For years, The Chase Home in Portsmouth quietly provided services to at-risk youth both in the community and in its residential home, which serves as stark contrast to how it concluded 2019.
“November and December were banner months for the agency in terms of monies raised,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “It was as if the entire greater Seacoast community wanted to get involved.”
Founded in 1877, Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at Chase Home.
Highlights from November and December included more than $80,000 at its 6th Wine & Chocolate Tasting, presented by The Atlantic Grill, and more than $47,000 raised through a window campaign.
“We also had donations of presents for our kids, help decorating our home–it was remarkable,” added Wheeler.
In addition, The Chase Home was selected as Christmas Gift recipient for Wason Pond Pounder, a 5K race that takes place in May and beneficiary of a Facebook campaign organized by (un)Official City of Portsmouth, NH.
According to Wheeler, the unexpected generosity of the greater Seacoast community underscores critical needs.
“The funding landscape has changed in the last 10 to 15 years, and a portion of our budget relies on community involvement and support,” she explained. “I cannot stress what an incredible opportunity this represents for us and our kids moving forward.”
For Bill MacDonald, who serves as Ambassador for The Chase Home, the opportunity to engage Portsmouth and surrounding communities in support of its mission is “immensely gratifying.”
“These kids deserve a chance at a better childhood and life, and Chase Home provides that,” he said. “People are starting to see what an incredible resource this is for area youth right in our own backyard.”
In looking ahead, Craig Dennis, operations director at The Chase Home, said he looks forward to helping oversee installation of new windows, nearly of which had been deemed unsafe by a local inspector in the fall.
“We had to shut some bedrooms down and we risked having to turn away kids in need,” he said. “With community support, we can move forward and keep kids safe and warm this winter. “We are truly grateful.”
To learn more about The Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.