LEOMINSTER — Fidelity Bank recently awarded a $50,000 challenge grant to the SHINE Initiative, a nonprofit organization that fights mental illness and promotes mental health among young people in Massachusetts.
The bank’s board of directors made the challenge grant contingent on SHINE meeting its goal of raising $100,000 at its 10th anniversary gala in October. The event raised $130,000.
“SHINE and our employee volunteers did a fabulous job, and our directors were delighted to award the challenge grant,” said Ed Manzi Jr., the bank’s chairman and chief executive officer.
The gala featured former Congressman Patrick Kennedy as keynote speaker. Kennedy is co-founder of One Mind for Research, a national coalition seeking new treatments and cures for neurologic and psychiatric diseases afflicting one in every three Americans.
“The total $180,000 raised more than triples what we’ve raised at our previous seven annual fundraisers, and the attendance was twice as large,” SHINE Initiative Executive Director Paul Richard said.
Some 500 attended, making it the largest non-concert event at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall in 2014 to date.
“We’ve now raised more than $1 million for mental health since the bank’s directors and employees started the SHINE Initiative 10 years ago. We owe Fidelity Bank every ounce of gratitude for this grant and for their deep ongoing commitment,” Richard said.
The new funding will allow SHINE to hire a new youth development coordinator, who will start in January.
“We’ll reach more people,” he said. “We’re getting inquiries from more schools, colleges and health centers, in Central Massachusetts, statewide and beyond. We’ll expand our reach, increase our visibility and share lifesaving information with more young people and adults who work with them.”
For a powerful 14-minute video see http://www.shineinitiative.org/?page_id=18.
More information about SHINE at www.shineinitiative.org.