A Story of Giving

How a 13-year-old made a difference for the CHARLES W. MORGAN.
Young philanthropist Matthew Hamel and President Steve White aboard the Charles W. Morgan.
Young philanthropist Matthew Hamel and President Steve White aboard the Charles W. Morgan.

In January 2011, the Mystic Seaport Advancement office received an envelope with $8.25 and a short handwritten note that read, “To whom it may concern, this money goes to the Morgan ship. So they can fix it. It comes from my allowance. Sincerely, Matthew.”

Fast forward four years and four donations later, Matthew continues to give a portion of his allowance to support the Charles W. Morgan. This past September Matthew and his family were able to visit Mystic Seaport and get a first-hand look at the Morgan with a tour aboard from Museum President Steve White. This was the first time Steve had the opportunity to meet Matthew and his family, “I must say it was an unusual delight to have an opportunity to tour such a young donor around the Morgan and Mystic Seaport and explain the impact of his generosity. I think it is safe to say that he made stretch gifts in order to support a project that was important to him, now all of 13 years old!”

After the Hamel’s visit to the Museum, Matthew’s mother wrote with thanks, “Matthew said that the playground was still a favorite and that he liked watching the artists carving [the figureheads] the best on this trip. We stayed for a second day, during which we saw so very much and took our younger son on the ‘nautical instruments hunt’ and discovered so many fascinating new places within the Seaport. Matthew absorbs so much from a museum setting and Mystic Seaport is certainly a golden one.”

Matthew’s story is unique to Mystic Seaport and we are extremely lucky to have inspired his philanthropic interest at such a young age. After the Hamel family visit, Steve concluded, “It’s a great lesson of what family determines to be important, and just think, if there were many more Matthews in this world, museums like Mystic Seaport would never have to worry!”


On Tuesday, December 2, people around the world will come together for a common purpose: to celebrate philanthropy and to make contributions to causes and organizations they care about. Called #GivingTuesday, the event was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, the group launched a global movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.

Demonstrate your belief in the mission of Mystic Seaport by making a contribution on #GivingTuesday. Invite your friends and family to participate as well  and help ensure our continued success. Your support ensures the ongoing care of our Museum and guarantees that future generations will be inspired by their experience at Mystic Seaport.

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