On October 1, the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) will host its annual gala, themed “Working for Wellness: Invest in America’s Veterans,” at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
The benefit will recognize companies committed to supporting of hundreds of thousands of America’s Armed Forces service members who have returned to civilian life with significant reintegration challenges, specifically those related to mental health and unemployment in hopes that other companies will follow their leadership example.
Gregory J. Fleming, President of Morgan Stanley Wealth and Investment Management, will be honored for his longtime advocacy for veterans and their families, and for the company’s leadership and commitment to employing veterans.
The event will also pay tribute to Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta, Medal of Honor Recipient, and the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the honor.
Award winning ABC news correspondent, Bob Woodruff and his wife, Lee Woodruff, will serve as Masters of Ceremony of the gala. The Woodruffs are also founders of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which works to ensure injured veterans thrive long after they return home.
“MHA-NYC’s annual benefit shines the spotlight on pressing mental health issues while raising funds that allow us to continue to provide essential services,” said Giselle Stolper, President and CEO of MHA-NYC. “We know how important meaningful work is to the emotional wellbeing of veterans, their families, and their communities. Yet, getting a job is one of the greatest challenges facing men and women today as they leave active duty. This is why we are dedicating our gala to this urgent issue,” she said.
MHA-NYC has long worked in partnership with veteran service organizations and other key stakeholders, including the Veterans Administration, to address the myriad of emotional and social challenges veterans face after leaving the battlefield. MHA-NYC operates the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), which has answered more than 1 million calls since 2007, and established the Veterans Mental Health Coalition of New York City, and the National TBI and Emotional Wellness Alliance. The VCL provides access to life saving resources for veterans and the coalitions promote policy and practice changes to improve access to quality mental health care and supportive services for veterans and their families.
While a majority of veterans make the transition smoothly, a large number need help and support. “Employment is one of the key areas of need for veterans upon their return, but they need more than just a job,” said Kimberly Williams, Vice President of MHA-NYC’s Center for Policy, Advocacy and Education. “They need broad support to achieve total wellness for self and family,” she said. Never before has such a comprehensive vision for our nation’s veterans captured the interest of so many CEOs and Fortune 500 companies.
MHA-NYC intends to harness the good will of both the private and public sectors and commit its expertise and resources to working with other organizations to launch a groundbreaking initiative to create a hyper-local coordinated network of services, supports, and resources for veterans and their families. “By using advanced technology, our vision is to build supportive communities for men and women as they transition to their new home base and seek on-the-ground services in key areas of need: education, employment, health and emotional wellness, and family support,” said Gala Dinner Chair Duncan Niederauer.
More than 400 business leaders, government officials, veterans, service members, and their families are expected to attend the event. Dinner Chairs include Frank J. Branchini, Chairman and CEO of EmblemHealth; Ric Clark, Chairman and CEO of Brookfield Property Group; Kevin Dunleavy, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley; Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock; and Duncan Niederauer, Former CEO of the NYSE.
Learn more about the event and ticket purchases at www.mhaofnyc.org/gala2014/.
The Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) is a not-for-profit organization that addresses mental health needs in New York City and across the nation. Through their three-part mission of service, advocacy and education, they identify unmet needs and develop culturally sensitive programs to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness while promoting the importance of mental health.