Since taking office, I have seen how the immense and often unexpected power of planned giving can help shape an organization’s future. For us at the Douglas Foundation, it also helps build hope for the countless people affected by mental illness each year.
I am constantly humbled by the generosity of our donors, yet some gifts in particular have had a lasting impact on my outlook on the work we do. A few years ago, the Douglas received a large bequest out of the blue—someone had named the Douglas in their will and dedicated a gift towards schizophrenia research and care, noting that their sibling had struggled with the illness their entire life.
To honor their wishes, the funds went towards schizophrenia research and PEPP-Montreal, a program for young people experiencing an untreated first episode of psychosis. This PEPP program is open to any youth that suspects they are experiencing psychosis, helping them stay on track towards adulthood with hope for full recovery. As an emerging practice in the field of mental health, this early intervention program was overjoyed to receive this level of support.
Planned gifts like this one often arrive unexpectedly—this is in fact part of their power. There are always emerging needs that have to be met, gaps in funding that have to be filled, new and important programs that can be launched, research discoveries yet to be made that need one final push, and an ever-growing number of patients that benefit from your generosity. Our donors are builders of hope, but perhaps none more so than those who leave us in their estate plans.
It is likely that each and every one of us will be affected by a mental illness in our lifetime—either directly, or because it affects someone close to us. This fact throws into sharp relief the importance of supporting mental health care and research, and the important role our donors play in our mission.
The story of this donor stayed with me because the impact of their gift continues to make a difference in the lives of our patients. By honoring their sibling who lived with schizophrenia, this donor gave today’s youth a real opportunity to manage their illness and to live their fullest life. They gave our patients a chance their sibling did not have. They have given the valuable gift of hope, which counts more than people know.
Thank you for your generosity,
President and CEO of the Douglas Foundation