to prevent young men from choosing those suicidal avenues by helping them build their sense of self-worth and believe there is another path for them,” said Anthony.
Katio Barbosa and Joshua Ramgeet, two former Follow Suit program participants discussed how the mentorship and sense of community they received through Follow Suit built their confidence and wellbeing, and why they believe in the importance of the partnership between Follow Suit and Samaritans.
“It’s one thing to say a couple of words or give a pat on the back, but to be a key part of someone’s career development and inspire them, show them that you have hope in them, as well as fostering an environment for them to be comfortable, to be heard, to feel important, can do wonders. I learned that with Follow Suit and I’m learning that now with Samaritans,” said Joshua.
Other community partners featured at the event included Greater Boston PFLAG, Awareness617, El Mundo Boston, BetterVet, and Ryder System, Inc.
The Breakfast for Hope is made possible by corporate and individual sponsors. At the Breakfast, Samaritans recognized sponsor honoree Bancel Philanthropies, the family philanthropy of Brenda and Stéphane Bancel, for their leadership in supporting Samaritans and in championing mental health. The entire Bancel family are incredible supporters of Samaritans. Brenda and Stéphane have served on committees and generously supported Samaritans, encouraging others to give through matching gift challenges. Their daughter Chloe has worked to support students’ mental health at her high school and is a member of the Samaritans Council.
“We are deeply grateful to Bancel Philanthropies for their generous support and partnership in working toward a world without suicide. With their help, we have been able to further our outreach, build community where it was needed, and connect with more people. We could not have done this without their enduring commitment to suicide prevention, and we are pleased to honor their dedication to Samaritans,” said Kathy.
Follow Suit Collaboration
Learn about our collaboration with Follow Suit, featured during the 2023 Breakfast for Hope.
Browse photos from the 2023 Breakfast for Hope.
Support Our Work
You can still give to the 2023 Breakfast for Hope to support community and connection that prevent suicide. Help us reach our fundraising goal.