It takes a village, people say, to raise a child. This year, a new ECCF fund is proving the village can also save lives.
The Pelican Intervention Fund, founded in 2015 by Newburyport residents Kim and Steven Keene and Elizabeth McCarthy, is a grassroots organization created to help men and women struggling with addiction – most notably heroin addiction. An epidemic nearly everywhere, Essex County has been particularly hard hit by the opioid crisis. According to ECCF’s Impact Essex County data, admissions to drug treatment programs for heroin addiction in Essex County have surged 60 percent since 2005.
“Every community is struggling with this,” said Kim Keene. “The funding for the critical programs needed to create a lasting solution to this epidemic is just not there.”
The Fund supports the journey from addiction to recovery through extended residency in structured 12 Step-based sober living homes. “These programs heal individuals at the roots and provide hope for sustained sobriety," said McCarthy.
Through the generosity of community members and community-based fundraising events, the Fund has raised over $45,000 since its inception and has helped five young men successfully through treatment.
“We have seen both the depths of despair addiction causes individuals and family, and the recovery possible over time with care and support,” said McCarthy.
The group credits Essex County Community Foundation’s guidance and donor services with the Fund’s early success. Steven Keene called ECCF a “safe harbor” for the Pelican Intervention Fund, which experienced an uncertain start under another organization.
“We really appreciate working with ECCF because we had no idea what to do,” he said. “Once we got to ECCF, all that worry went away.”
“If we have a question, someone gets back to us right away,” added Steve. “The Community Foundation has given us the freedom to really work towards fulfilling our mission.”