Alexian Brothers Foundation ball raises money for mental health services
Guests at the Alexian Brothers Foundation's Ball de Fleur started out Saturday night near the Regenstein Macaque Forest at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, where soon there was a lot to see and do at this all-important fundraiser.
More than 400 people attended the gala, including physicians, business partners and supporters of the nine hospitals that form Arlington Heights-based Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System.
The summerlike evening provided the perfect backdrop as guests were able to see the African lion exhibit, the harbor seals and the snow monkeys before taking their seats for the event appropriately titled "Safari Under the Stars."
Proceeds help provide access to mental health services, including psychiatric services for underserved individuals, free screenings for children with developmental disabilities, therapy for children on the autism spectrum, and substance abuse treatment.
"We've had an outsized commitment to mental health services for decades," said Mark Frey, president and CEO of Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System. "We believe it needs to be built into the fabric of our health care system, because when you do that you strengthen families and individuals, and have better outcomes."
Proceeds from this year's ball -- expected to reach $800,000 -- continue a multiyear, $28 million pledge toward the Alexian Brothers Foundation One Life at a Time campaign. Its vision, officials say, is to end the stigma associated with mental health and substance abuse treatment.
"These dollars are essential," said Melanie Furlan, vice president of advancement for the Alexian Brothers Foundation. "These programs aren't funded unless through philanthropic support."
The health system provides mental health services at several facilities, including Amita Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, the Alexian Center for Mental Health in Arlington Heights, the new Foglia Family Foundation Residential Treatment Center that opened last year in Elk Grove Village, and the Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance in Chicago and Waukegan.
The health system also sends mental health workers out to 20 schools in the Northwest suburbs.
"Tonight is an opportunity to get more people involved in our mission and get a better understanding of the need for access to mental health services," said Mike Benoit of Bartlett, foundation board chairman.
"It's a chance for people to talk to our doctors and learn more about our programs," Benoit added, "and get involved in our mission of helping others."
Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System formed in 2015, with the merger of Adventist Midwest Health, based in Hinsdale, and Alexian Brothers Health System, based in Arlington Heights.
The system comprises nine hospitals across the Northwest and West suburbs and a network of more than 3,000 physicians.