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Thursday, June 30, 2022

An Expect Miracles Leader Steps Back and Up

Reported by Andrew Lusk, Associate Reporter

The founder of Expect Miracles Foundation' Samfund is stepping back from her nearly two-decade staff work in favor of a place on the Boston-based cancer charity's board.

Samantha "Sam" Watson
The Samfund
Earlier this month the Expect Miracles team released word that Sam Watson — an educator, cancer survivor, managing director of stewardship at Expect Miracles, and the founder of the Samfund — plans to move to the board of directors, effective July 1.

Watson writes to MFWire, "I am thrilled to join the Board of Directors because it will enable me to stay actively involved while also allowing me to focus more energy and time on my family, and grateful to be able to take this step knowing that our Samfund programs will continue to grow and thrive as part of Expect Miracles Foundation."

The Samfund was founded in 2003 by Watson to provide funds to young adult cancer survivors. It was absorbed into Expect Miracles in 2019. Watson joined the Expect Miracles team as managing director of stewardship at that time.

"Building The Samfund was the most gratifying thing I have ever done," Watson said in a brief video posted to LinkedIn.

Frank Heavey, executive director of Expect Miracles, writes to Watson on LinkedIn, "Sam, it is a profound honor to carry on the legacy of impact you so passionately built over the last 19 years. Thank you for your vision, your action, your generosity, your commitment."

"You have helped bring hope to countless people and families," Heavey adds. "You are a ripple effect! (and a Rock Star!!) Looking forward to the next chapter of working with you as a member of the Expect Miracles Foundation Board of Directors!! Cheers to you, Sam!!"

Watson also states in an open letter to Expect Miracles and Samfund supporters, "Creating The Samfund was, as my daughter would say, a 'happy accident.' What began as an idea for a fundraiser became a nonprofit organization when two college friends and I realized that nothing existed specifically to support young adults in their financial recovery from cancer."

"Over time, The Samfund became a community of young adult survivors, family members, and supporters, each grateful not only for the financial support but also for the love and kinship that emerged because of it," Watson continues. "Together, we cared for and understood one another, creating something far bigger, and more meaningful, than I could have ever hoped for."

"I have put my whole heart and soul into this work for more than 19 years, and watching this organization and community grow and thrive has been an honor and a privilege," writes Watson. "One of my mentors used to tell me that our goal should be to create something that would outlast us. For a long time, I never fully understood what he meant; I assumed I would always be doing this work."

She adds, "But he was right — creating something bigger than any one person should always be the goal. Our Samfund grants, and other support programs for young adult cancer survivors, will be here for as long as people need them, regardless of where I, or anyone else, sit."

During her time as CEO of the Samfund, Watson served concurrently as an adjunct lecturer for her alma mater, Brandeis University, from 2009 to 2015. Between 2002 and 2005, she was a project assistant at the Education Development Center. Watson is an alumna of Brandeis University and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. 

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