“We heard loudly and clearly from the community that they wanted to see Canadian Mental Health Association-Windsor-Essex County Branch in the community more,” said CEO Claudia den Boer in a news release.
The fundraising success was officially announced Thursday evening at an event at Spago Trattoria and Pizzeria on Cabana Road.
The Sole Focus Project launched in February 2017 to raise awareness about mental health and funds to support mental health awareness, education and training, areas not fully funded by the government.
“The resounding support that we have received from our Sole Focus Project strategic partners, donors, ambassadors and the general public has been overwhelming and demonstrates unequivocally that mental health is breaking the stigma barrier,” said den Boer.
“CMHA-WECB is proud to be a lead provider of mental health services, and to be able to expand these services to the Windsor-Essex community because of the success of the Sole Focus Project.”
The monies raised will start an endowment fund to provide sustainability to the mental health education and training initiatives.
Among the largest donors were the Solcz family.
“The Solcz Family Foundation is proud to support the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Sole Focus Project,” said Kyrsten Solcz.
“The Solcz Family Foundation was established with a mandate to support projects and programs in social services for children and youth in the Windsor-Essex Community. Supporting the Sole Focus Project was an easy decision for the Foundation, as a major piece of improving the welfare of children and youth in our community encompasses mental wellness education, awareness, and training — which is at the forefront of the Sole Focus Project.”
Despite reaching its goal in just one year, the CMHA will continue raising money with goals of $500,000 for both 2018 and 2019.
Additional money will be set aside to support the bereavement program, which includes supportive grief counselling to children and adults who have lost a loved one.
On average, 2,300 people annually seek treatment or other services from the local CMHA. The Sole Focus Project aims to help local residents feel safe about seeking help, and to ensure they receive adequate care when they do.
Local partners include the Windsor Police Service, Unifor Local 444, the Windsor Star and the Windsor Spitfires.
The campaign included members of various partner organizations in promotional materials that focused on the soles of their shoes with the slogan “Show Your Sole” and there was also a #ShowYourSole social media campaign.
According to the CMHA, this is about saving lives — 11 people die by suicide every day in Canada, and another 210 attempt it.
Chris Thompson, Windsor Star