I was first introduced to The Brain Foundation through Dotti McKee, who is a Member of the Board. Dotti and I have been close friends ever since we first met back in 2000. Over the years, I have been an enthusiastic and avid supporter of this remarkable nonprofit, all-volunteer organization. The Brain Foundation serves so many with empathy, kindness, and compassion and provides safe, affordable, and comfortable housing for those in need. It truly is a righteously wonderful and worthwhile organization and it really does work!
When my son was 22, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As a result of this life-changing experience, I joined the The Brain Foundation which houses people with brain diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. We are an all-volunteer organization, and have just completed our ninth house. 36 adults now have a safe and affordable place to live. My son has lived in a group home for ten years and has not been in a hospital or jail or shelter since he moved in. This model works! Thank You to The Brain Foundation.
The Brain Foundation is an amazing organization. It currently provides 28 individuals with absolutely needed housing. Fairfax County has an incredible amount of the need, and the Brain Foundation makes a substantial contribution to helping in this area. It operates efficiently, with great sympathy and humanity.
I have contributed financially to The Brain Foundation since it began. The idea of keeping mentally ill people in comfortable homes with affordable rent expenses is so much better than their being in jail or living on the streets. I have been a volunteer for over three and a half years. One story from a tenant was that her father who was in his seventies had to keep working so he could provide for her needs. She is now independant in one of our homes. It was a success story for both of them. With the purchase or our seventh house we will be able to house four more individuals in the next month. That will make our total of residents 28. The Brain Foundation board is totally volunteer. We are not paid for our time spent participating. I am proud to be part of such a talented group of professionals.
The Brain Foundation currently has five houses available to adults suffering with mental illness. Each house must be located within walking distance of a shopping area and located on a public transportation line as many of the residents do not own vehicles or drive. Each house has either all male or all female residents. Professional councilors are available to the residents to assist with any problems that the residents cannot resolve themselves.
My son has been a resident for the past five years in the first house acquired by the Brain Foundation. Prior to coming here, he lived with my wife and me for over 18 years. There was no available housing in our area. After 18 years on a waiting list the Brain Foundation opened their first house and my son moved it. All residents must be able to care for themselves as far as personal care, cooking, doing laundry etc. There is no “live in” staff. Residents must pay for their room as this is not a public funded program. Each resident is evaluated and a fee is assigned according to their ability to pay.
The purpose of this program is to assist residents with life skills outside an institutional environment. None of the staff of the Brain Foundation receive any pay for the hours they expend on behalf of the residents. They are a group of people who just desire to make a difference in this world.
The Brain Injury Foundation continues to make great strides in ensuring those services and supports needed for their consumers IN THE COMMUNITY so that institutionalization is not the default way of life. KUDOS for their untiring efforts!!!
I have known Trudy Harsh, the President/CEO and visionary of the Brain Foundation for over 30 years. She has put together a strong Board of Directors who conduct all of the staff functions without compensation. They have used their career experience in real estate, property management, law, IT development, grants management, accounting, budgeting, politics, housing funding, and other fields to establish and operate affordable housing without a high level of administrative overhead. The only administrative cost is to conduct the annual financial audit.
The story of The Brain foundation is told in the profile. My family knew Laura Harsh since she was a child and became good friends of the entire family. When Laura passed away and Trudy established the Brain Foundation, she asked me to serve on the Board of Directors.
Remarkably, The Foundation is entirely volnteer and yet in a few short years has aquired six homes providing safe housing for dozens in need.