Early this year, Lorne Bennett, Executive VP with Pennecon, presented CMHA-NL with a $50,000 cheque. This incredible donation is part of Pennecon’s commitment to a 5-year, $250,000 fund that allows CMHA-NL to deliver training in mental health awareness, suicide prevention and stigma reduction in NL.
In 2018, Pennecon committed to a five-year, $250,000 fund for mental health initiatives led by the Newfoundland and Labrador Division of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-NL). The funding allows CMHA-NL to deliver training in mental health awareness, suicide prevention and stigma reduction in the province. This was, at that time, the largest one-time contribution ever awarded to CMHA-NL. With these funds, CMHA-NL is able to plan and deliver a five-year program of community-based training uninterrupted, something not easily accomplished when most donations are smaller, one-time amounts that do not allow for much planning and follow-through. For CMHA-NL, Pennecon’s commitment helped break down some of the remaining stigma in philanthropic support of mental health in the local community.
The greatest impact of the Pennecon funding is the expanded access CMHA-NL is able to provide to the wider community to its suite of mental health training programs—free to the participants. With the prevalence of mental illness and mental health issues in this province, more and more people are looking to gain knowledge in the issues around mental health, and to be able to help people in need, but they need to know where and how to start. That is where CMHA-NL and Pennecon, working together, come into play. CMHA-NL is in the frontline of disseminating information and expert training that is made available to the public at no cost because of the financial support provided by Pennecon—because both parties recognize the need, and believe it is the right thing to do: to support a community agency whose mandate is to promote ‘mental health for all’.
In terms of specific support provided to date, CMHA-NL has trained over 360 people living in many communities across NL, including Harbour Grace, Stephenville, Bay Roberts, Conne River, St. John’s and more. The funding greatly assists CMHA-NL to bring its resources and training expertise to people in the communities where they live and work.
While Pennecon is supporting CMHA-NL with its multi-year financial commitment, the company and its employees are active in many other philanthropic initiatives in the community. For example, in February 2020, a group of Pennecon volunteers participated in the Coldest Night of the Year charity walk-a-thon, which is a national event that works to raise money for hundreds of community organizations across Canada. They raised over $7,800 in support of Choices for Youth, which provides critical programs and services to youth-at-risk in NL. The company has donated to the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation in the past, and it is a long-time supporter of WRDC’s Techsploration program, which aims to provide young women with opportunities to explore trades, technical and technology-related occupations.
CMHA-NL looks forward to a continued relationship with Pennecon as we work towards our shared goal of ‘mental health for all’.