A Lifetime of Giving and Receiving

Our mission is to provide temporary shelter and equip residents for employability to resolve poverty and obtain housing.

In the late 1980s, Dr. Roberto Canizares and late wife (also a physician),began caring for homeless persons who St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church sheltered for two-week stretches in the winter months as part of a coalition of faith communities.  In the beginning, they cleaned, washed dishes, and the like.  Later, when the Thurman Brisben Center opened year-round on its Essex Street, Dr. Canizares volunteered as a family doctor—assessing children and adults alike, making referrals, and prescribing treatments for simple maladies.  

He was one the Brisben Center’s first board members, a distinction he still holds today as Director Emeritus.  Dr. Canizares has had a front row seat to the organization’s evolution from a volunteer-run church ministry to a dynamic service provider staffed by professionals steeped in the knowledge of systemic homelessness and effective, data-driven interventions.  The Brisben Center, and especially those it serves, have been fortunate to receive his care and support.

In a reflective moment Dr. Canizares explained his philanthropy like this: When you give, you receive.  If you have money, just give.  You don’t have to give a lot.  I know that.  That’s the reason I am not rich.  Give something you think will help.  I chose the Brisben Center by accident, got hooked on it.  I know my money helps people who truly need it.  The awards I’ve received I’ve given to the homeless.  The more you give, the more you receive.

To make a financial contribution in honor of Dr. Roberto Canizares and his lifetime of service to the people of this region who need a hand up, please click the link below or call Chris Payton at 540-899-9853 ext. 118 for more information.