Posted on May 6, 2010
On April 15, the Fountain House Board of Directors elected a new slate of officers. Among those selected to serve in these leadership roles, Lorna Hyde Graev began her three-year term as Board Chair.
A member of our Council on Training, Education and Advocacy since 1999 and a Board Member since 2002, Lorna brings great passion and intelligence to her new role. She has been a strong advocate for Fountain House, working tirelessly to introduce her friends and acquaintances to our mission. She has taken the lead in the development and enormous growth of our biggest fundraising event, the Fountain House Symposium and Luncheon, which happens each spring. And, perhaps most strikingly, she has never shied away from discussing her own history of bi-polar disorder.
Bi-polar disorder runs in Lorna’s family; Lorna was diagnosed when she was in her forties. She was studying in London, and her genetic predisposition was triggered by the stress of a traumatic divorce and the pressures of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art history at NYU.
After the long process of finding the right treatment, Lorna began to rebuild her life. Almost simultaneously, two different people introduced her to Fountain House -her psycho-pharmacologist, Dr. Lauren Gorman, and then-Board Member Jewelle Bickford. Coincidentally, when Lorna came to tour, she learned that her cousin John Pyne was a long-time Board Member.
Lorna is outspoken about the effect that Fountain House has had on her life. She says, “I’ve never had any issues since I’ve come to Fountain House, because now I’m part of a community of people like me.”
And the contributions that she has made to our community in kind have been enormous. One of her greatest areas of impact has been in her role as Founding Chair of the Fountain House Luncheon and Symposium. Lorna and Luncheon Program Chair, Lynn Nicholas, established this annual event eight years ago.
In the short time since, the Symposium has become the premier mental health forum in New York City. Attendance regularly hovers around 600 and proceeds are close to $1 million. The Luncheon has brought together some of the most important psychiatrist/researchers in the country and honored luminary mental health advocates, such as Congressman Patrick Kennedy and CBS correspondent Mike Wallace and his wife Mary. It has introduced Fountain House, our mission and our members, to thousands.
Lorna is excited about the opportunity to shape the vision of this organization that she loves, and she has already identified some priorities for her tenure as Board Chair. Lorna is committed to getting the Wellness Center up and running; she favors programming that addresses the health of the whole person – body, mind, and soul. Lorna would also like to see our advocacy effort expand, so that Fountain House has a greater influence on mental health policy decisions at the city, state, and national levels.
William B. Brannan was elected to serve as Vice Chair. A former partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Bill brings a keen financial sensibility and strong knowledge of corporate governance to the position. He has served on the Board since 1999. Bill is also Chair of the Fountain House Housing Corporations and the Housing Committee and Co-Chair of the Audit Committee.
Betsy Seidman was elected Secretary. A Board member since 1992, Betsy has served as Chair of the Council on Training, Education, and Advocacy and is currently the driving force behind Fountain Gallery’s Celebration of Life Benefit. Her dynamic personality and political acumen has helped introduce Fountain House to many new friends.