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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Image  Jim Dailey

Jim Dailey was nominated by NAMI Kentucky.  View the nomination letter from NAMI Kentucky. (pdf, opens in a new window)

Each board candidate was asked to answer several questions relating to NAMI and the experience they bring to the board.  Each candidate was limited to 300 words for each answer.  Read Jim's answers below:

Why do you want to serve on the NAMI National board of Directors?

As the current Treasurer of NAMI National, I know it is essential to have continuity in the Board’s financial oversight of NAMI operations.   I have 40+ years’ financial management and accounting experience that provide me with an excellent background to help ensure NAMI remains fiscally sound.  As the Past President of NAMI Louisville, I come from the grass roots and know the type programs and support services that NAMI National needs to provide.  As Acting Executive Director of NAMI Kentucky, I understand the need to blend both compassion and business sense to prosper fiscally and to grow NAMI organizationally to the point of being able to help more people.

As Chair of the Board’s Education and Programs Committee, I have been instrumental in safeguarding our signature education programs such as NAMI Family-to-Family and I have participated in our efforts to find a new national underwriter to fund the expansion currently underway for the NAMI Peer-to-Peer Education Program.  However, I am most proud of the effort I put forth, with the support of the Committee, Ron Honberg and Dr. Joyce Burland, of developing and releasing a survey to determine what Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) first responder education programs are in place across the NAMI family.  In follow up to this survey, NAMI plans to recommend a best practice model curriculum of CIT training for use by our affiliates and state organizations.

NAMI at the National level has undergone significant change in its size, its outlook and its leadership.   Along with Margaret Stout, NAMI President, I was able to utilize my financial management background to assist our National office in their time of need.  Thanks to Mike Fitzpatrick’s leadership and our excellent National Office staff, NAMI will continue to prosper.            

 

What Financial Management or fund raising expertise would you bring to the Board?

As NAMI Treasurer, I have had significant experience in assisting NAMI with fund development activities.   I also serve on the NAMI Board’s Development Committee and helped develop the "All Hands on Deck" program with Mike Fitzpatrick and staff to help solve some of the financial issues we faced last year, including the development of the 25th Anniversary Events plan.  Additionally, I was instrumental in bringing in the $250,000 grant from an underwriter that now funds the Peer-to-Peer education program expansion under way.  Other fund raising experience I can claim includes development of NAMI Louisville’s first Walk to Stamp Out the Stigma of Mental Illness Walk series; development of the NAMI Louisville Spirit of Peace Award Banquet annual fund raising event; event planning for regional trainings across Kentucky and all fund raising for the annual NAMI Kentucky Annual Conference and Criminal Justice Forum.  All fund raising events at both NAMI Louisville and NAMI Kentucky remain in place and viable today. 

Before NAMI service, I was the Director of Finance of Humana Inc. a for-profit hospital management and managed Care Company (Fortune 500) on the NYSE.   As part of Humana services, I was Associate Executive Director of Finance at Humana Hospital Morristown (TN). 

I was hospital administrator at Williamson Memorial Hospital (WVA) and Executive Director of the Upper Kentucky River Region Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board in Hazard, KY.  All these roles involved solving challenging financial difficulties these organizations faced.

 

What is the most pressing public policy issue facing NAMI Members today?   What course of action do you suggest?

Clearly, the most pressing public policy issue facing NAMI Members today is the potential of cuts to the Medicaid system.  This system provides nearly 90% of the funding for mental health treatment in America today.   It is the primary source of funding for the indigent and the disabled, including the mentally ill.   If the Administration’s $15 billion in planned Medicaid cuts voted out on March 15 had NOT been overturned by seven courageous Republican Senators voting with all 45 Democrats in the Senate, the course of mental health treatment would have been irreversibly altered for at least the next 40 years.   The now renowned Smith-Bingaman budget amendment passed by a vote of 52-48.  This time it may be said that “we won”.  But the next time and there surely will be a next time, we must be ready and able to mount a campaign to put a face on the Medicaid cuts the Administration feels no pain in making.

The courses of action I suggest locally do the following:

 

  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper of widest circulation outlining the value of services received by Medicaid recipients versus the seemingly soaring costs.   Remember NAMI’s Campaign for the Mind of America Campaign program called "Spending Money in All the Wrong Places".  Fact sheets about this program are available on the NAMI Net under the NAMI Policy Research Institute.   
  • Hold a news conference at a very public place (courthouse, hospital, or city hall) to decry the cuts and to introduce people that would be hurt if planned cuts are approved. 
  • Meet with the editorial board of your local newspaper for the purpose of introducing some people being helped by Medicaid funding and ask for an editorial to be run showing the pain that cuts would cause.

 

What brought you to NAMI - and what is most valuable to you about your participation in the NAMI movement?

What brought me (and my wife) to NAMI is the Family-to-Family Education Program.  We took the first course offered in Kentucky, then called the Journey of Hope in 1996.  This course educated us about the issue of mental illness, its proper diagnosis, treatment, treatment side effects, and the many other benefits the course offers.  We were thereafter able to get our son diagnosed, into appropriate outpatient psychotherapy and eventually, onto the correct medication regimen that allowed our lives to change for the better forever.  Because the folks in NAMI Louisville thought enough of us to extend themselves to us in the beginning and help us get through the most difficult times of our life we are forever indebted and NAMI service returned is our way of paying it forward!

The most valuable part of my service to NAMI undoubtedly is the opportunity I have been given to work as I wished to help others in need through the Family-to-Family program, NAMI local board service and now NAMI national Board service.  To give another three years service to NAMI as a volunteer is my dream.  This is truly a vocation for me and I enjoy it more than anything I have ever done in my life.  I hope to be able to continue to serve.

 

What is the most pressing internal or organizational issue facing NAMI today?  What course of action do you suggest?

NAMI today faces a fiscal crisis that may jeopardize its future existence.  The root of this crisis is the fact that we have very limited sources of income: fees from government and industry grants; membership dues; private and corporate contributions.  NAMI is very heavily dependent upon both government and select members of the private industry for its income stream.  It is essential that NAMI find alternative sources of sustainable income other than or more importantly in addition to those we now have.

What is the course of action to accomplish?   First we need to expand our NAMI Walks for the Mind of America program.  This program is the most successful fund raising program NAMI has ever embarked upon.  It generates the most money for all three levels of NAMI and is supported mainly by the grass roots who are volunteers, with portions being divided between the state and national organizations.  When this type revenue source is expanded, NAMI gets greater public awareness, fewer strings attached and certainly the ability to allocate the proceeds as the local or state affiliate groups dictate.  This is freedom and exactly where NAMI must go to gain fiscal security and independence from any single industry.  

NAMI must increase our ability to plan and complete fund raising events, again not tied to any industry or specific company, rather our events must be marketed to all companies that share interest in our mission to help people impacted by mental illness.    And NAMI must embark upon a national marketing campaign, not managed by outside interests but by own fund development staff, to "nationalize" the name of NAMI.  This effort will have great impact upon our future ability to raise money at each level of the organization.   

These are insights from three years' of NAMI National Board experience.   

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