Editor: I was a donor to the Music for the Mind fundraiser over the past two years. As a donor, transparency and accountability around the money I donate is very important to me.
Because of this, back in November 2020, I reached out to the founder of Music for the Mind, Elisha Banks, to inquire how the $30,000 that was donated in February 2020 had been used to support the Inpatient Mental Health Unit to date. Elisha informed me that she was not privy to that information but would reach out to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation to find out. A few weeks later, I received an e-mail from Elisha that included an attachment that listed supplies purchased for the Inpatient Mental Health Unit from money raised through Music for the Mind. The e-mail was to Elisha from the Foundation.
I was thrilled as a donor to see the results of our efforts. We as a community worked hard to help Elisha raise those funds and provide assistance in a tangible way to patients struggling with mental health who had no family or friends to support them while on the unit. Some of these people, like the homeless in our community, come to the unit with nothing and just getting some clean clothes or daily hygiene products can make a huge difference and show them the community cares about them.
Then I was shocked and confused when I read the newspaper articles about the Music for the Mind fundraiser coming to an end, and reading Mary Lou Crowley’s statement that no funds had been spent. How can that be? When I asked about the funds raised and how they were being spent, and the Foundation provided a list of supplies that was claimed to be purchased for the unit.
So, my question as a donor is what is actually true? Both statements can’t be true. How can a big organization like the Foundation give out information that isn’t true to donors?
After realizing this discrepancy, I reached out to Elisha to try and find some answers, and I was further shocked when she explained to me she had made the Foundation and hospital aware of the conflicting statements, but couldn’t discuss it publicly because she had received a letter from a lawyer who threatened to sue her if she went on social media or to the newspapers.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this and wanting to come forward, but was worried about the potential consequences after the way they treated Elisha. Now, however, I believe this wrong needs to be righted and the community needs to know that when they inquire about how their money is being spent, they may not be getting the truth from the Foundation. That is unacceptable.
As donors, we deserve more from charitable organizations like the Foundation and we must demand that action is taken to ensure this never happens to another donor in the future.
I am amazed they would treat a donor like this, and more so, get away with it. The community that worked so hard to support Music for the Mind and people struggling with mental health need accountability from the Foundation and we need to stand behind Elisha and all the hard work she put in to making Music for the Mind such a success over the past two years.
I was proud to be involved and am disgusted with the Foundation’s actions. While I cannot in good conscious ever support the Foundation again, I will continue to support any fundraising initiatives Elisha is involved with through Music for the Mind going forward, and hope this community will continue to do the same.
It’s sad that NOW the hospital is claiming to use that money towards an expansion. That is ridiculous because that money was ALREADY granted by the government to cover that cost. So the money THEY SAY (the foundatuon) is going to be used towards the expansion is just to cover up what it’s being used for to keep everyone at bay. So nothing right now is being givin to what its intention was for. They hoped it would keep people quiet and STOP asking questions. It’s disgusting what is happening. That money is sitting in a banking account earning interest that will be used for other means for the hospital instead of the original intention. They also claim that there is only a certain amount of money allowed each year to spend on that unit. This infact maybe true, but obviously wasnt enough which is why this certain program started. To help more and to help immediately. The head of this foundation needs to be investigated on the discrepancy. Someone needs to be held accountable. Sounds almost like a fraud to the donors. We have to see what is going on. If nothing was wrong then why the need to get lawyers involved. Pre-emptive guilt and mis appropriation somewhere to get legality involved? This is MY OPINION. Why hide something if nothing is wrong? ??♂️. To the donor and this letter THANK YOU FOR GETTIMG THIS STORY BACK IN THE EYES OF THE COMMUNITY. KUDOS. ?. Still a big kudos to Elisha Banks for being able to get the donations and help the community program. ??. Please dont let this story ever die until we as a community find out the truth and to regain the trust of the community to want to donate to programs like this ever again without question or fear of what is actually what is going to happen to the donated funds.
I agree with Becky as a donor how the foundation has not told the truth about the donated funds. I have no faith or trust in the Chatham Kent Health Foundation or the board members. Why is not any one being held accountable. No common sense.