In a release dated August 22, 2019, Fountain House – one of the most replicated evidence-based models on the planet for people who live with mental illness – announced details about its upcoming Fall Fete. In year 12, the gala, which is being held at a posh, private club in Manhattan, seeks yet again to raise funds for the organization and its many successful programs and initiatives. Its Board of Directors, which includes NYC attorney Jeremy Goldstein, was responsible for putting the event together – and it is poised to be the biggest one yet.
Every year, Fountain House, which is based in NYC, holds its Fall Fete to raise money for its efforts. The event is also designed to raise awareness about mental illness and to fight against the stigma that is unfairly associated with it.
Now in its seventh decade, Fountain House has a long, prestigious history of helping mentally ill individuals to find their way in society. One of the biggest barriers that holds mentally ill people back is social isolation; by becoming members of Fountain House, these individuals join a working community through which they can find support and guidance in a wide array of areas, including housing, education, and employment.
The organization employs its powerful community connections to reach its objectives. A great example can be found in its Board of Directors, which assembles as the Associates Committee to put together the annual Fall Fete for Fountain House. This distinguished board includes many prominent businesspeople. Since 2010, Jeremy Goldstein, the well-known NYC lawyer, has served as a member of the board and therefore played a key role in putting together the 12th annual Fall Fete.
What to Know About This Year’s Fall Fete
The 2019 Fountain House Fall Fete is pulling out all of the stops to raise as much money and awareness as possible in support of its efforts. This year, the event is being held at the Racquet and Tennis Club, which is located at Park Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan.
Funds are raised at the event through the sale of tickets that range significantly in price. Individual tickets, such as those for people who are age 30 and under, cost as little as $300 – but they are limited in supply. Tickets for various benefactors’ tables, which seat 10 people each, range in price from $6,000 to $15,000.
For the 2019 event, Fountain House is honoring the musician and activist Moby. When he burst onto the music scene with his debut record, "go," the artist quickly became recognized for his talent. However, he quickly also became an activist – and helping mental health organizations has long been his passion. In May, he published his book "Then It Fell Apart," in which he discusses his struggles with mental illness and even a suicide attempt that he once made.
Things to Know About Fountain House and its Efforts
Founded back in the 1940s, Fountain House has long been an innovator in the world of raising awareness about mental illness and in guiding and assisting mentally ill individuals to become functioning members of society. Rather than focus on what isn’t working, the organization’s programs teach individuals to focus on their strengths. The strong community bonds that the organization forges help to fight back against the social isolation that mentally ill people often endure – and that often makes their lives all the more difficult.
Originally called We Are Not Alone, Fountain House’s roots stretch back to 1944 and the gathering of six former patients of a mental health hospital in Orangeburg, NY. In hopes of fighting the isolation that often exacerbates mentally ill individuals’ problems, the group sought to show others that they were far from alone with their troubles. In 1948, the group purchased a building in NYC to serve as its "clubhouse." Because it boasted a garden with a fountain, the building became known as Fountain House – and that is how the organization ultimately got its name.
In the decades since its founding, Fountain House has worked tirelessly to help individuals who suffer from mental illness. This type of work is direly needed in today’s world. WHO, the World Health Organization, reports that there are more than 450 million people across the world who suffer from serious mental illnesses. These individuals typically struggle to hold onto jobs; to complete their educations; to maintain relationships; to manage their finances; and to otherwise take care of themselves and their interests. Organizations like Fountain House strive to combat these issues by helping individuals to realize their actual potential as friends, partners, students, coworkers and across many other roles.
Fountain House’s Working Community Concept
Since its inception, Fountain House has sought to help the mentally ill by bringing them into its working community. Members, as individuals who join Fountain House are known, are able to work in one of seven different areas, including education; horticulture; wellness; culinary; communications; reception and membership; and research.
Some of the areas in which Fountain House helps its members include the following:
Housing – Around 44 percent of the more than 57,000 homeless people who reside in NYC suffer from serious mental illnesses. Without question, mental illness is a huge risk factor in becoming homeless. Members of Fountain House fare much better; an incredible 99 percent of members have adequate housing despite their mental illnesses.
Young Adults – Fountain House makes special efforts to assist young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 who suffer from serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. For example, its College Re-Entry program assists college students who are academically engaged but have dropped out of college because of mental illness in returning to school and attaining their educational goals.
Education – The organization operates the largest and most successful supported education program in the country. While only 30 percent of the general population of mentally ill individuals obtain degrees, a full 77 percent of members of Fountain House are able to do so.
High Point Farm – High Point Farm, which is found in Montague, NJ, is owned and operated by Fountain House. More than 2 acres of its more than 5 acres of land are dedicated to the cultivation of various fruits and vegetables. These plants are cultivated by members of Fountain House, so the work provides them with a sense of purpose and an income.
Hospitalization – Mentally ill individuals are often held back in life not just from their illnesses but from continual hospitalizations. Even when strides are made on their own, re-hospitalizations often come along to hold these individuals back. Only 10 percent of members end up re-hospitalized while more than 50 percent of mentally ill individuals do so.
Health and Wellness – In its efforts to guide mentally ill individuals toward healthier lifestyles, Fountain House serves more than 40,000 healthy meals per year to its members. The organization also holds special classes and groups that focus on topics like healthy living and fitness. In this way, individuals emerge with a better understanding of how to properly care for themselves and their health.
Employment – In conjunction with more than 40 companies throughout metro NYC, Fountain House strives to reduce unemployment among mentally ill individuals. While the general population of mentally ill people has an unemployment rate of around 85 percent, those who participate in the organization’s Employment Program boast an employment rate of 42 percent. Collectively, these individuals earn more than $2 million per year.
Jeremy Goldstein: A Prominent Member of the Fountain House Board of Directors
As part of Fountain House’s Board of Directors, Jeremy Goldstein also serves on its Associates Committee, which is responsible for planning the annual Fall Fete. The well-regarded New York City attorney has served on the board since 2010, so he has undoubtedly made a huge and positive mark on the organization’s efforts.
Goldstein brings many unique traits and talents to the table for Fountain House. In terms of education, he earned a J.D. degree from the New York University and School of Law. He also earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Cornell University. These educational attainments allowed him to serve as a partner of a major NYC law firm for many years. Now, he heads his own law firm that works with management teams, compensation committees and CEOs of corporations to assist in matters regarding compensation and corporate governance.
During his legal career, Goldstein has been involved in many major corporate transactions. In addition to IBM's acquisition of Truven Health Analytics, he was involved with corporate transactions involving Goldman Sachs and Kinder Morgan, Inc.; Chevron Texaco Corp. and Unocol Corp.; and Bank One Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase.
In addition to serving on the Fountain House Board of Directors, Jeremy Goldstein is a well-known speaker and author on issues like executive compensation issues and corporate governance. He also chairs the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee of the Executive Compensation Committee of the American Bar Association Business Section. Listed in Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Legal 500, Goldstein brings a lot to the table for Fountain House. His work on the Associates Committee is certain to result in a very successful Fall Fete for 2019.