NAMI of McHenry County names 2024 Vision of Hope honorees

A champion for mental health in McHenry County and a team of volunteers who help those in personal crisis are being honored with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of McHenry County’s 2024 Vision of Hope Award.

The honorees’ accomplishments will be recognized at NAMI’s 2024 “Sunset Gala” from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Crystal Lake Main Beach Pavilion, 300 Lakeshore Drive.

The event is presented by Rula, whose mission is to create a world where every person can access high-quality mental health care.

The Vision of Hope Award is presented to a person or group whose actions have resulted in the advancement of care, treatment or awareness for those living with a mental health condition and their families, and have demonstrated commitment and perseverance toward advancements in the mental health community.

Honoree Leonetta Rizzi, executive director of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, started her career working with at-risk youth and families over 30 years ago. She is an accomplished leader in the behavioral health care and corporate health care industry.

“Leonetta understands this community and the challenges provider agencies, their clients and families are facing,” said Abbey Nicholas, NAMI executive director. “From her first moments on the job, she courageously advocated for more resources and funding in order to alleviate the mental health crisis.”

Rizzi received a 2023 Distinguished Service Award for collaboration with Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 resulting in a $5.6 million federal mental health grant for the district. She said she is most proud of her work leading Crisis Services in McHenry County from 1995-2011, and continues to dedicate her service to ensuring a quality comprehensive integrated system of care is sustainable in McHenry County.

The Willow Creek Community Resource Day team is also being honored. Community Resource Day is a collaboration of government and faith-based and over 30 nonprofit organizations who have the shared vision of helping the community’s neighbors in need in McHenry County who are facing homelessness, personal crisis, situational trauma and lack of resources. Each organization utilizes its specific resources and abilities to help meet the needs of guests with dignity and compassion.

The honorees from Community Resource Day are: Julie Davis, associate campus pastor of Willow Crystal Lake; Megan Bennett, formerly of McHenry County Housing Authority: Deb Anderson, CRD Agency and volunteer coordinator; and Gina Zinck, coordinated entry lead for McHenry County.

The May 10 “Sunset Gala,” which is also a NAMI fundraiser, is sponsored by Rula, Neurocrine Biosciences, Thresholds, Insight Financial Partners, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Madigan Insurance Group, Ascension, and Blair Counseling and Mediation.

Tickets are $75 each and include appetizers and dinner by 3 Chefs Catering. A table of 10 costs $750.

There will be a cash bar, music, raffles, a silent auction and a program celebrating the Vision of Hope honorees.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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