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Ryan Johnson, Published July 16 2013

Stephanie Goetz Foundation adds new partner

FARGO – The Stephanie Goetz Foundation has added a new partner in its goal of helping children and teens with mental illness get the support they need.

Local TV news anchor Goetz said the nonprofit she announced in February will still have a relationship with the Dakota Medical Foundation, working with its consultants and participating in the annual fundraising event Giving Hearts Day.

But she said her foundation has grown at an “exponential rate” over the past five months, and it’s now operating under the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation.

“Dakota Medical Foundation has so many different programs and funds going on, and when you’re like us with our foundation which has had thankfully a lot of growth and also a lot of need to progress at an exponential rate, we’re able to get that day-to-day help and assistance from the F-M Area Foundation,” she said.

Goetz said the new partner has the staff to help the nonprofit with accounting, grant writing and working toward gaining its own tax-exempt status.

Dakota Medical Foundation President Pat Traynor said the new arrangement will build on the strengths of the group, which can help with fundraising and consulting, while allowing Goetz to get more help.

“We see it as a good thing,” he said. “You should use all these foundations to advance good.”

Traynor said the Stephanie Goetz Foundation had a “nothing short of spectacular” performance on Giving Hearts Day this year. Despite only being announced two days before the event, the foundation received about $31,000 in donations and matches.

Development Director Sheila Harris said the F-M Area Foundation has helped several new nonprofits get on their feet over its 50-year history. She said the Stephanie Goetz Foundation is off to a good start, building on Goetz’s name recognition and a powerful goal.

“We just want to see her program be successful, and there’s a lot of donors out there that can relate to the causes that she’s championing,” Harris said.

Goetz, then a 17-year-old in Red Wing, Minn., lost her older brother Cameron to suicide in 2002 after a battle with depression. Her foundation aims to honor her late brother through raising awareness that getting help for mental illness isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

She said the foundation is working to get triage therapists in Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead schools who are trained to identify and help those struggling with mental illness.

Goetz said she’s also working on videos for students, parents and teachers explaining mental illness and warning signs that someone needs help.

“There’s obviously a huge, huge need for it, and people in the community are responding,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is work as quickly as we can to address the issue and start something to help our kids in the community.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587