Samaritans, Inc.

aka Samaritans   |   Boston, MA   |  http://www.samaritanshope.org

Mission

Samaritans’ mission is to prevent suicide and offer hope and support to those affected. Founded in 1974, Samaritans is a suicide prevention agency providing compassionate and nonjudgmental befriending services to all in Greater Boston and across MA. Samaritans is an important part of the national network of suicide prevention crisis centers. We provide three programs: 24/7 Crisis Services (phone and text Helpline and dedicated teen text line), Community Education and Outreach, and Grief Support. Our signature practice of befriending those who call or text our toll-free Helpline, combined with tailored community education and outreach, ensures a caring listener is available to anyone with suicidal ideation or intent to self-injure.

Ruling year info

1978

Executive Director & President

Ms. Kathleen Marchi

Main address

41 West Street 4th Floor

Boston, MA 02111 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Samaritans of Boston

Samaritans Suburban West

EIN

04-2643466

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Samaritans’ mission is to prevent suicide and offer hope and support to those affected. COVID-19 and the extended impact of the pandemic has exacerbated an existing mental health crisis. The COVID-19 Data Brief 2020, published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Fall 2021 reported on an annual telephone survey that collects information on the health issues and risk factors of adults across the state. Survey participants were asked how many days over the past month their mental health was ‘not good,’ with ‘poor mental health’ being defined as having 15 or more days of ‘not good’ in the past month. In the 2020 survey, 33% of respondents reported poor mental health within the past month (the time period between August – October 2020). Among those age 25 or older between 2017 and 2019 this number was closer to 10%. This reflects the dramatic impact of COVID on the communities we serve.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

24/7 Crisis Services

Our signature practice of befriending those who call or text our statewide, toll-free Helpline ensures a caring listener is available to anyone with suicidal ideation or intent to self-injure. Building awareness of suicide risk, through tailored community workshops, along with peer support for those dealing with a suicide loss, fill important niches in preventing deaths from suicide and healing from its aftermath.

Samaritans’ reach is statewide, with highest delivery of service occurring in Greater Boston and on calls from any MA area code to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). Volunteers are vital to meeting the demand for our services. Annually, more than 320 volunteers (adults and youth) answer calls on the crisis Helpline and through the NSPL. Those texting our 1-800 number receive the same befriending attention. We are one of the busiest suicide crisis centers in the nation, and among the three other Samaritans branches in MA. Moreover, we are the only Samaritans in MA taking overnight calls, and the only center in New England providing 24/7 coverage for texting on the statewide number. Our services are free to all who contact us. Every year our programs impact more than 28,000 people of all ages.

Research shows crisis phone helplines—and increasingly text services—are effective in
preventing deaths by suicide and users report significant reduction in psychological pain,
hopelessness, and anxiety. Indeed, other research confirms, “evidence to date indicates that
professionals may be less effective in providing telephone help to suicidal individuals when
compared to trained lay volunteers” (Mishara Oct, 2016 – AAS: Suicide and Life
Threatening Behavior).

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

Our Community and Education Program (CEO) Program provides customized suicide prevention workshops reaching individuals in schools, professional and civic groups, and religious and social organizations. We target our education and outreach efforts to those groups that are at high risk for suicide including teens, older adults, and middle aged men. Participants learn important information about suicide prevention including risk factors and warning signs; building resiliency/protective factors; and how to support someone at risk. The basic concept and skills of befriending are also discussed. Samaritans is continuing a partnership with the City of Boston and Peer Health Exchange to further prevention efforts across several city programs, and notably, in the Boston Public Schools.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Adults

Those who have lost a loved one to suicide, called loss survivors, are themselves at an increased risk of suicide. GSS provides support to loss survivors through six SafePlace peer support groups (in Boston, Framingham, Medford, Needham, Quincy, and Worcester), and through the Survivor-to-Survivor Network for at-home visits. After a suicide occurs in a community, Samaritans are often called upon to provide support and consultation as these communities struggle to cope with the impact of suicide. GSS is also working in collaboration with several community partners to host a presentation series geared towards people who are grieving a loss to suicide, as well as those who care for them, with the goal to help participants better understand suicide and the grief that may happen when a suicide occurs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Crisis Center Certification, since 2005 2005

Contact USA

Member 2000

American Association of Suicidology

Member Crisis Center 2005

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Affiliations & memberships

United Way Member Agency 1980

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students receiving information on suicide

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Adolescents

Related Program

Community Education and Outreach (CEO)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This includes youth receiving suicide prevention training at their schools and colleges, as well as at community awareness events. 20/21 numbers reflect impact of COVID on in-person events.

Number of adults receiving information on suicide

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Seniors

Related Program

Community Education and Outreach (CEO)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Adults receiving suicide prevention training. 2021 numbers reflect impact of COVID on in person events.

Number of crisis calls answered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

24/7 Crisis Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of crisis texts answered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

24/7 Crisis Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Text is a growing area of services.

Number of volunteers active in Crisis Services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

24/7 Crisis Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes both adults and youth "Samariteen" volunteers serving on our crisis Helplines.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Samaritans’ mission is to prevent suicide and offer hope and support to those affected.

Our services emphasize confidential, nonjudgmental, and compassionate listening. Our goals include:
988: Be a statewide leader in suicide prevention through the 988 rolls out in MA and ensure the continuance and impact of our Helpline in reducing the incidence of suicide
Enhanced youth suicide prevention services, including youth-led text and peer support, training and education
Pilot projects to meet the needs of those at highest risk of suicide following psychiatric hospitalization and survivors of suicide attempt
Serve high risk populations and historically marginalized communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ by improving accessibility, impact, and effectiveness of our programs
Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS Team) partner with police departments to support families immediately following a suicide loss
Advocacy agenda to influence policy changes and positive mental health

We achieve our mission through the following services:
1) 24/7 Crisis Services: Training and mentoring volunteers (adults and youth) to provide compassionate, confidential listening on our phone and text Helpline to those who are isolated, despairing, and suicidal. In 2022 we are promoting new translation services, providing access to more than 240 languages on the Helpline and adding a dedicated teen text line - Hey Sam.
2) Community Education and Outreach (CEO); Through trainings and workshops in the community, we equip others with skills and knowledge they need to identify and help people at risk of suicide. Since the pandemic restrictions on in-person meetings, we have successfully shifted the workshops to a virtual format. In 2022, we will explore adding in-person workshops back into the schedule and expanding our reach for virtual trainings.
3) Grief Support Services (GSS): GSS provides support to loss survivors through SafePlace peer support groups and through the Survivor-to- Survivor Network for individual visits. Normally held twice a month in 6 different locations, we are now offering online groups three times per week.

Samaritans is led by a 19-member Board of Directors, nearly half are suicide loss survivors, who give generously of their time, talent, and treasure. 100% of board members made a personal unrestricted gift within the last year.

Additionally, we have stable leadership and program staff, which underscores the organization's ability to implement and meet its goals of reducing and preventing suicide.

Provide a list/description of the organization's major achievements.
Established in 1974 as the first independent Samaritans’ branch in the U.S., Samaritans signature practice of befriending has had a tremendous impact on lessening suicide in MA for close to 45 years. Those who call or text our Toll-Free Helpline encounter a caring listener, ready with a compassionate ear to anyone with suicidal ideation or intent to self-injure. Our education efforts to build awareness of suicide risk, through tailored community workshops, along with peer support for those dealing with a suicide loss, fulfill important niches in preventing deaths from suicide or healing from its aftermath. Samaritans’ reach is statewide in MA, with highest concentration of service delivery in Greater Boston and MetroWest. Samaritans answers calls from any MA area codes that go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL).

Samaritans evolved from one small Helpline to having answered over 2.6 million calls, chats and text messages. In 2020 we added translation services to the Helpline to provide access to speakers of over 240 languages. In 2022 we are adding a new teen text line called 'Hey Sam'. We have trained more than 5,250 volunteers in befriending skills; provided suicide prevention workshops to 135,000 individuals; and lent aid and support to 13,000 individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.

During this time, Samaritans has grown from a basement office in Boston’s Arlington Street Church to our current office in Downtown Boston. During COVID, we moved all services to a virtual model, which has continued to inform programming and allow for greater access. In an effort to reach more individuals, we have added to the Helpline texting that has grown tremendously in popularity and led to the formation of Hey Sam - a new text line specific for teens. Samaritans is the only MA-based organization to implement texting for those seeking help for issues related to suicide.

Longer-term, our (2021) published 5-year visioning plan will lead us towards progress in several key areas: 1. Be a statewide leader in suicide prevention as the 988 rolls out; 2. Enhance youth suicide prevention services, including youth-led text and peer support, training and education; 3. Pilot projects to meet the needs of those at highest risk of suicide following psychiatric hospitalization and survivors of suicide attempt; 4. Serve high risk populations and historically marginalized communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ by improving accessibility, impact, and effectiveness of our programs; 5. Establish Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS Team) partnering with police departments to support families immediately following a suicide loss; and 6. Develop an advocacy agenda to influence policy changes and positive mental health



How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in our community, 24 hours a day; to educate the public about suicide prevention; to help those who have lost a loved one to suicide; and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide. Our services emphasize confidential, nonjudgmental, and compassionate listening.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The Community Education & Outreach team collects feedback after each workshop through an anonymous survey. Based on this feedback and conversations during the workshops, the CEO team saw the need for a conversation guide to help support participants use the skills they had acquired. Working with Samaritans Communications Manager, a useful one page hand out was created to share during workshops and is now one of the most request flyers.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The Board is conducting a gap analysis paying particular attention to areas of diversity including race and ethnicity, gender, sexual, orientation, disability and socioeconomic status along with areas of expertise and lived experience. Clarifying recruitment, assessment, and onboarding procedures that will increase diversity and focus recruitment on areas of need in also in process and scheduled for approval at our June 2022 meeting. On the staff level, we conducted diversity training in 2020, are upgrading our HR capacity, and will engage a consultant in organizational work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We recognize that achieving a diverse workforce must include a broad understanding of the value and purpose of a DEI Strategies.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently,

Financials

Samaritans, Inc.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Samaritans, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/9/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Samantha Joseph

Vin Capozzi

AllWays Partners

Tom Burke

Retired

Joe Shapiro

Rum & Reggae Travel Guidebooks, Inc.

Lisa Sarno

Treatment Placement Specialists

Mark Horgan

Retired

Peter Bean

Hunneman

Samantha Joseph

CIC Health

Nicole Costa Moustafa

Avast

Debbie Connolly

Community Volunteer

Larry Buchsbaum

Marketing Professional

Jill Borrelli

Tufts Health Plan

Leah Goldstein

Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston

Emma Albright

The Bridge Program at Weston High School

Susannah Elsey

Mix 104.1

Ann Oliver

Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates, Partners in Health

Doug Murphy

Launchpad Venture Group

Bruce Herzfelder

BetterVet, LLC

Stephen Mosha

PwC

Stacey Marino

Oppenheimer & Company

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/09/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/09/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.