Donors Launch $1.5 Million Hilton Challenge Campaign

Posted on November 19, 2014

Moved by Fountain House’s mission and impact and by the significance of the Hilton Prize, Jerre and Mary Joy Stead led a $1.5 million Hilton Challenge Campaign.  They are well-suited to lead the effort.  Following the death of Jerre’s mother due to Alzheimer’s, their philanthropic giving pioneered the development of Alzheimer’s care centers nationwide and has funded neuro-scientific research to prevent and treat the disease.  Extending their focus to mental health conditions, Jerre and Mary Joy hope to ensure Fountain House has the resources needed to accomplish several exciting initiatives. 

The first involves a partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health to study the early mortality of people living with mental illness. Read more about this collaboration.

Another new initiative supported by the Hilton Challenge Campaign involves the expansion of the Fountain House Institute.  The Institute will serve as a focal point for leadership development, education, research, advocacy and coalition building to meet the need for expansion of community mental health systems to serve people with mental health conditions.

While Fountain House standards and training infrastructure are in place, much more can be done to broaden international networks of support, identify sustainable funding streams and create stronger public-private coalitions dedicated to creating clubhouses. 

The Fountain House Institute will educate governments and health care agencies about the recovery model, conduct international symposia and conferences, and advocate with WHO, U.N. officials, mental health agencies, governments and corporations to ensure that mental health remains a core focus of all global health initiatives.

At a reception prior to the Hilton Prize ceremony, the Steads were joined by thirty guests, including Fountain House Board members and supporters. Jerre shared their enthusiasm for Fountain House and the proposed new initiatives. In his remarks, he spoke movingly about his cousin who had died by suicide due to mental illness.  He mentioned the work they are doing with Glenn Close and Bring Change 2 Mind, the national anti-stigma campaign Fountain House co-founded.  Finally, he discussed the four principles that inform their philanthropic strategy for investing in innovative and effective programs, such as Fountain House:

  • You always say, “Yes” to the idea of the impossible.
  • You give up things you are comfortable with.
  • You stand up to be counted.
  • You honor those who put their gifts of love however small alongside yours.  

We are incredibly grateful to Jerre and May Joy Stead for their generous support and kindness.

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