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Ashe Explores Starting Foundation

Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr., honored by BusinessWest as one of its Difference Makers for 2016, issued a statement to the press Tuesday announcing that he was exploring the possibility of staring a foundation to continue his life’s work.

“Like most anyone else facing retirement, I find myself contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life,” he said. “I know that despite being in my mid-70s, I still have great intensity and energy. The fire still burns in me for my life’s work of 42 years — assuring that offenders have the best possible likelihood of re-entering the community as law-abiding, productive, positive citizens, ‘giving to,’ rather than ‘taking from’ the lives of others. That life’s work would be hard for me to completely walk away from when I still feel vital and useful and passionate about its value to others.

“One of the scenarios that I’ve contemplated,” he continued, “is to continue that life’s calling in a new framework is to create a local foundation, with myself as its unpaid chief administrator, to enhance our community’s effort to successfully re-enter offenders.”

Ashe said he’s far from having an exact blueprint regarding specific ways that such a non-profit might help, and he’s not yet completely certain that starting and heading-up such a philanthropic foundation is where he can be of best service in retirement. But he did say it’s an idea worth exploring.

“Although I am not far enough along to have detailed the specifics of the structures of such a possible foundation, I would want any such foundation to be marked by simplicity and integrity.,” he explained. “One model that I would use is the local charity Griffin’s Friends, which was founded to bring moments of joy to courageous kids at Baystate Medical Center, and which minimizes administrative costs and maximizes direct service to those it seeks to help.”

Ashe said one reason he’s thinking aloud and publicly about this is to put the word out to others who might be likewise interested in founding such a new non-profit to let him know of their interest in helping to build what could be “an inspired addition to the edifice that we’ve labored so tirelessly to build during these last 42 years – a community corrections system driven by a vision of social justice, integrity and public safety.”

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