February 27, 2024

Helping Aspirations Become Achievements

Gifts from the Allen and Milli Gould Family Foundation Empower Patients to Achieve Their Goals

Within the Centralized Rehabilitation Resource Clinic (CRRC) at the West 5th Campus, a team of recreation therapists is hard at work, helping clients from across the Mental Health & Addictions Program with their personal growth, development and recovery goals. Depending on the client, this could mean going to the gym, taking a photography class, learning a new skill or going back to school.

“These sound like very achievable goals, but when we take a moment to consider that those living with or recovering from mental illness often face employment or financial barriers, what once seemed achievable suddenly becomes much more difficult without access to resources,” says Fiona Wilson, Program Lead of the CRRC. “That’s why we’re truly grateful for the support we’ve received from the Allen and Milli Gould Family Foundation. Their donations have established a new Client Empowerment Fund that is turning our clients’ aspirations into achievements.”

Clients and patients at St. Joe’s are encouraged to submit an empowerment grant application to outline their funding request and how it will help them on their journey to recovery. Together, the CRRC leadership team, therapeutic recreation staff and advisors review the applications and provide grants of up to $250 per client.

The Allen and Milli Gould Family Foundation supports worthy causes across the city where Milli and Allen Gould opened the doors of their iconic Main Street West fashion boutique, Milli, in 1964. The family Foundation has a fondness for supporting charities focused on helping those who have historically been underserved – whether that be women, children, or those living with mental illness.

In the summer of 2022, based on a recommendation from advisory board member and retired mental health nurse, Bryan Hardy, the family Foundation made a $20,000 donation, with $15,000 of that tally being devoted to creating a strong base for the new Client Empowerment Fund. Inspired by the early success and client feedback from their first gift, the Foundation recently topped that donation up with an additional $10,000 in the summer of 2023. The two gifts totaling $25,000 will be enough to support the recovery goals of more than 150 clients.

To date, empowerment grants have been issued for items such as athletic clothing and shoes to support a client’s physical activity plans, arts and crafts supplies for a client embracing a new hobby, tuition for an art class, and funding for a pass so that a client can access the hiking trails at a nearby conservation area to enjoy the healing power of the outdoors.

Speaking of the outdoors, did you know that exposure to nature can ease feelings of stress and anxiety? That’s why the remaining $5,000 of the Foundation’s initial grant to St. Joe’s has been allocated to creating a therapeutic sensory garden at the West 5th Campus. Natural landscaping will support multi-purpose use of the courtyard and a life-size chess and checkers board will be incorporated, too. Clients of both the inpatient and outpatient mental health and addiction programs will be able to make use of this beautiful new space opening in the spring of 2024.

This story was originally published in our 2022-23 Donor Impact Report. Click here to read the full report and discover other inspiring stories from our supporters.

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