The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation is a family foundation that supports and collaborates with nonprofit organizations and community partners that share our mission of helping children, adolescents, and young people affected by intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health issues, and substance use disorders. The Foundation’s work is focused in Western New York and Eastern Massachusetts, areas that are important to the Tower family.

We recently spoke with Chuck Colston, Tower Foundation Program Officer, who shared his perspective on the efforts of the Coalition.

Q: Why did the Tower Foundation choose to fund The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition?

First, the project aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s goal of eliminating stigma related to mental illness. We don’t get many applications that focus primarily on the issue of stigma. Secondly, we were quite impressed with the Coalition’s commitment to normalize the conversation about mental health by raising community awareness. By sitting at many of the early meetings, it became clear to us that the group was gaining momentum.

Q: What has the response been from the community?

Join the Conversation has been well received by the community. I’ve heard other grant partners and colleagues refer to the campaign. The Foundation is very pleased with the campaign. Just last month, we featured the campaign in our Annual Highlights.

Q: How does this campaign align with other community initiatives your Foundation supports?

This campaign fits into our Community Change portfolio. Community Change grants often involve collaborative work intended to effect community-wide and/or systems-level change. This type of work requires multiple partners working together to achieve a common goal.

“The project aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s goal of eliminating stigma related to mental illness.”
Chuck Colston