Since 2014, an organization dedicated to supporting the mental health ministry of the Shalem Mental Health Network has quietly been gaining strength. It is the Shalem Mental Health Foundation. 2018 will be the first full year that the Foundation’s new Development Director, Carol Green, will be in place to support the Foundation’s work.
What is the Shalem Mental Health Foundation?
The Shalem Foundation is a separately incorporated, separately governed, independent charitable organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Its purpose, as described in its Letters Patent, is “to receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, to Shalem Mental Health Network.”
Why is the Shalem Mental Health Foundation important?
The Foundation is important because the Shalem Mental Health Network receives no annual government funding. Yet community-based mental health work cannot be done without some form of third-party annualized funding. The Foundation is our alternative to government funding.
Many of the people we work with at the Network experience the realities of significant poverty. One third of the people who receive counselling from us are able to pay only less than $50 per Counselling session (we use a sliding scale; our “break-even” rate per session is $110). RE-create works with street-involved young people who live in extreme poverty. The same holds true for most of the people we work with in WrapAround.
The Network’s work is ministry—we experience a calling from God to walk alongside people with mental health needs in light of the Gospel. And we don’t turn anyone away because of financial need. Of course, we need to be financially wise about that. But we are committed to our calling.
Look for more activity from the Shalem Foundation beginning in 2018. The Foundation Board is excited to have Carol Green as its Development Director. Carol is an experienced fundraiser with a deep heart for mental health and the Gospel. Carol has been mandated by the Foundation Board to focus on three areas:
- Network program funding for our Counselling Assistance Fund, RE-create and WrapAround. All of these areas focus on poverty.
- The development of a Capital Fund to enable the purchase of the Network’s current Head Office premises at 875 Main Street East, Hamilton. A faithful donor purchased the building on the Network’s behalf, and the Network is in a “Lease to Own” Agreement with the donor—on very favourable terms.
- The further expansion and enhancement of the Foundation’s Endowment Fund. Interest from that Fund supports the Network’s activities. The larger the fund, the more the Network can do to fulfill its God-given mission.
Do contact Carol for more information, or for a visit. And a big thank-you to the Foundation Board of Directors for its sacrificial commitment to the mission of living out the Gospel in mental health to everyone, regardless of their financial resources.
Mark Vander Vennen, MA, M.Ed, R.S.W., is Shalem’s Executive Director