Clubhouse Model Recognized for Extraordinary Work in Alleviating Human Suffering

For Immediate Release    

Independence Center

Jamie Clark

(314) 880-5403



Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Awarded to Global Community Mental Health Organization


November 5, 2015 – For the first time in its history, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded its prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize to Fountain House/Clubhouse International of which Independence Center is a member. Each year, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation presents the award, the world’s largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering. In 2014, an independent international jury selected the worldwide innovative clubhouse program for its success in helping people living with mental illness lead productive lives.

“It is with enormous gratitude that Fountain House/Clubhouse International accepts the Hilton Humanitarian Prize,” said Kenneth Dudek, President of Fountain House. “The prize belongs to the courageous and hardworking people connected to clubhouses everywhere With this award, the Hilton Foundation and its international jurors recognize mental illness as a global humanitarian crisis and acknowledge Fountain House/Clubhouse International’s evidenced-based approach to empowering people living with mental illness throughout the world.”

About 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental and behavioral disorders, according to the World Health Organization. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in four people in the United States develop some kind of mental illness during their lives, most often during younger years. Mental disorders are a factor in 90 percent of the nearly one million global suicides each year.

“The problem is staggering in its global impact and scale with significant repercussions that adversely affect millions of families and society as a whole,” said Steven M. Hilton, Chairman, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “Mental illness is an issue that touches significant areas the Hilton Foundation has been working on for many years, such as chronic homelessness and substance use. The Fountain House/Clubhouse International program of social relationships and meaningful “work ordered day” has literally saved thousands of lives over the past 66 years. Its program is a beacon of hope for those living with mental illness who are too often consigned to lives of homelessness, imprisonment, social stigma and isolation.”

Fountain House/Clubhouse International directly affects the lives of more than 100,000 people who participate in 340 clubhouses in 32 countries. The concept of membership underpins every aspect of the community. Clubhouse members have shared ownership and shared responsibility for their community upon a unique program of the “work-ordered day” that provides structure for their lives by assigning them duties to work side-by-side with staff to run the clubhouse and aiding them to  re-enter the work force.

“I have been moved by the fact that Fountain House purposefully depends on people with mental illness for its daily operation and future from answering phones to designing and running programs and serving on the board of directors,” said actress Glenn Close, who has been a volunteer at Fountain House, New York and previously nominated the organization for the Hilton Prize. “Shared responsibility builds self esteem and alleviates the stigma and isolation that so often haunt people with mental disorders.”

Jennifer Higginbotham (Independence Center Associate Director)

& Alan Doyle (Director of Fountain House Institute)