Recognizing the givers

A thank you to all those who contribute so selflessly to New Hampshire

Amid all the talk of impeachment, immigration and trade, the bickering, gridlock and all manner of reasons to be pessimistic as we approach Christmas and Hanukkah, it is important to recognize all the good that is done around us.

When thinking about those who contribute so selflessly, often for no compensation and usually for inadequate pay, the following groups and organizations come to mind:

  • CASA of New Hampshire: The Court Appointed Special Advocates organization musters volunteers to do what the state should be doing, providing representation to vulnerable children in court situations where their best interests should be paramount. Its leadership and cadre of volunteers certainly are doing the Lord’s work.
  • Churches: While it is true that in a recent poll God got a 90% favorable rating and “religion” got a positive rating in the low 20s, religious organizations in New Hampshire do a multitude of good. The Diocese of Manchester, the Diocese of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Council of Churches, individual congregations and their social welfare outreach arms are doing good in communities every day. It is frustrating that religious observance is not a part of more people’s lives, since they not only would get personal edification and perspective and a belief system to create order in a hectic world, they would find new ways to help their fellow citizens and add glue to the social order.
  • New Hampshire Catholic Charities: The social welfare arm of the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Catholic Charities serves those of all denominations equally, providing the services of the New Hampshire Food Bank, rescuing the Caregivers and Liberty House organizations recently, and providing services to thousands of people every year from its various locations.
  • Ascentria Care Alliance: Formerly Lutheran Social Services, this organization provides help to immigrants and refugees, in-home services, welfare services, has a prominent program called the Good News Garage and a myriad other services. It is one of the largest of New England’s service providers and is the service arm not only of the Lutheran Church but also the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire.
  • Waypoint: Formerly Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, Waypoint provides many distinct services to children and families throughout the state from its headquarters in Manchester, without which the people it serves would not have anywhere to turn.
  • Easterseals New Hampshire: Easterseals New Hampshire provides care from early intervention for infants to daycare for dementia patients. Notably, its contributions to helping address opioid and other drug and alcohol issues through the Farnum Centers are unparalleled. Similar services are provided at least in part by Crotched Mountain Foundation, Spaulding Youth Center and other fine organizations.
  • Families in Transition/New Horizons: This organization, which provides housing, shelter and food is a beacon of hope for many in New Hampshire’s largest city.
  • Private and public foundations: Many foundations, from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the largest, to organizations such as the Bean Foundation, Cogswell Benevolent Trust, Hunt Foundation, Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund and many others too numerous to mention, provide grants to fund the thousands of small not-for-profits that do good every day. The combined effect of these foundations replaces what government does in many other states.
  • Volunteer trustees and directors: Citizens throughout the state serve as directors and trustees of charitable organizations, large and small, without pay and often without notice, to be sure services are provided to our vulnerable citizens or cultural or educational resources are available. In the case of small organizations, these people also do the fundraising, run events, and sometimes fulfill executive roles.
  • Supporting organizations: The many not-for-profits in New Hampshire are supported by organizations that help them, especially small ones, do their work effectively. The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits is especially helpful, providing them with resources that they might not be able to afford otherwise. In the government, the Charitable Trust Unit of the Attorney General’s Office supports and as regulates charities and its underpaid and overworked staff all have worked tirelessly to support the charitable community and make sure that it operates as designed. The help they have given over the years is incalculable.

As we approach the holidays, we should be grateful for all of those for whom life is about giving, not getting!

Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He can be reached at

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