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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Samfund

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer

Mission: The SAMFund supports young adult cancer survivors in the United States as they recover from the financial impact of cancer treatment. Through direct financial assistance, in-person and online support, The SAMFund helps young adults move forward towards their personal, professional, and educational goals from a position of knowledge and strength.

Results: To date, we have awarded a total of $900,000 in grants and scholarships to hundreds of individuals across the country. We have delivered multiple free Webinars for young adult survivors through our "Moving Forward With Your Finanical Health," Webinar series archived and available on our website.

Target demographics: Young adult cancer survivors between the ages of 17 and 35 who are finished with active treatment and residents of the United States.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100+

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: We provide free Webinars on young adult survivor financial issues and grants for living expenses that cover a wide range of post-treatment financial needs, including (but not limited to): current and residual medical bills, car and health insurance premiums, rent, utilities, tuition and loans, family-building expenses, gym memberships and transportation costs.

Community Stories

48 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

cayci_3

Client Served

Rating: 5

This charity has stayed connected with me after helping with funds and even on FB has supported me through my personal life. They are helpful even with resources outside their areas of expertise and are happy to refer me to other options available to help me. I am absolutely positive that I would not be in such a good place that I am now, if it wasn't for the SamFund.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is honest and caring. There's always someone to answer questions and concerns. Comes highly recommended as a resource not only for young adults with cancer but for survivors and caregivers as well. Great networking site for cancer patients and survivors.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is organization is extremely well run and is focused on getting the dollars to the people who need them. Their CEO is amazing and inspiring! This is an excellent organization to support.

Kate43

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best day of my life was the day I became cancer-free. The second best day of my life was the day I received the call from The SAMFund telling me that I was going to be given a grant. As a survivor, it was traumatizing enough going through cancer treatment at such a young age. It was almost just as bad going through the financial trauma immediately following. It's like you survive the hardest thing you've ever gone through, and when you're done, you're not. You still have to learn to figure out a way to survive after the financial toll of cancer. My grant enabled me in ways that I can not even put into words. My grant helped with my balance I held at my oncology center where I was still going to regularly for post-treatment checkups. The balance was so high that I would nearly get turned away because I wasn't able to make the large payments. The SAMFund got me a laptop for school. I was just about to graduate when I was diagnosed, and it really took a toll on me. That laptop was a tool that I desperately needed to complete my portfolio and graduate in the degree that I am so passionate about. The SAMFund granted me a gym membership to help build my strength up following chemo and radiation. This is just a small glimpse as to how I have been helped by The SAMFund. They really gave me insight on survivorship, and enabled me to become the person I am today. I have been able to look back at my experience and see the silver lining within my diagnosis. The silver lining for me was The SAMFund. They will be forever remembered in my and my family's hearts, and I am so proud to call myself a survivor and SAMFund Alum.

Client Served

Rating: 2

Don't ask how you can help (rank things in order of need). Then decide to give something not on the list just to say you gave it. Very disappointed.

1 Glenn5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so proud of my daughter Samantha Eisenstein Watson for so many reasons. She created the SAMFund because as she recovered from two battles against cancer she saw a void and tried to do something about it. She understood as only a young adult cancer survivor could what was needed to help other survivors overcome the transition back to "normal life" after a successful battle against cancer. Nearly ten years later a smile still comes to her face each and every time we are able to tell a young man or woman, "yes we can help you..." Glenn Eisenstein

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The SAMFund is helping me achieve my goals, not only in the short-term but for many years to come. Their scholarship has enabled me to focus much more on my academics than worry about my health insurance and fertility bills. I can’t thank the SAMFund enough for all their help!

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The SAMFund is an amazing organization because it fills a void in the world of cancer needs. There are many organizations that cater to the emotional and physical issues that surround cancer, and many that fund research to find new cures, but the SAMFund is the only one that I know of that provides financial support for young adult cancer survivors, a population that experiences the effects of cancer in a different way than other age groups. It's hard enough to find one's place in the world but when cancer is added to the mix that task becomes even harder. I have seen a couple close friends and relatives fall behind in their careers and graduate schooling which were only just starting when they became ill. Though they were fortunate to survive their cancer experience, the debt they incurred because of it was a burden. The SAMFund helped them pay off loans and debts which would otherwise have continued to mount. It is an incredibly important organization that more people need to know about.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former staff member for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a friend to several young adult cancer survivors, I have been fortunate to know about the SAMFund since its inception. There are a great deal of reasons I'm inspired by this organization, not the least of which is its ability to provide resources for those things which are just not covered by regular insurance. Those of us who have never experienced the trials and tribulations of cancer (or the costs associated with the treatment of it) cannot fully comprehend the importance of a gym membership to stay healthy. Or a laptop to help get back on track after missing months or years of school. Or, having depleted our savings for life-saving care, not having enough money for a deposit on an apartment of our own in order to start living LIFE again. The SAMFund looks at young adult survivors and sees potential. Potential to make great lives for themselves. Potential to be great parents. Potential to be great co-workers. And potential to change the world, one small step at a time. But, more importantly, the SAMFund realizes that in order to fulfill ones potential, sometimes the very basic necessities need to be met. Filling the void between relying on your parents and receiving reimbursement from your insurance company - the SAMFund finds a way to give people the support to allow them to be like everyone else. And not be constantly struggling to take the next step to independence because cancer threw an early obstacle in their way. I am proud to be part of the SAMFund because I've seen, first-hand, how financial support can be the difference between going back to school and working in a low-paying job; can be the difference between living with your parents at age 30 and finally becoming an independent adult; and can be the difference between moving on with one's life rather than always fighting a battle because of cancer.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The SAMFund is an awesome organization that assists young adults with expenses after cancer. I've never heard of another organization doing this. Beating cancer is only half the battle. Survivors must deal with huge bills after treatment. This economy is tough on every young adult, and with the additional burden of cancer, it can seem almost impossible for young survivors. The SAMFund gives them hope! By paying for something as simple as a gym membership, The SAMFund makes these survivor’s lives so much easier. After beating cancer, the last issue on your mind should be ridiculous bills. The SAMFund not only provides grants and scholarships, but also has events for survivors to get together and have fun. It's such a unique organization and I truly wish it could fund all of the applications.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a 6-year cancer survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma and a recipient of a grant from the SamFund. Receiving a grant from the SamFund has enabled me to move forward in my life because it alleviated some unexpected and huge financial burdens I had come up in the past year. The SamFund has helped so many cancer survivors with similar issues and truly provides a unique and necessary service for us to be able to live our new, normal lives.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a 2008 recipient of the SamFund. I will forever be grateful not only to them but the many donors that help make what SamFund does happen. I am a single mother of three and was struggling with supporting my family and fighting for my life and realizing that there is a fine line between the fight for life and the right to survive. With all the endless procedures, and surgeries which lead to co-pays and prescriptions and time off work your finances deplete and your stuck with decisions such as, “Do I take this treatment or do I pay the electricity or rent?”, “ Do I fill my prescription or do I buy groceries?”. It’s absolutely horrible to be faced with that and SamFund knows that this is what we struggle with on a daily basis even after the cancer is gone. I am applying again this year in hopes that with the financial help I can start up a business that will in turn allow me to be a donor and an even bigger supporter of an organization that was there for me when I needed them the most.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a SAMFund recipient, I can attest to the great work they do! I was awarded funding to assist with prescription drug and medical bills, as well as transportation costs. As a student living in NYC, it was HUGE burden lifted off my shoulders to have this help. I am a survivor of Hodgkin's Disease and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. My youngest sister was the donor for my Bone Marrow Transplant, and there are a lot of long-term side effects that have proven costly and sometimes restricting. I am a doctoral student studying the aftermath of childhood illness. THANK YOU, SAMFund for helping survivors move on!!!!

8 kim.hicks

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have received a grant from the SAMFund for 2 years. This organization was a financial resource to me when I couldn't find help anywhere else. I am a 3 time cancer survivor, and am applying to medical school. In addition to the rigorous course load and stressful application process, I found that there are many costs associated with this. The pre-requisite course fees, MCAT testing, application fees and more. Even more importantly, the SAMFund paid my Cobra health insurance fees, which allowed me to keep medical care for a year!

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

The SAMFund provides an amazing source of support for an underserved population- young adult survivors of cancer. In my case, I was too old for most grants and scholarships, but due to the nature of my field of work (independent contractor in the musical arts) I did not have the kind of safety net that most people my age had: insurance benefits and one steady source of income that I could count on to help me get back on my feet post-treatment. Most of the scholarships and/or grants I came across during my research had narrow targets and missions, which is great and necessary to serve the populations they serve. However, it raised serious questions for me- questions that I had not had to encounter before: as an artist, my life and career path were pretty divergent from most people's- was that a mistake? Was the career success I'd had prior to cancer useless to me now that I was fighting for my life? The SAMFund had a very large part in convincing me that was not the case. With their support, I recently traveled to Italy to begin my first exploratory return to opera singing. It was a test for me- did I still have what it takes to work in this field? Do I still have the passion after two years of treatment and healing? Is it worth it? Should I just go get an office job and give up what was my life's work? After 5 weeks of working with a dedicated teacher, and studying with coaches from the world's most prestigious opera companies, the answer was a resounding, "No!" This answer didn't only come from inside myself- I was continually pulled aside by various members of the faculty for conferences in which I was offered support and encouragement by people who had worked with the best singers in the business. To think- just a few months before this program I had given up singing for quite a while, not sure how I was going to get back on my feet with such huge financial obstacles standing in my way. At the present moment, I am preparing to move closer to the teacher I studied with at the program- his conservatory has recruited me to do a year of intense private study with him in preparation for a relaunching of my career. None of this would have been possible without the support of the SAMFund, and I will be eternally grateful to them that they understand that young adults have specific needs and challenges surrounding encounters with cancer- needs and challenges that are different from other populations.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

In April of 2005, my life changed forever. I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was a healthy 26 year old - my family and I were very much in shock. After undergoing 7 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, total body radiation, a bone marrow transplant and living in at the Mayo Clinic for about 10 months, I was finally cancer free. After you recover, people expect you to get back to "normal." Physical, emotional and financial tolls are just a few of the after-effects. The SAMFund UNDERSTOOD that I was a young adult cancer survivor who needed help! In 2006, I wrote an essay on my cancer experience and the SAMFund awarded me with some funding to help pay for schooling, car insurance and a car payment. Having those things taken care of was a HUGE RELIEF. I am now proudly a part of the SAMFund's Grant and Scholarship Committee. I know firsthand that the SAMFund truly cares about each applicant and wants to help make a young adult cancer survivor's life a bit easier by providing scholarships for things even as simple as a rent payment or a car payment. I think the SAMFund serves a purpose that has been priceless to me as well as so many others.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

My partner is a long-term survivor of Osteosarcoma (bone cancer for anyone not already in the know.) After a particularly hellish surgery to replace her artificial knee and its companion Tibial component, she received support from the SAMFund in order to pay for a gym membership (therapy pool, whoo-hoo!) and a portion of her rather terrifying insurance premiums. Thanks to SAMF, we were able to take a pair of rare but very deep breaths. KUDOS TO THE MAX.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends, family, coworkers, nobody seems to understand how isolating, scary, and downright horrible it is to be dealing with a cancer diagnosis in the "prime" of you life. I was a caregiver to my husband during his treatment, as well as our small children. The SAMFund is an incredible organization full of compassion and understanding, and tangible assistance. Only now, years later, have I begun to find peace with the whole experience by meeting and working with others who simply understand.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

SAMFund is awesome and unique in the population it serves and how it does so. Started by someone who truly understands what difficulties young adult survivors encounter, I was so excited to find out that an organization like this existed. It is hard enough to be a young adult trying to make it in the world, and then throw in managing severe health complications from cancer treatment and all the bills that come with it, and I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and helpless. SAMFund helped alleviate some of that financial burden, improving my quality of life and allowing me to focus on important long-term goals in the process.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor and pleasure of being involved with the SAMFund for the past five years and have seen this wonderful and unique organization grow from a seed to a flower to a garden and beyond. As a member of the Grants and Scholarships Committee, I can attest to the thoughtful, caring nature of the SAMFund and its volunteers as well as the effectiveness of the help that the SAMFund provides. The SAMFund answers a truly unique need for young adult survivors of cancer. Because of the SAMFund's holistic vision and understanding of what helps a young adult survivor get back on his or her feet, the assistance that the SAMFund awards provides not only financial and stress relief but also helps recipients move beyond those well-known worries, helping them pursue and achieve goals and dreams that had to be put on hold –- whether those dreams are to start or finish college, pursue training in a specific field or interest, receive assistance with costly fertility treatments, or to join a gym or attend a yoga retreat or “simply” for a plane ticket to attend a convention for cancer survivors. Many of our recipients have told the SAMFund that they would not have been able to achieve their goals and dreams and move beyond their cancer experience had it not been for the help of the SAMFund. What a fantastic gift to be able to give! Of course, every member of the Grants and Scholarships Committee would like to fund every single request that comes in to the SAMFund and hopes that someday that dream will be a reality, but until then there are always difficult decisions to be made. I have been a part of many very difficult discussions and decisions and can assure that the volunteers of this special organization are so thoughtful and thorough, caring and sensitive in their decision making process. Every decision that is made to fund a request is made in such a way as to insure that the we are providing the most effective and greatest amount of assistance possible. The SAMFund is an extraordinary organization and one that I hope to be a part of for years to come.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sam Eisenstein Watson runs an incredible organization! She is incredibly inspiring. I heard her story at a networking event and instantly had to get to know her and become involved with The SAMFund. Her diligence, knowledge, and generosity is unmatched and she has done the young adult survivor community a huge service. The SAMFund is truly a terrific organizaion!