Another layer of history in alcohol and drug recovery was added Friday on an already historical weekend that celebrates the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous 78 years ago in Akron.
While Interval Brotherhood Home (IBH) is a separate entity from A.A. and their treatment missions are different, their goal of helping addicts recover to lead sober and hopeful lives is the same.
On Friday it was announced that IBH Foundation’s board of directors is establishing a $12 million charitable fund at the Akron Community Foundation, making it the largest gift in the community foundation’s 58-year history.
“The IBH Foundation Fund,” according to a news release from both agencies, “will be used primarily to maintain and improve facilities at the IBH Addiction Recovery Center, a 10-building, 154-acre treatment center in Coventry Township.”
IBH Foundation board Chairman Tim Killian called the announcement “a great day for IBH,” which was founded in 1970.
Killian sees the fund at Akron Community Foundation as a vehicle to create sustainable funding for IBH’s Addiction Recovery Center’s infrastructure, programming and nonresidential services, which all figure into clients’ long-term recovery. He called the partnership a win-win situation for the community in terms of treatment and recovery and increasing the overall visibility of the work of IBH.
“While IBH needs money to provide treatment, the IBH Foundation needs money to subsidize the infrastructure and provide supplemental services necessary for long-term recovery,” Killian noted. “It’s more than treatment: It’s about being there for the long term and creating a permanent lifeline and support system.
“This partnership with the Akron Community Foundation means we will be providing this support in our community forever.”
Plans for this massive venture stemmed from a conversation Daniel Pohl, IBH secretary and past chairman of the corporation, had in his front yard with Mark Alio, chairman of the Akron Community Foundation board, some seven or eight months ago.
“The foundation’s job is to blend that money and protect it. What impresses me about the work of the Akron Community Foundation is the word ‘perpetuity,’ which means forever. That means long after we’re all gone that money is protected for the operation of the home,” Pohl said.
Pohl also spoke passionately about IBH’s mission of rebuilding lives.
“When we get clients out there, they often need dental work, probably haven’t been to a doctor since God knows when. [IBH might] help with getting their high school education and some form of job training in addition to getting sober — all helping them to getting back to become a productive citizen,” he said.
John T. Petures Jr., president and CEO of the Akron Community Foundation, is equally thrilled with the arrangement.
“As a community foundation, we are uniquely positioned to be an impartial and prudent steward of a nonprofit organization’s funds,” he said. “We offer them the peace of mind that their assets are managed responsibly and the assurance that their donors’ gifts are used for the purpose they intended, not just now, but forever. It gives us great pride that IBH has entrusted this legacy with us.”
IBH Foundation is among more than 70 agency funds started at the Akron Community Foundation “by nonprofits seeking a predictable source of income for their organization,” noted Tina Boyes, vice president of marketing and communications for the Akron Community Foundation. “Agency funds offer the flexibility to meet immediate needs while preserving assets for the nonprofit’s long-term mission. The community foundation protects those assets from being spent for any other purpose.”
John “Jack” R. Mahne, IBH board chairman, in giving the partnership his blessing, cited the urgency of IBH’s mission with these government statistics: “There are over 23 million people ages 12 and older who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Each year, over 100,000 people die as a result of addiction. This is equivalent to a plane carrying 274 people crashing every day of the year. And federal, state and local governments spend nearly a half trillion dollars treating addiction. Forty percent of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related. ... This gives you some idea of the challenges we face.”
Mahne said IBH currently receives about 80 percent of its operating budget from the ADM board of Summit County and the city of Akron to provide 60 beds for their treatment program.
“Treatment lasts 60 to 90 days and costs between $11,000 to $16,000, depending upon the length of stay” at the 60-bed facility, Mahne said.
Other members of the IBH leadership on hand for the announcement, which was made at the Akron Community Foundation board meeting, were Donald P. Finn, executive director of IBH; Ed Stanford, IBH’s director of finance and administration; and Vince Murdocco, former IBH chairman.
When Finn took over the post vacated by the Rev. Sam Ciccolini — a well-known Roman Catholic priest and the only executive director the home had known — nearly two years ago, he checked himself into the residential treatment facility to get a better understanding of what life is like for its clients.
Ciccolini served six months in federal prison starting last year for filing false tax returns and committing bank fraud nearly a decade ago. He also admitted to embezzling $1.28 million from the IBH Foundation, but paid it back as he was being investigated. He was never charged with theft.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.