Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster has made a major donation to America’s only round-the-clock suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth.
The Trevor Project, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organisation, recently launched a major fundraising campaign to fund two call centres that will take crisis calls made to The Trevor Helpline.
The goal of the campaign, which is the largest in the organisation’s history, is to raise $1,000,000 (£500,000) in multi-year gifts.
It has not been revealed how much Ms Foster donated but it is reported that her gift was sizable.
The call centres will each be named The Randy Stone Call Centre, in memory of Randy Stone, one of the charity’s founders and the Academy Award-winning producer of the short film Trevor, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.
Currently, the helpline is maintained by a call centre based at Trevor’s Los Angeles headquarters and a second based at the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Centre.
The goal of the new fundraising campaign is to raise monies sufficient to fully fund and operate the Los Angeles call centre and to open and operate a new call centre in New York.
The funding would enable the two call centres to be open 24 hours a day with a full staff of helpline counsellors.
A related campaign goal is to provide funding for counsellor training workshops that will graduate 25 new counsellors each quarter.
In support of this initiative and to honour Stone’s memory and spirit, his close friend, Jodie Foster, has kicked off the fundraising campaign with a major gift, the largest in the organisation’s history.
“This campaign is an integral component of our strategy to enhance Trevor’s infrastructure and significantly raise our ability to help those who need our services most: desperate gay and questioning youth,” Charles Robbins, executive director of The Trevor Project, said.
“We are encouraged by, and enormously grateful for, the extraordinarily generous gift Jodie has made during the early phase of this endeavour.
“We cannot think of a more fitting tribute to our beloved colleague and friend than to continue to keep the helpline open and, in doing so, to meet the overwhelming need of our nation’s youth.”
“I feel so lucky to have had a best friend like Randy Stone, the funniest guy I’ve ever known,” said Jodie Foster.
“He was talented, passionate, supportive, and as big as life. He brought all his beautiful energy to The Trevor Project, which has done such meaningful work on behalf of gay and questioning youths.
“The call centre’s campaign’s impact will continue the Trevor mission in Randy’s honour, just as he would have wanted.
“I am proud to continue my support of Trevor in memory of my dearest friend. He is missed.”
The helpline, which receives thousands of calls each year, assists gay and questioning youth who are in crisis and is also a resource for those seeking information on how to help these individuals, including family members, educators and friends.
Calls made to the helpline are free, confidential and handled by highly skilled counsellors, who are required to undergo extensive and rigorous training.
© 2007 GayBusinessWorld.com; All Rights Reserved.