Friendship Place (FP) was originally a program of NAMI Neenah-Menasha, which began around 1988. NAMI started the drop-in center for people with mental illness, which originally used church facilities, and then moved to the present location in 1991. In 1999 the United Way of the Fox Cities requested that NAMI review the organizational structure of FP to consider adding a full-time staff position to direct the operation. In addition, they requested that FP operate more autonomously from NAMI. As a result of this request, a steering committee was formed to study the situation. The Steering Committee made the recommendation to the NAMI Board and United Way to establish FP as a separate 501 (c) 3 corporation. A corporation was formed soon after, and a full-time executive director was sought to oversee the operation. This was 2001, the new beginning of Friendship Place, Inc.
As a result of this Friendship Place has been very successful, because the participants who attend claim it as their own. A “family atmosphere” exists, where people with mental illness can safely gather in a clean, non-judgmental, comfortable setting where they can lead a more normal life, develop interpersonal relationship skills, and build self-esteem.
Thank you to all that have helped bring enthusiasm and commitment in order to make Friendship Place, Inc. what it is today. May Friendship Place, Inc. continue to serve the persons with chronic mental illnesses of the Fox Cities with the quality of care it has provided over the past decade.