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Helping young adults reach their full potential

Ashli Stempel-Rae

Posted on November 07, 2022

Ashli Stempel is a communications consultant for MassMutual.

Spending much of his young adult life training as a boxer, John Navien, a MassMutual financial professional working in the Boston area, learned many important life lessons through sports. So, in 2017 when he was introduced to The BASE and its mission to leverage sports to empower Boston’s urban youth to achieve their full potential, he knew he had to be a part of the organization.

He quickly became event co-host of its 2017 Gala, and since then he has led countless community-based events, started a new community support network, and helped raise more than $1 million in donations.

Now, Navien’s volunteer service has earned the organization a $25,000 grant from the MassMutual Foundation as part of the 2022 Community Service Awards (CSA) program.

Tapping into the power of community

During the last four years, Navien’s tireless efforts have not only supported The BASE financially, but also connected dozens of other community leaders to its mission.

From helping to provide 250 meals for Boston families over the holidays, to leveraging his own network to bring financial support to The BASE, Navien has increased The BASE’s visibility and shared its mission and vision in a way that excites his peers and friends to get involved.

“As a dedicated and committed partner, John has proven time and time again that he is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that The BASE and its student athletes continue to have opportunities for success,” said Cassidy Priester, director of corporate partnerships for The BASE. “John is a model for what every professional can aspire to be in our community.”

Reaching new heights through sport

The BASE leverages the power of youth sports to immerse young people in a culture of hard work and success. Offering baseball, softball, basketball, and now esports, The BASE engages 1,500 young men and women ages 6–19 from Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods in rigorous, competitive sports that build critical leadership, teamwork, and confidence skills. The BASE also offers academic support, career resources, and health and wellness programs.

Through team sports, staff and coaches focus on individual responsibility and excellence, combined with teamwork and shared accountability, to impart lessons and values that provide young people a blueprint for personal growth.

Grant to fund new programming

The BASE continues to expand and deepen programming each year and has never denied a student from joining. The $25,000 grant from the MassMutual Foundation will help ensure that it can offer more programming and new opportunities to more young adults.

Each year, the MassMutual Foundation awards grants — ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 — to help nonprofit organizations with which MassMutual financial professionals are involved. You can read more about the program here.

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