S. Prestley and Helen Blake offer matching grant to help local start-up nonprofit Survivor Journeys

The S. Prestley and Helen Blake Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has issued two $25,000 challenges to help a local nonprofit, Survivors Journeys, get off the ground.

Founded by Dr. Jay Burton, a cancer survivor, Survivor Journeys is a community-based support network of professionals from diverse clinical and community backgrounds dedicated to providing cancer survivors, caregivers, and loved ones unique survivorship services in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

“It’s very difficult starting up a nonprofit. This organization serves such a great need for people with cancer. We issued the challenge because we want to help ensure they could attract people and continue to help cancer survivors and their family members,” says Helen Blake.

“Survivor Journeys was formed as a result of my personal experiences battling cancer. I recognized the impact on not only patients, but their friends and loved ones. The generosity of the Blake Family and the Community Foundation is an opportunity to increase our impact and provide important support to our community of survivors and their families. No one should travel this journey alone,” says Jay S. Burton, DO, physician, Primary Care Cancer Survivorship Program of Springfield Medical Associates, and Board President of Survivor Journeys.

How the challenge works
The first challenge is for Survivor Journeys to raise $25,000 from 125 donors by Dec. 31, 2015. Donations received since the organization’s inception will count toward the initial $25,000 goal. If this challenge is met, there will be another challenge for the organization to raise $25,000 from an additional 125 donors by March 31, 2016.

If Survivor Journeys matches both the dollar and donor requirements by the deadline, the organization will receive a dollar-for-dollar match from the S. Prestley and Helen Blake Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Money raised by events counts toward the challenge. To that end, Survivor Journeys invites the community to its first annual Halloween Gala on Friday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at Storrowton Tavern Carriage House in West Springfield. The cost of the gala is $50 per person and includes dinner, music, and dancing. A cash bar will be available. Entertainment includes psychic mediums Nicky Taylor and Drianna Buonaducci, as well as practitioners from the Feeding Hills Wellness Center. Costumes are optional.

Visit survivorjourneys.org to register for the gala or for more information about support groups and developing programs.