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Pam Manikas Washek

Pam Manikas Washek was the founder of Neighbor Brigade and tireless champion for families in crisis. Pam lost her battle with cancer in 2012, but her legacy lives on through the mission and services of our organization. We celebrate her memory in all we do. 

Woman making a heart with her hands

Family Reflection Video

After suffering her first bout with cancer in 2002, Pam Washek turned pain into purpose by helping others experiencing similar crises. She and fellow cancer survivor Jean Seiden established the Wayland Angels to “pay forward” the acts of kindness they received during their cancer treatments. In 2010, Pam transitioned Wayland Angels into Neighbor Brigade. Click "Watch Now" to learn more in the video tribute by the Washek Family. 


At Neighbor Brigade we value and respect our employees, volunteers, clients and supporters regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, education or ability. We value diversity, equity and inclusion and strive to make it part of our daily work and not just as an initiative. We are committed to doing better every day by making sure that all voices are heard.

Neighbor Brigade is committed to not only offering services that are inclusive to all of our diverse neighbors throughout our chapter communities but to also work towards closing the gap in equitable access to health and crisis resources which can be a key factor in one’s health outcome.


In the pursuit of this, we want to spend time in this upcoming year deepening the capacity of Neighbor Brigade’s Staff, Board and Chapter Leader Volunteers to foster a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable lens on how we approach the work with each other and within our communities.   We recognize that we have work to do in this area in all facets of our organization including our current structures and practices.


  • See diversity, equity, and inclusion as connected to our mission and critical to ensuring the well-being of our staff and the communities we serve. 

  • Acknowledge and strive to dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and continually update and report organization progress.

  • Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness. 

  • Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities, in particular health inequities, impact our organization’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.

  • Help to challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader at our organization, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership.

  • Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions.

  • Commit time and financial resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, committee, and advisory bodies.

  • Lead with respect and acceptance. We expect all employees to embrace this notion and to express it in workplace interactions and through everyday practices.


The first phase of this work will be to focus on how we, most especially our Chapter Leaders, engage with our clients both through outreach initiatives and provided services.  We recognize that Staff and Chapter Leaders are the gatekeepers to access of Neighbor Brigade’s free services and are the ones responsible for assuring clients’ needs are met and that all community members are aware of Neighbor Brigade’s services.  Sensitivity and awareness towards both our own internal bias as well as relevant accommodations needed based on culture, race, language, gender identification, cognitive and physical abilities, age and religion are all factors that are critical to understand in order to meet the needs of community members.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas on how we continue our work in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion at Neighbor Brigade and encourage you to email us at

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