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The one hundred honoree: The Samfund

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: The Samfund

Mass General Giving

Just as young adult cancer survivors are recovering from the physical, emotional and psychological effects of treatment, they often find themselves faced with another kind of aftershock—ruined finances.

Recouping requires the type of help that The Samfund has made its mission. The Samfund provides direct financial assistance to cancer survivors in their 20s and 30s, regardless of where they live or their specific cancer diagnosis, the first and largest nonprofit organization in the country to do so. The Boston-based organization has distributed more than $1.5 million in grants since its founding in 2003. In addition to grants for everyday expenses like rent, car payments and utilities, The Samfund offers a free webinar series, “Moving Forward With Your Financial Health,” as well as an online toolkit, “Finances 101.” The toolkit helps young adults cope with their most common financial challenges—finding affordable health insurance, dealing with medical bills, managing student loans and more.

The organization’s CEO and founder, Samantha Eisenstein Watson, survived cancer twice in her 20s—first battling Ewing’s Sarcoma and two years later receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat secondary Myelodysplastic Syndrome. From her own experience, she learned how expensive cancer was, and how little support was available for young adults struggling financially once treatment ended.

“Sam’s mantra is to ‘pay it forward’ and help those who don’t have the support she had as a young adult cancer patient and survivor,” says nominator Michele Bennett.