25th Annual Benefits of Laughter Sets Record for Fundraising for Mental Health Financial Aid

On Thursday, October 20, 2022, Skyland Trail hosted the 25th annual Benefits of Laughter, the signature fundraising event for the nonprofit psychiatric treatment organization in Atlanta. The event raised $1,289,596 to support the Mark C. West Financial Aid Program at Skyland Trail.

The total of nearly $1.3 million in gifts received leading up to the 2022 event surpassed the 2021 event fundraising record and is expected to continue to rise through additional donations. Since the inaugural Benefits of Laughter in 1998, attendees from the Atlanta philanthropic community have helped raise more than $16.5 million in total for the evidence-based mental health treatment services at Skyland Trail.

Financial aid allows teen and adult clients in treatment at Skyland Trail to engage in and complete psychiatric residential treatment and day treatment programs. Clients benefit from evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) as well as holistic wellness programs like art, music, and horticultural therapy; fitness and nutrition counseling; life skills training; and vocational and academic services.

Nearly 600 guests at the St. Regis Atlanta in Buckhead learned about the holistic approach to treatment at Skyland Trail through a video highlighting expressive therapies—such as horticultural, music, art, and recreational therapies—and their role in whole-person recovery from mental illness.

The event also recognized members of the Georgia General Assembly in attendance who recently sponsored several key bills to improve access to mental health care for Georgians.

“I love this event,” said Beth Finnerty, Skyland Trail President and CEO. “Each year, we’re able to introduce new people to Skyland Trail. At Benefits of Laughter, they hear stories of hope and of lives changed. They meet people whose son, daughter, sister, or friend found a path to a better future at Skyland Trail.”

The success of Benefits of Laugher is due to the efforts of volunteer leaders. The event was co-chaired by Ginny Brewer and Sally Singletary. Jim Kerr served as chair of the corporate committee. The patron committee chairs were Kay and Jim Douglass and Swati and Rahul Patel.

Support from the Atlanta community was led by diamond sponsors: Atlantic American; Gray Television; Cox Enterprises; Delta Airlines; and Georgia Power.

Platinum sponsors included: Genuine Parts Company; Invesco, the Isdell Family Foundation, King & Spaulding, the Lupin Foundation, The J.B. Fuqua Foundation, Edwina and Tom Johnson, Betsy and Mark West, and Margie and Robert Wynne.

Gold sponsors included: Angel Oak Companies; Arrow Exterminators; Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty; Brown & Brown; Crawford Investment Counsel; the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; First Horizon; Georgia Banking Company; Homrich Berg Wealth Management; Jackson Healthcare; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Montag Wealth Management; Resurgens Technology Partners; WDG Real Estate Partners; Meg and Jeff Arnold; Jennifer and Tom Bell; Liz and Frank Blake/ Michele and Patrick Boushka; Kit and David Bowlin; Ginny and Charles Brewer; Christmas Creek Charitable Fund; Colliers International; the ELK Foundation; Duval and Rex Fuqua; Lorre and George Gaudiosi; Anne and Berny Gray; the Gay and Erksine Love Foundation; Patrice and Ernest Greer and Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Rand and Seth Hagen; Beth and Tommy Holder; Kristin and Jim Howard; Beth and Don Inman; Frances and Jim Kerr; Carla Knobloch; Amy and Nevin Kreisler; Kelly Loeffler and Jeff Sprecher; Lorin and Matt Middelthon; Karen and Richard Parker; Patty and Doug Reid; Andrea and Tim Rollins; Tricia and Maurice Rosenbaum; Beth and Jerry Shaifer; and Sally and Ross Singletary.

Silver sponsors included: Alston & Bird; Wendy and Neal Aronson; BlackRock; Nancy and Doug Bryant and Sherlock’s Wine Merchant; CBRE; Catherine and Lloyd Clark; Leslie and Stan Conway; Donna and Chip Davidson; Kay and Jim Douglass; Nan and Ed Easterlin; Fulcrum Equity Partners; Goldman Sachs & Co.; Rebecca and Sanjay Gupta; Susan and Jim Hannan; Roya and Bahman Irvani; Jane and Clay Jackson; Mary and Neil Johnson; Stacey and Don Leebern; Kim and Greg Marks; Swati and Rahul Patel; Maria and Tim Tassopoulos; and Carrie and Scott Taylor.

Bronze sponsors included: Betsy and Scott Akers; AT&T; the John and Rosemary Brown Family Foundation; Shannon and Stan Dixon; Carol and Charles Doty; Beth Finnerty and David Martin; Cindy and John Ferguson; Amy Kim and John Gira; Elizabeth and Sheffield Hale; the Home Depot Foundation; Barby and Bert Levy; Arnall Golden Gregory Private Wealth; NAI Brannen Goddard; New South Construction; Christine and Bill Ragland; Julie and Ty Smith; USI Insurance Services; Michelle and Steve Sullivan; Olivia and Zach Wall; and Beth and Julian Williamson.

The Atlantan served as a media sponsor.