“His compassion and generosity are greatly appreciated. Personally I think we could use a lot more Ryan Skinners in the world.”
— Sandy Allen - Family Childcare System
the Ryan fund
Dedicated to raising money for children who have been orphaned by parents who lost their struggle with addictions, veterans who are battling those destructive demons and the homeless, The Ryan Fund is one of the ways I have chosen to make good on my second chance at life. I was blessed with this in recovery after struggling for years with multiple addictions. The Ryan Fund is an extension of my mission to be of service, and to show people that despite the great odds, there is always hope.
When I think about how the idea for The Ryan Fund became an essential part of my life, several powerful images come to mind. When I was younger, I would drive down the highway into Boston and see a billboard with a picture of a beat up station wagon and the caption, “Apartment that Sleeps a Family of Six.” It was a wakeup call to the homelessness and poverty that I had been blind to. I’ve always been a spiritual person, so I would pray to God to help me find a way to make a difference in the lives of people who lacked what I took for granted. At one point during my downward spiral of addiction, I lost my house to foreclosure and began waking up in sketchy places. This helped me understand their plight in ways I hoped I would never have to. When I entered the recovery phase, one of my goals was to give back and be a blessing to others. I began talking to addicts and those in recovery and donated extensively to numerous charities.
But there was still something more I knew I could do. The trigger to starting my own organization, The Ryan Fund, happened May 1, 2015, when I saw in the Boston Herald a photo of a 10 year old girl who had been orphaned by her parents, who died of overdoses just two weeks apart. I was immediately motivated to act. I reached out and contacted the organization that was in charge of placing her or finding her a home. I inquired about adopting her. Because of my background of addictions, they wouldn’t let me apply. But I still wanted to give this girl and others like her a better life. That was the start of The Ryan Fund, but I have since expanded its outreach to help veterans and the homeless as well. These are our heroes who fought for our freedom and the system is letting so many of them down. They descend into addiction to help them cope with their problems and then get on a downward spiral into full blown addiction. They need our help. The homeless need our help as well. I’m honored now to have the opportunity to contribute to helping them find their way out of the darkness.
I just want to do something for these kids, veterans and the homeless – and look forward to working with The Ryan Fund to serve as many of them as possible. Working in the financial service for many years has well prepared me for the journey and challenges that lie ahead.
My name is Ryan Skinner, and as a recovering addict, I am living proof that survival from the darkness and downward spiral is possible. I have been given several great gifts that many people never get and which I will never take for granted: a second chance at life and along with that, a humbling opportunity to pay my reversal of fortune forward and help others struggling with the disease of addiction. It may sound ironic to be grateful to have gone through something so terrible, but I thank God now that can help people who are going through the nightmare. I am able to do this as a sponsor to younger recovering addicts, and by sharing my personal story with people from all walks of life. I speak regularly to high school students and to people enrolled in a drug program at the Middlesex House of Corrections. I focus these talks on making changes and turning adversity into something positive. Doing this, I have learned that the true measure of success is found in how many people you bless.
Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents he’s given me. In my business life, I seek to provide service to my clients at Summit Financial Partners at the highest level, so that I may add true value to their lives. I want to bring this kind of value to others in my personal life as well. I feel my story allows me to operate on a whole new level in many aspects of my life now. I believe that everyone has a purpose but few are fully able to tap into their true potential. My experiences gave me a purpose and a strong connection with divinity and to my fellow human beings as I live to be in their service. Making a positive impact on people’s lives, to the best of my ability is what drives me every day. If I can help save one more addict, and help spare one more family of the heartache addiction brings, I feel like everything I have been through was worth it.