About Samaritan

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Product, microfinance, & social service wizards walking with the least of these

Between people who've been homeless, social workers, designers, developers, and experts in medicaid & emergency healthcare, we created samaritan…

Team & Values

CEO & Founder

Jonathan
Kumar

Born to immigrant parents in poverty, Jonathan and his family quickly learned the value and need for community. Receiving an opportunity to study at the University of Michigan, Jonathan earned a degree in Informatics, specializing in UX design. After producing a documentary on social change, Jonathan developed a tool for restaurants to convert surplus food into funding for local food banks called FoodCircles. From there he helped create Samaritan, with the goal to give people without a home the social and financial support needed to leave the street.

Everyone needs a team, rich or poor. When you put a social home around someone, we find that the physical home often follows soon after.

COO & Co-Founder

Jessica
McCoy

Jessica is a Chicago Booth MBA grad who has spent her whole career in nonprofits and social enterprises. Her previous work in capital-scarce environments (in the Peace Corps and as a consultant for a small farm in Africa) ignited her passion for connecting people to the financial resources they need to succeed in life.

Brand value
1
We are…

Community
-first

We believe the most common cause of homelessness is lack of social capital, and that providing it—providing neighbors—is a vital step on the road back to housing.

Product Owner

Chris
Sun

Believing in Samaritan’s ability to inspire hope and enable change for unhoused communities, Chris joined Samaritan to help overworked and underpaid nonprofits accelerate outcomes of their work. During Seattle’s first pilot, Chris led nonprofits to deploy Samaritan for over 500 unhoused individuals & families. Given his hands-on and deeply-relational work with the unhoused community, there was no better candidate to take over Product Ownership from Jonathan in 2019.

Brand value
2
We exude…

Humility

We come in understated, and let words & actions speak for themselves. We are to be less. Our partners (especially Samaritan Members) are to be more.

CTO

René
García

René is an award-winning engineer and a TDD evangelist with over 10 years of code in his blood. He was part of the 2015 class of the Int2 Scholarships granted by the USA Embassy in El Salvador which allowed him to work in Seattle. He met Jonathan at a hackathon and, after winning the thing, decided to join him in starting Samaritan.

To be old and wise, you need to be young and stupid.

Brand value
3
We exude…

Poverty-in
-spirit

When we realize we are born in the same image and are all in need, we partner with people instead of pitying them.

Growth Lead

Ashish
Pamula

Ashish helps lead Samaritan’s efforts to reach more people on the street by spearheading partnerships with incredible grassroots organizations. Raised in the Inland Empire and solidified by Hyderabadi roots, disrupting complacency became the common tongue. After learning about Samaritan on a podcast, Ashish jumped at the opportunity to join the team and reduce the days a person spends without a home.

The best feeling is to take others with you… to share the light that you create & the light that you attract. — Sarah Spain

Sr. Backend Engineer

Danny
Sperry

Danny has witnessed the life-changing power of encouragement, charity, and determination. Raised by a father that showed him the value of taking time out of your day to help another. Danny passionately reached out to Samaritan in 2018 and helped the team scale the technology to more cities. He is dedicated to helping build a service that serves people in need and those that support them.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments. One person can change the world by giving people hope.” — Admiral William H. McRaven

Lead iOS Engineer

Arrido
Arfiadi

Arrido believes in tech for good and that it should be inclusive, equitable and accessible to everyone. He found love in the work and impact the company is making, and decided to join the team full-time after completing his hackership. Outside of work, you can find Arrido watching Friends while eating fries.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. — Steve Jobs

Brand value
4
We are…

Hope-oriented

Over time, acts of kindness help people rebuild hope and gain capacity to move forward. We can’t shelter everyone today, but we'll provide social & financial support for them to find homes soon.

Design Lead

Isa
Paavola

When it comes to the field of design, Isa has pretty much seen and done it all throughout their 11 years in the industry. From working for top-notch agencies, to partnering with scrappy startups (including Jonathan's first venture, FoodCircles), to managing their own projects for an incredibly diverse freelance clientelle… Isa started out as a visual specialist with a strong creative design background, but grew into sharp front-end development skills (used to build this site), UX chops, and a love for interactive animation & prototyping.

So many people are insurmountably disadvantaged and underprivileged in this society that's ingrained the instinct to blame them for that in us… Let's be honest with ourselves, and do better.

Brand value
5
We are…

Joyful

We seek and uphold joy throughout all facets of our work, as well as in every individual we have the opportunity to serve.

UI/UX Designer

Jessica
Huffman

Born and raised in Seattle, Jessica was eager to join Samaritan in the early stages of the Seattle Pilot and help the team in their mission to connect individuals in need with people who want to help. Though primarily a designer, Jessica’s work with Samaritan has often spanned beyond design projects – including her “big acting debut” in a Samaritan marketing video. Regardless of the project, Jessica is a constant advocate for those that Samaritan has set out to serve and keeps Samaritan Members, and the Samaritan community supporting them, at the center of her work.

Advisory
Board
Venture Partner,
Stand Together

Brian Howe

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Venture Partner,
NextGen Ventures

Dr. Tanya Stewart

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Managing Director,
Techstars UnitedHealthcare

Dr. Matt Miller

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VP, SAIC; Investor,
Cartmell Ventures

Emma Cartmell

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Founder,
Riverside Health (acq’d)

James Davis

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Medicaid EVP,
UnitedHealthcare

Jenny Ismert

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CEO,
Viewpoint (NIH Mentor)

Dr. Mike Schultz

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Managing Partner,
Structure Capital SF

Jillian Manus

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CEO,
TriggrHealth (acq’d)

John Haskell

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CEO,
MD Insider (acq’d)

Eric Wilson

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ER Physician,
30+ yrs experience

Dr. Fred Dennis

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VP of Innovation,
Anthem

Omid Toloui

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In October of 2015, founder
Jonathan Kumar stood on a street
corner in downtown Seattle…

He watched a man beg for 20 minutes as not a single car opened a window for him. The man, Edward, stood there painfully, seeking diabetes medication for his feet after recently ending up on the street.

As person after person passed the man by, Jonathan eventually approached him and had a conversation with him. It was then that Jonathan realized this man was experiencing not just financial poverty, but a profound sense of relational poverty.

Many urban citygoers continually confront homelessness, but are caught without time, cash, or wherewithal on if cash will help. “I want to help. I’m unsure how.” These and other barriers lead to the easiest response: do nothing. And so, individuals without a home are told 100s of times an hour that they don’t exist.

Samaritan exists to link these individuals to the social and financial capital needed to meet housing and health goals. In parallel, their stories will truly change the lives of their neighbors passing by them on a daily basis.

Samaritan doesn’t own any apartment buildings or shelters. But if Samaritan can’t guarantee everyone a physical house yet, it’ll begin by providing anyone a social home. It’s not about “changing the world”; it’s about changing someone’s world, right now. And that’s a start.

Contact Us
*

Jeff Lilley
former CEO, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission
The number one question I'm asked, is " Jeff, how do I respond when asked for help on the street? Samaritan is an answer to that question.
Nicole S.
now-housed Samaritan Member
This is the first time in seven years people have seen me for who I am, not what I look like or come from.
Raven R.
Samaritan Member
I've been on the streets for 13 years. I've seen and heard everything. This probably has helped me more than anything else.
Laura L.
now-housed Samaritan Member
Sometimes, you can feel really invisible and it can kind of feel al lot of times like there's no help out there. It was just nice to have people be like "Yea, we really want to help."