The Pittsburgh Foundation

Spenser's Voice Fund

Established: 2017

Flowers_Spenser - standing against tree.jpgSpenser Flowers, an active member of the Hampton Township community, died on Jan. 1, 2017, at the age of 20, from an accidental heroin overdose. Spenser’s struggle with addiction was relatively short but ultimately deadly. Throughout his battle – with his family’s caring support – he remained kind, loving and so very, very funny. Two days before he died, he agreed to return to treatment. He spent two hours the night before he died researching facilities to identify the rehab program into which he wanted to commit. Spenser didn’t want to die – he wanted to stop using drugs and begin recovery.SpenserFlowers-lightingbolt.jpg

Spenser’s Voice Fund was established by his family members, Tina, Chris and Sam Flowers, to honor Spenser’s spirit and voice, and to support organizations and agencies working to curb the drug epidemic in young adults.

Grants made from the fund include: 

  • Hope 4, located in Irwin, Pennsylvania, is a community support center for those in recovery and their families/loved ones.  It’s a safe, healthy, non-judgmental place where those seeking recovery can get well in a community of recovery. Hope 4 offers organized peer recovery groups and support groups for families, along with a myriad of social activities – axe throwing, bowling and participation in community events (like the Greensburg holiday parade), “meet and eat” meetings, a sober New Year’s Eve party (which Spenser’s Voice is sponsoring this year), trips to restaurants and sporting events and other activities. Support sessions are offered at no cost to participants, and Hope 4 maintains a fund to pay for the social events for those who are unable to pay!  Hope 4 and Spenser’s Voice have grown up together – Hope 4 was in its infancy when we first met with them in 2017. We are so proud of this group – they have battled through COVID and continue to provide in-person, safe support for their members. The two grants awarded to Hope 4 in 2020 are being utilized for staffing, facility (Hope 4 grew its space in 2020!) and programming costs, and for the sober New Year’s Eve Celebration. 
  • Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP) is a harm reduction organization operating throughout the City of Pittsburgh.  PPP is still the only agency in the area that provides Naxolone (Narcan) and training to anyone at no cost.  PPP has recently expanded its mobile sites and continues to increase the services offered to its clients.  During the week of Halloween, PPP got nine of its clients into inpatient treatment! Spenser’s Voice awarded two grants to PPP in 2020, and this funding is being utilized to fund PPP’s transportation fund that transports clients to treatment, recovery housing, etc., outside of normal operating hours, for its Community Health Advocate program by which, in addition to the provision to our neighborhoods of health, prevention and risk reduction education, Naxolone is distributed, and for PPP’s new buprenorphine (suboxone) program services. 
  • Holy Family Institute offers many services and programs throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania in connection with its mission to empower children and families to lead responsible lives.  Through its Shores program, Holy Family provides in-home and in-school addiction recovery services throughout Allegheny and neighboring counties.  Spenser’s Voice awarded two grants to Holy Family in 2020.  These funds are being utilized to fund client incentives and materials for Shores’ recovery services to adolescents (ages 12-18) and young adults (ages 18-21). Additionally, the grant will fund bus passes, Uber/Lyft rides, gym memberships and other items aiding sobriety, such as age-appropriate games/activities, arts and crafts supplies and journals. 
  • Sage’s Army is a drug awareness/prevention organization with a primary goal of offering support, guidance, and encouragement to others who have been affected by the substance abuse epidemic. Sage’s Army operates a 24/7 Helpline, hosts grief and family support groups, provides community education, and currently is expanding its programming to offer outpatient recovery services and social activities for those in recovery. The 2020 grant from Spenser’s Voice is being utilized for staffing and Smart Recovery training for staff members. 
Previous Grants
  • Familylinks:  Grants in 2018 and 2019 to  Familylinks provided funding for materials and production of Power Forward (with Kevin Stevens) events to provide education and awareness programming regarding addiction and recovery options to local school districts, college groups, youth and adult athletic leagues and neighborhood agencies, like Boys and Girls Clubs. 
  • Gateway Rehabilitation:  A 2018 grant to Liberty Station, a 24-bed halfway house in Bridgeville for young men ages 13-23, previously operated by Gateway  Rehabilitation was used to fund staffing for adventure-based counseling and equipment and supplies for a new music therapy program.
  • Recovery United: A 2018 grant to Recovery United funded scholarships for five young men (otherwise unable to afford the fees) to live in Recovery United sober living housing for two months.
Symbol, above left:  Spenser was an avid reader and loved the Harry Potter book series. The green heart resembles the Harry Potter lightning bolt, green was his favorite color, and the heart symbolizes the continuing love of his family and friends.
 

Spenser's family has also established a scholarship fund in his honor. 

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Type of Fund

  • Advised