Humble Beginnings: 1984–1997
Established in 1984 by Thad and Alice Eure, the Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness is a Raleigh, North Carolina non-profit organization aimed at discovering the causes of, and potential cures for, mental illness.
In 1989, after Thad’s passing, employees of his restaurants decided to honor his memory by raising money for the Foundation of Hope. They called their event the Thad Eure, Jr. Walk for Hope. Spearheaded by Wyndy Hoover, Jill Highsmith, and Henk Schuitemaker, the goal was to raise awareness of the Foundation’s mission, and to help fund grants and projects that would lead to new treatments.
Approximately 200 participants raised $30,000 at the first walk, which stretched 12 miles between Thad and his wife Alice’s first restaurant, the Angus Barn, and their last, 42nd Street Oyster Bar.
“That first year was a gift from Angus Barn employees in memory of my father. We never dreamed that the event would grow into the huge success it is today,” commented Shelley Eure Belk, the Foundation’s executive director and Thad and Alice’s youngest daughter. “Every year since 1989, we’ve seen greater and greater participation. [My sister] Van, [my brother] Thad, and I can never sufficiently thank everyone for keeping our parents’ legacy alive and growing it so strongly.”
In October of 1997, shortly after Alice’s death and just nine days before the 9th annual Walk, employees of the Angus Barn decided to rename the event in loving memory of both Thad and Alice.
A Stronger Foundation: 1997–Present
Today, the annual Walk is managed by the Eures’ oldest daughter, Van, who also operates the Angus Barn. Held on the second Sunday in October, the Walk for Hope attracts over 3,000 participants and raises over $400,000 each year. In 2008, it was joined by the concurrent Race for Steak, a USA Track & Field Certified run with 5K and 10K routes.
Additional events include the George Thanhauser Bike for Hope, a cycling marathon held each spring, and the Evening of Hope, an autumn charity gala and auction held at the elegant Pavilion at the Angus Barn.
In its nearly 30 years of operation, the Foundation has awarded over $5 million to 128 research grants; these seed grants have, in turn, leveraged an additional $145 million from the National Institute of Health. The Foundation has also given over $320,000 to 36 community service grants, shoring up resources for local organizations who work directly with North Carolina’s mentally ill.
Perhaps David Rubinow, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, said it best: “The studies that the Foundation helped fund offer the promise of identifying underlying mechanisms of and new treatments for a range of serious, debilitating mental illnesses, from schizophrenia and alcoholism to bipolar disorder and postpartum depression. The Foundation of Hope is a treasure for the people of North Carolina.”