Year-End Letter from the President
By Gareth Fenley
Published in the Augusta Azalea newsletter, December 2010
It is my privilege to serve as the volunteer president of this all-volunteer organization and to offer some year-end reflections to you.
Just to introduce myself a little bit, I have been diagnosed to have schizoaffective disorder* [Note: the diagnosis has now been settled on bipolar disorder]. I have been involved with NAMI for more than 12 years now. I first joined the Auburn Avenue NAMI affiliate in downtown Atlanta to receive support for myself after I experienced an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization on what we call a 10-13. From an emergency room in the middle of the night, the sheriff gave me a ride to a locked facility, where I stayed for a month.
After that, as time went by, I gradually made the transition from receiving support, to offering support to others, and eventually to advocating and leading.
When I moved to Augusta four years ago, one of the first things I did was to look for the local NAMI group. The next thing you know, they elected me president. During my service in this position, I have had a goal of building the capacity of the organization to thrive without me. In fact, when I moved and started commuting to work in Augusta from Columbia, South Carolina, I tried to quit the president’s job. Some of you talked me into staying on.
Augusta and the CSRA have very deep resources of community good will and down home love. And springing from that, there's money for our nonprofit budget. So it’s my privilege to continue to serve you.
I am thrilled to share the good news with you that NAMI Augusta has officially
re-confirmed our nonprofit status with the IRS. In the past, we reported as a subsidiary of NAMI Georgia. Today, we are established as an independent 501c3 corporation. This year's application effort required countless hours of volunteer effort that was invested by our Board of Directors, notably Treasurer Kelly Post and Secretary Dan Hamilton, with the professional assistance of Wanda Howard of Plus One Accounting (financed by a special earmarked donation), and words of wisdom volunteered by John Demyan, CPA.
Just yesterday, I finished polishing and submitting our 2011 funds request to the Yancey Mental Health Golf Tournament. Major funding for NAMI Augusta is provided each year by this fabulous charity event, which commemorates the legacy of Bert Yancey, the late professional golfer and mental health advocate.
The balance of the funding is provided by dues and donations from YOU -- the members and friends of NAMI Augusta. Thank you! Thank you!
Enjoy blessed holidays and a happy New Year.