On Thursday, May 4 at Martingale Wharf, more than 75 entrepreneurs and business owners from multiple sectors of industry came together for a networking opportunity that went far beyond the exchange of business cards.
Dubbed ‘Spring Gentleman’s Night,’ the event provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about—and raise money for—one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire. Founded in 1877, Chase Home has worked “under the radar” for years in supporting troubled youth and their families, although it has made an effort in recent years to raise awareness of its mission.
“The opioid epidemic has hit us very hard,” said Chase Home Board Member Mike LaLime, owner of TRE Cleaning & Restoration. “We are working with kids in our residential home and out in the community. This event was a great opportunity for us to highlight some of the needs in our community that often go unmet.”
In helping plan the event, Portsmouth native and current resident Graham Shaffer-Rais said he feels compelled to do whatever he can to help kids who did not have the same opportunities he had growing up.
“Most of us had support that allowed us to focus on growing as individuals in society and strive for something great, while people less fortunate often can only focus on surviving and coping,” he said.
A personal men’s stylist at J.Hilburn and business owner, Shaffer-Rais said he is joined by
many similarly-inclined individuals who want to make a difference in the greater Seacoast community.
“It makes so much sense to help raise awareness and alleviate some of pressures these kids experience, so they can follow their dreams or at least enjoy life a bit more,” he said. “These kids are a part of our future, so honestly we all should be investing in that.”
He credited many others with helping to make the night a success, including Robin Pinzone of REP Branding Co. and fellow J.Hilburn stylist Bill MacDonald.
According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, individuals like Shaffer-Rais, Pinzone and MacDonald are critical to advancing their mission.
“Community engagement is so important for us,” she said. “They did all the legwork and opened up new doors for us. We are so grateful for their efforts.”
While the total monies raised to support Chase Home is not yet known, LaLime said the message the event sends to the community is an important one.
“Whether you are an established business or just starting out, you can make a difference,” he said. “It does not have to be money—it can be time, expertise, or other resources…If we work together, we can literally save kids’ lives and give them a better chance at a good life—doesn’t everyone deserve that chance?”
Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet critical needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children, youth and families. Today, Chase Home offers residential, home-based and early-intervention/prevention programs and serves more than 140 households annually.
To learn more, visit www.chasehome.org.