I would like to announce that I will retire later this year as President of Fountain House. Our Board of Directors has retained an executive search firm to find our next CEO/President. I will, of course, remain in my role until that successor is identified and work with Fountain House's new leader to ensure a smooth transition.
Since the beginning of my tenure in 1992, I endeavored to position Fountain House as a solution to the crisis of serious mental illness – not just in New York - but in the world. During my time as President, I am proud of the numerous awards and acknowledgements Fountain House has received, including the prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize. This recognition is not a response to what I have done alone, but to the vibrant community we – staff, members and supporters – have built side by side.
Photo: Presentation of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2014 (L-R) Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Kenneth J Dudek, President of Fountain House; and Steven M. Hilton, Chairman, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
I have chosen this moment to retire because Fountain House is in a good place – with a fantastic set of members and staff. As the organization looks to the future and contemplates an array of new initiatives and opportunities, it is the right time for me to step down and allow a new person to lead the next phase.
It has been a true privilege, an honor and – yes, at times – a challenge to work with members who, every day, prove they are more than a diagnosis; with staff; and with our Board of Directors. I have also been deeply heartened by the unwavering support of so many individuals whose generosity has made Fountain House the world’s leading community mental health model.
I will forever cherish the community we have built together at Fountain House.
Photo: Members and staff pictured with Kenn in the Fountain House garden during the 1990s
With gratitude and respect,
Kenneth J. Dudek
A Message from the Fountain House Board of Directors
Through 27 years of service, Kenneth Dudek created and implemented a strategic vision that has positioned Fountain House as a leader in the global search for cost-effective, humane and successful solutions to serious mental illness. He is recognized throughout the United States as an expert on recovery from serious mental illness.
During his presidency, Kenn never lost touch with his roots as a social worker, and he established deep relationships of confidence and comradery with Fountain House members.
Kenn is held in high regard as a dedicated, tireless leader by the Fountain House Board, staff and members, and within the larger sphere of programs based on the Fountain House model worldwide. The Board expresses our great appreciation for Kenn’s commitment to and passion for our mission. He is leaving Fountain House in a position of strong future opportunity and financial stability.
Celebrating Kenn’s Legacy of Innovation
Photo: (L) Kenn with Fountain House Gallery members and staff at the opening of the Fountain House Gallery Studio in 2017. (R) Kenn with Jane Pauley at Fountain House Mad About Art Auction and Benefit in 2018.
During Kenn’s tenure, Fountain House’s employment, education, housing and wellness programs have undergone tremendous growth and innovation. In response to the evolving needs of members during their lifetimes, Kenn pioneered Fountain House Gallery (2000) and Fountain House Studio (2017), Social Enterprises (2013) and Fountain House College Re-Entry(2013) and the Silver Center (2018).
Kenn reimagined what clinical care should look like for people with serious mental illness, conceptualizing the Community System of Care which combines primary and psychiatric care with social interventions.
Committed to improving the lives of people with serious mental illness everywhere, Kenn established a transformative partnership with the World Health Organization (2014) to address the crisis of excess mortality in this population. Growing out of that partnership, emerged the idea for Fountain House’s Healthier Longer Lives for People with Serious Mental Illness international conference (2018) – the first of its kind to engage practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and philanthropists with the goal of inspiring action and investment.
Photo: Speakers at Healthier Longer Lives for People with Serious Mental Illness International Conference
Please join us in celebrating Kenn’s extraordinary commitment to Fountain House and to people with serious mental illness everywhere by contributing to: A Legacy of Innovation: A Campaign Honoring Kenneth J. Dudek. This special fund will support Fountain House’s next leader to carry on visionary and relentless innovation to improve the lives of people with serious mental illness.
We hope you will also attend this year’s 16th annual Fountain House Symposium and Luncheon which will include a tribute to Kenn’s legacy.