Congressman gives $10 mil to support mental health at Furman

More on the donation and what the school plans to do with the funds
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 12:43 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Congressman David Trone and his wife June gifted $10 million to Furman University to support the mental health on the campus, according to the university.

The university said $8.5 million will be dedicated to student mental health services and $1.5 million to support Furman’s Hillel, the Jewish Student Association.

“As a proud alumnus of Furman University, I am honored by the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way on an issue of great personal importance,” said Trone, a Democratic U.S. representative from Maryland who also is founder and co-owner of the retail chain Total Wine and More.

The $8.5 million for mental health will transform services, enabling the university to reach more students in need of care earlier, said Furman officials.

The gift makes Trone, a 1977 Furman graduate and a member of the Board of Trustees, one of the university’s largest living donors.

Furman said Trone has a background in mental health as he has championed many mental health and addiction initiatives in Congress. He co-led the U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, is founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, and has spoken publicly about his nephew Ian Trone’s death from a fentanyl overdose.

In a recent survey of Furman students, the university found 65 percent said the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their mental health and 63 percent said it affected their loneliness and isolation.

“The impact of the Trones’ gift will kickstart a more integrative approach to mental health and launch us on a trajectory of prioritizing wellbeing as part of a student’s educational pathway,” said Vice President for Student Life Connie Carson.

The remaining $1.5 million will create the Hillel Endowment Fund to provide permanent support to expand and enhance the Furman Hillel for a more robust Jewish life for all students and the broader community, according to the university.

The Hillel also provides important aspects of mental fitness by giving students a place where they feel welcomed and valued, and where they can satisfy their spiritual needs.

“David and June have once again identified a tremendous need among our students,” Davis said. “We are grateful for their generous spirit and we applaud their leadership and their willingness to make a difference.”

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