On May 6, nearly 400 donors and sponsors came together, virtually and in person, to support The Menninger Clinic’s Annual Signature Luncheon, raising more than $375,000 for research, education and outreach programs at Menninger. The luncheon was chaired by donors Stacy and Michael Ellington, honored State Representative Four Price and featured former U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. The event had been delayed since 2020, when the global pandemic forced the luncheon’s postponement. However, most would agree it was well worth the wait.
With COVID-19 screening at the door and other health guidelines in place, guests dined on a light bento box lunch in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Houston Post Oak hotel. President and CEO Armando Colombo reflected on Menninger’s many accomplishments despite a challenging year, which included quickly pivoting services and launching new programs to meet mental health needs during the pandemic. And the needs have been significant, Colombo remarked, noting that patients are admitting to the hospital with greater anxiety, depression, nightmares and suicidal ideation.
Colombo was followed by luncheon chairs Stacy and Michael Ellington, who shared a moving testimonial of their family’s journey through the stigma of mental illness. Rep. Four Price was then honored with the Vital Balance Award for his tireless work to improve Texans’ access to mental health services, before the luncheon’s keynote speaker, Patrick Kennedy, took the stage.
Interviewed by local meteorologist and event emcee Justin Stapleton, Kennedy spoke about the current state of mental health in America, and how the pandemic has exposed the country’s mental health vulnerabilities. He emphasized the need for early intervention through school-based social and emotional learning programs, like BridgeUp at Menninger, more investment in scientific research and greater community collaboration. 
If you missed the 2021 luncheon, be sure to save the date for our next luncheon on May 5, 2022. You also may watch a recording of the event on Menninger’s YouTube channel.
Thank you, again, to our many luncheon supporters, including our lead event sponsors The Louis L. Borick Foundation, the Cuenod Families with InduMar Products, Letty Knapp with Vivie and Chris O’Sullivan, Jim and Carole Walter Looke, Linda and John Griffin, and Leslie Ward with AT&T Texas. We also appreciate the support of our in-kind donors, “Stamp Out Stigma” sponsor The Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation and floral sponsor H-E-B.