$6,000 Grant Supports Mental Health Services in Northern Kentucky’s Schools


ethan’s purpose receives grant from local giving circle give where you live nky

Give Where You Live’s second meeting of 2022 took place June 17, where members voted to grant this quarter’s funds to Ethan’s Purpose, a foundation established to address mental health and suicide prevention.

“These meetings are always a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Northern Kentucky’s nonprofits” said Nancy Grayson, President and CEO of Horizon Community Funds. “We heard a very impactful pitch for Ethan’s Purpose and look forward to seeing what more they can do with this grant.”

Ethan’s Purposed was established after Debbie and Richard Zegarra lost their 16-year-old son, Ethan, to suicide in 2018. They made it their mission to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Ethan’s Purpose was started with donations from the community, along with part of Ethan’s college fund. The foundation supports local schools’ efforts to support students who have anxiety, depression, grief, and struggle to fit in socially. They help provide individual and group counseling and supply schools with Social Emotional Learning curriculum for their students.

“The grant received from Give Where You Live comes at a critical time for Ethan’s Purpose and the community that we serve,” stated Debbie Zegarra, Ethan’s mother and founding member of Ethan’s Purpose. “As a teacher in Boone County, I saw firsthand the challenges our students faced as they returned to in-person learning amid the Covid pandemic. Stress, anxiety, and grief are at an all-time high as students and school staff tried to navigate the transition from near isolation to community learning again. The focus of Ethan’s Purpose has always been promoting good student mental health by supplementing what school counselors and psychologists are already doing by providing small group counseling and supplies for book clubs promoting self-awareness and emotional regulation. Suicide is preventable and by raising awareness through education and supporting the youth in our community, together we can make a difference. Thank you to the members of Give Where You Live for recognizing and supporting our mission and helping us to keep the conversation going.”

“The mental health challenges in kids today are vast, which makes this grant even more important,” said Woody Mueller of Mueller Financial, Inc. “We are blessed to have an organization like Ethan’s Purpose doing such critical work in our community.”

Give Where You Live NKY is a joint initiative presented by Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky and Mueller Financial, Inc. VonLehman serves as this year’s sponsor. The format of Give Where You Live lends itself to busy community members who are looking for an easy way to give back to nonprofits that serve Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties. Participating members nominate a nonprofit of their choice, and three names are randomly selected and briefly discussed by the group. The members then vote on their favorite of the three organizations, and each member contributes $100 for the grant to the winning organization. This process takes place in under an hour, just four times per year.

In addition to Ethan’s Purpose, members heard pitches for GO Pantry, a non-profit community outreach providing food for hungry kids in Northern Kentucky, and Care Net Pregnancy Services of Northern Kentucky, a pregnancy center that provides pregnancy and sexual health services in Florence, Cold Spring, and Williamstown. The recipient of the first quarter’s grant was Teal We Find A Cure, a nonprofit with the mission to fund research that gives women the early detection screening they need to beat ovarian cancer.