Mission: Making a difference in the community one person at a time.
The Starfish Initiative’s goal is to assist social workers, case workers and peer support specialists with immediate, essential funds that would not otherwise be available to their clients.
We eliminate the need for extensive paperwork or waiting periods as we work directly with the social worker or caseworker to help fund the need that couldn’t be funded through other community resources in the necessary time frame.
The idea for the Starfish Initiative came from listening to social workers describe their work with the most vulnerable members of our communities. These workers are often helping clients in desperate or life threatening situations to navigate systems and access resources in the community.
These workers help clients navigate the larger systems such as medical, legal, educational and housing as well as access temporary resources through charitable organizations and churches. We’ve heard from these workers that resources can be scarce in some of our more remote communities and that even in the more populated areas there are gaps in the availability of some types of funding.
There are a myriad of ways these workers assist their clients and we are honored to support the important work they are doing with the most vulnerable of our neighbors.
What are some examples of funds The Starfish Initiative has provided so far:
- A tank of oil for a senior without heat on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend
- $40 worth of hardware that made the difference in whether a housing unit passed inspection and a client remained housed
- A month of a storage unit rental so a client did not lose all of their belongings while homeless between housing situations
- A train ticket for a client to attend her nephew’s funeral
- A bus pass that allowed a client to access medical care
- Therapy session sliding fee for formerly homeless client to access specialized therapeutic support
- Tire repair so a client could get to work the next day
- A bereavement flight for a daughter to be with her dying mother
- A tank of gas and a warm meal for a client living in his car on a cold winter night
- Application fees for housing for a client facing imminent homelessness who otherwise could not apply for an open unit.
- Paying for prescriptions for a senior so they can spend their money on food
The name The Starfish Initiative comes from “The Starfish Story” adapted from Loren Eisley’s “The Star Thrower“. We can sometimes feel powerless and overwhelmed by the systemic injustices and inequalities we encounter on a daily basis. At the Starfish Initiative, we choose to stay focused on the power we have to make a difference in the lives of individuals.
The Starfish Story;
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.
Approaching the boy he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”
“Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die,” the boy replied.
The man laughed to himself and said, “Do you realize there are miles of miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make any difference.”
After listening politely, the boy bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the surf. Then, he smiled at the man and said, “I made a difference to that one.”