2023 Gini and Lou Bantle Spirit of Hope Honorees


John Bassler has been a dedicated member of the Liberation Programs Board of Directors since he joined in 2012 having served on nearly every committee. John spent 9 years as the Chair of the Fund Development Committee and is currently Co-Vice Chair of the Board. An avid supporter of Liberation Programs' mission, John has been dedicated to introducing his community to us, even opening up his home for the use of a cultivation event. Active in the community, John was a long-standing Church Council member at the First Congregational Church in Darien. He was instrumental in developing the relationship between First Congregational Church of Darien and Liberation Programs. John and his wife, Sally, have been volunteers with the church's game nights held at Lib House and an advocate for his fellow church members to volunteer with us for game nights and supporting Spirit of Hope. He is retired from his role as Managing Director of Korn/Ferry International's New York office. John has a BA in Economics from Brown University and an MBA from George Washington University. He has also served as an officer in the US Navy. 



First Congregational Church of Darien (FCCD) is an extraordinary friend of not just Liberation Programs but many non-profits throughout our community. In any given year, FCCD supports us through generous program grants, in kind donations for our Recoverees, and holding various fundraisers to support our work. The congregation and staff are individuals who care about improving quality of life for their neighbors in need and are especially committed to providing support for those with substance use disorders as they host AA groups daily at the church. Perhaps most impactful is FCCD's volunteerism with Liberation Programs. In addition to one-time projects like painting at our facilities, FCCD is committed to regular volunteering by hosting a monthly game night at Lib House. One Friday evening each month, members of the congregation come to Lib House with delicious desserts and tons of board and card games. They spend the evening playing games and building community with the Recoverees and staff at our Men's Residential Program. These evenings are so meaningful as they bring a sense of comradery, support, and lots of laughs to all who participate.