MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV)-Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley hopes a local resident’s generosity will help them reach the finish line for a capital improvement project.

The nonprofit is building a new facility in Menasha. Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley offers services for those struggling with mental health and substance addictions and offers wellness screening for children in local school districts. 

Philanthropist Mary Beth Nienhaus has pledged to match all donations to the nonprofit up to $250,000. She is a former teacher and coach in Appleton and says the nonprofit’s work to provide wellness screening for students in local school districts inspired her to make the pledge.

Samaritan Counseling Center offers more than 12,000 wellness screens to students in 15 school districts in Eastern Wisconsin.

“I believe this project is part of the solution,” says Nienhaus.

Samaritan Counseling Center broke ground on the project in August.

“Having a facility to bring to the center conversations about mental health as a focus for the whole community,” says Rosangela Berbert who is the Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley.

On this Giving Tuesday, she hopes the community will consider donating to the project. She says they have raised about 90 percent of the $2.85 million they need. Nienhaus’ matching grant will help them finish off the last bit of the goal. 

“The ripple effect of this impact will affect our whole community and our whole community is going to be better because of this,” says Berbert.

She says the number of sessions they have done so far this year is on pace to be 19 percent more than last year. She says the continued impact of the pandemic is one of the reasons for the increase in people seeking counseling.

In the U.S., one in five people will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life.

“We believe that the pandemic brought to the surface many issues and many new fears, anxieties, and stressors come with it,” says Berbert.

To contribute to this nonprofit, click on this link.