As part of the 35th anniversary celebration, ORIX USA launched an initiative called MOMENTUS Outreach. Over the next 35 weeks, they will highlight a partner charity each week that is making a significant difference in the community, giving employees an opportunity to learn more about these organizations and those employees who generously invest their time, talent and resources into these charities.
The first MOMENTUS Outreach organization is Planned Living Assistance Network (PLAN) of North Texas, an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive support toward a “meaningful life in community” for individuals with mental illness and their families. Jim Dunn with ORIX Real Estate Americas and Ginny Thompson with RED Mortgage Capital are avid supporters and volunteers of PLAN of North Texas. PLAN of North Texas serves adults who have serious and persistent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, schizoaffective disorder and others, as well as their families. PLAN’s mission is to provide professional, effective and affordable mental health and social services that promote lifelong self-sufficiency, self-worth and well-being, within a supportive community for adults with persistent mental illness.
“I originally became interested in PLAN due to a family member with chronic mental illness,” said Jim Dunn, Head of ORIX Real Estate Americas and PLAN of North Texas board of directors. “Our family struggled to find help for him, and PLAN made a material difference in the quality of his life by getting him on the right medications, which alleviated his psychosis enabled him to obtain a job, and helped him find friends and activities through their socialization program. My family and I have been actively involved with PLAN for years and I actually replaced my older brother on their board in 2013. Mental illness is so woefully underfunded; I just thought PLAN fit with ORIX Foundation’s mission of helping smaller, local charities so well. Most of PLAN’s clients are low-income.”
“My experience of volunteering with PLAN has touched me in so many ways, and I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to build relationships with people who are simply trying to cope and fit into society,” said Ginny Johnson, Administrative Assistant with RED Mortgage Capital and PLAN volunteer. “My first exposure to PLAN was through a site visit a year ago that was part of the ORIX Foundation grant request process. As part of that site visit, I had the opportunity to visit a class where PLAN was teaching adult clients how to deal with and express anger. That moment illuminated the impact of PLAN’s services and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of this.”
Ginny is now a regular volunteer with PLAN as an event coordinator and chaperone at PLAN’s education and social skills development program events including bingo, coffee house jam and field trips. She recently was recognized at a PLAN extravaganza and received an award for her volunteer efforts, sense of humor and passion for the cause. “I’m so happy PLAN found me,” said Ginny.
“When our clients decided to put on their own gala in an effort to show what they could do to fight the stigma of mental illness, it said a lot that they chose to honor both the ORIX Foundation for excellence in corporate support and Ginny Johnson for outstanding volunteer service,” said Ruth Josenhans, Transition Manager for PLAN of North Texas.
“Jim Dunn has been on the PLAN Board of Directors for the past three years and we are so fortunate to have his sage advice and his heart in helping us with the running of our non-profit. Ginny Johnson volunteers as an activities facilitator, and whether it’s bingo or a trip to an art festival, Ginny’s warm personality and enthusiasm contributes greatly to creating that safe environment that feels like family for our clients. Jim and Ginny’s efforts help to provide a unique program of support that focuses on recovery and empowerment. In so doing, we provide adults, who are so often marginalized by society, with acceptance and hope for a meaningful life in community,” added Josenhans.
“PLAN of North Texas is a great fit for the ORIX Foundation,” said Jim. “Mental illness is underfunded. We see significant resources spent on crisis care for the mentally ill, as well as helping homeless individuals, an estimated 25 to 35 percent of whom have mental illness. Many of these individuals could be helped through organizations such as PLAN, which focuses on recovery, wellness and maximizing the quality of life for these individuals. Preventive care is far more cost-effective than crisis care or letting these individuals cycle through the county’s emergency rooms, mental hospitals or jail.”