Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — An alarming spike in youth suicides in Gravenhurst has prompted a local donor to act on behalf of young people in this town.

A youth mental health crisis in Gravenhurst has prompted an anonymous person to donate $1 million to the Gravenhurst club to start a fund to help residents ages 5 to 25.

The person who wishes to remain anonymous has donated $1 million to the Gravenhurst Rotary Club to kicks-start a fund to benefit child and youth mental health in Gravenhurst.

Other community donors will also be able to contribute to this new charitable fund to help it grow to help young people in Gravenhurst.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is “concerned about increasing rates of anxiety, depression and panic attacks among our youth,” says a release this week from Rotary.

And the donor, who “is committed to stemming an alarming spike in youth suicide, has directed that the fund be used to facilitate access to professional support for children and youth, all genders, ages 5 -25 who are diagnosed with mental illness and/or considered to be in crisis or at high risk.”

To ensure long-term impact, the donation will be managed as an endowment fund, similar to Gravenhurst Rotary’s eduction bursary.

They say they expect that interest and dividends from the initial investment will provide between $40,000 and $50,000 each year to help young people in crisis move forward with their lives.

The Rotary Club of Gravenhurst is currently developing the structures and policies we need to manage the fund responsibly.

“We’ll be working with community partners over the next few months to establish eligibility criteria and design a process for assessing applications,” says the release, signed by club president MaryAnne Marshall and committee chair Valerie Johnston.

They expect the work to be completed by the spring of 2020.

At which time, they will begin to accept applications for individual and group program supports to match the investment fund as it begins to mature.

In the words of the donor: “It takes a community to raise a child.”

“This community has just been given one more amazing resource to help ensure that its young people grow up strong, healthy and happy,” says the Rotary release.

For more information, contact Marshall at 705-323-6396 or email her at marshall.maryanne@gmail.com

Or you can contact Johnston, the chair of Rotary’s child and mental health committee at 416-919-5515 or email her at johnston.consulting@bellnet.ca

Email Mark Clairmont at mark@muskokatoday.com

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