In 1957 doctors told Lura Lovell her son Rob was born with severe brain damage and would never read or speak. They were wrong. She worked diligently with him and taught him to read, speak and write. She researched what services and opportunities were available – and there were very few. She sought out places for him to go where he could thrive.
A tireless advocate, she met two other mothers who also had children with severe mental illness. Together they formed the nonprofit organization BOOST, a place where families dealing with mental illness could come to share information and resources. Their early grassroots efforts helped establish the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Family-to-Family program that continues to this day.
Eventually Rob was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, schizophrenia, epilepsy and depression. Yet he persevered and completed high school at age 20. At that time, finding housing for adults with disabilities was another challenge. That’s when David Lovell co-founded the nonprofit Neighborhood Properties – raising funds and helping acquire, rehabilitate and operate residential units that provided support for adults living with mental illness.
For decades the Lovell family worked for and funded programs that promote mental health locally and nationally. Today the Lovell Foundation continues to serve their very personal passion by supporting initiative-level work in this focus area.