As much as we as a society are made aware of others in need, it is sometimes hard to imagine that these people are closer to us than we think. In November 2011, two friends – Cindy Atkinson and Shawn Dippel – were disheartened to hear that someone they both knew was going through an extremely difficult time. Cindy and Shawn decided that they would each try to get 10 friends to donate $10 to help this individual. They also took it a step further and included another friend in need. Thus the Christmas Appeal on Facebook – the precursor to Starboard Society – was born.
We were absolutely astounded at the contributions and support for this cause. Starting with the initial $200 goal, we raised over $1500! With the help we received, we were able to make that Holiday Season a joyous one for both of those families, especially the children involved.
In 2012, we found out about another family in a desperate situation and once again raised awareness and funds to help this family. But we also realized that this family, and indeed many other families like them, needed more than just a Merry Christmas. They needed a course correction.
We realized a gap existed in the assistance available for many families in transition because of a sudden and unexpected tragedy – loss of income, divorce, a family death, or some other hardship. Sometimes these families may have too many assets “on paper” to qualify for public assistance, yet because of the legal proceedings involved they do not have the means to support themselves and their children during a period of crisis when their lives are already disrupted. And these applications for public assistance programs can take months to process, by which time a family could have lost their vehicle, their home, or other basic needs.
We decided to form an organization that would help families struggling with these issues. We would provide in many cases immediate resources, and would connect these families with other organizations that could render additional assistance when they need it the most.
So from the original Christmas Appeal concept, Starboard Society was formed.
Our “clients,” in many cases, are the very people that would never seek assistance. They are contributors to society and work regularly. Yet because of their specific unforeseen situation they are simply unable to make ends meet. These are people who will “give back” when they are able – they will pay it forward.
Our mission is to provide short-term, high-impact assistance to Maryland families in need. We look forward to a future of helping others through their darkest hours and raising awareness for struggling families.