David Lawrence Center (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit mental health and addiction recovery treatment center serving children, adults and families, announced that Earle K. Borman, Jr. and Rob and Kate Edwards will co-chair its signature fundraiser, Sound Minds™, on April 3, 2020 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples (2600 Tiburon Dr) from 11:30 am to 1 pm. The luncheon, being held in partnership with presenting sponsor NCH Healthcare System and education sponsor Naples Children & Education Foundation, will feature former Congressman and mental health advocate Patrick J. Kennedy as the keynote speaker.
For the past six years, David Lawrence Center has hosted the Sound Minds™ Mental Health Symposium. Past speakers have included a Columbine shooting survivor, a mood disorder expert, as well as national scientists and local mental health advocates. This year, David Lawrence Center changed the event format, turning the symposium into a fundraising luncheon to enhance opportunities to raise much-needed support for the increased demand for DLC’s life-saving services.
Borman and Rob Edwards both serve as DLC Board Members and plan to bring their passion for mental health and addiction recovery advocacy from the boardroom to the event.
Borman, a retired sales and marketing executive most recently with leading global consumer health and hygiene company Reckitt Benckiser, also served as a registered lobbyist prior to his retirement. Locally, he was the Owner and President of the popular Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series for more than seven years, which brought national speakers to large, captivated audiences of over 1,000 influential people. He is also currently chairing the DLC Board’s new Community Advocacy Committee.
“The key issue that distresses me is the lack of state funding. Florida is last in per capita spending for mental health. My goal is to advocate for change state-wide and generate better support for mental health and addiction treatment,” said Borman. “Bringing a national speaker like Mr. Kennedy can help motivate others to support the quality, recovery-focused services available at David Lawrence Center.”
Rob Edwards, a Naples native, is First Vice President of Investments/PIM Portfolio Manager for the Edwards Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. Edwards also served on the DLC Young Executives Board for five years, where he led the next gen group’s annual Chip in for DLC golf tournament for several years. Edwards was the first DLC Young Executives liaison named to the DLC Board. He is also a graduate of the Leadership Collier Foundation Growing Associates of Naples (GAIN) Class of 2015. His wife Kate, also a Naples native, is an Interior Designer and the VP of Business Development for Design West. She has actively been involved with DLC events for the past 8 years. As the mother of two young children, Kate is passionate about ensuring that all people – especially children – in need of mental health and addiction services can access care.
“Mental illness and addiction touches everyone in some way—whether it's a family member, friend, or someone you care deeply about,” said Kate Edwards. “Our family is no exception.”
“It’s time for mental health to be at the forefront and recognized as an illness. To avoid unnecessary loss of life and suffering, as a community, we need to discuss it the same way we do our physical health,” said Rob Edwards. “Mr. Kennedy is unique in that he is able to combine both personal and political experience to help bring mental health out of the shadows and hopefully shift the conversation in Southwest Florida and across the nation.”
Kennedy, best known as the lead author of the groundbreaking Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Federal Parity Law), will share stories and insights from his political and personal journey with mental illness and addiction.
“My challenge as a policymaker was the same challenge I personally faced as a patient—how to be comfortable seeking help if the nature of the illness is seen as a moral failing, as a character flaw, or as shameful,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy will discuss the unique pressures of growing up in one of America’s most famous families and explore the Kennedy legacy in the arenas of civil rights, mental health, and equality for those with intellectual disabilities.
Immediately following the luncheon will be a VIP Meet the Speaker reception, where sponsors and VIP ticketholders will have an intimate opportunity to meet Mr. Kennedy and receive a signed copy of his New York Times bestselling memoir A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction.