Fountain House Wins the Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Betty Eastland, by Ashley Womble

On the evening of Monday, October 27th, at a very elegant ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria, Fountain House was honored with the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million.

Previous Hilton Prize winners, international dignitaries, and leaders from the humanitarian and human rights fields were present for the event. President Kenn Dudek, member Betty Eastland and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark spoke at the event.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation gives the annual award, the world's largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering. Fountain House and Clubhouse International were selected for the 2014 Prize by a prestigious independent international jury. The Hilton Foundation called us a “pioneering organization that has created a proven model to help those suffering from mental illness reclaim their lives and realize their potential through work and the support of a caring community.”

Chairman, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Steven M. Hilton noted the significance of giving the Prize to mental health organization. “The mental health crisis in this country and globally can no longer be overlooked. It is a virtual epidemic when one out of four families includes a member with mental illness. We hope the Prize will spotlight the work of this organization and lead to more clubhouses in the U.S. and the world, providing opportunity and hope for more and more individuals and families,” he said.

Kenn Dudek Kenn Dudek


He presented the award to President Kenn Dudek who accepted on behalf of Fountain House and Clubhouse International. "We accept this award on behalf of the brave and dedicated team of men and women who strive determinedly to make our clubhouses a sanctuary where people living with mental illness can learn to be empowered and thrive. We are grateful to the Hilton Foundation and its panel of international jurors who, through this award, acknowledge that the Fountain House and Clubhouse International model works and that people living with mental illnesses can lead meaningful lives,” he said. Read his entire speech here.

Betty Eastland Betty Eastland

Member Betty Eastland moved the audience to tears as she spoke about what it’s like to be a member of Fountain House. "I have committed to the Fountain House model and it has saved me," she said. Read Betty's speech here.

Betty later stated that the only thing she didn’t like about the event was that every Fountain House member wasn’t able to attend. After all, we won this award together.

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