Quell Foundation Masquerade Ball Raises Over One Million for First Responder Wellness Programming

October 20, 2021

The Quell Foundation proudly announces the 6th Annual Masquerade Ball, presented by FirstNet, Built with AT&T, and U.S. Bank, raised over one million dollars to fund a recently launched program to normalize a new culture for mental wellness in the first responder community by building resilient mindsets at work, home and into retirement through trusted and proven educational resources.

“To say that our expectations have been exceeded feels like an understatement,” said Quell Foundation Executive Director Renee Wilk. “The Quell Foundation is immensely proud that we could come to Minneapolis and share a message of hope, passion, and perseverance after the tumultuous eighteen months the city has experienced, particularly within its first responder communities. To shine a light on supporting those who support us is what we are all about.” 

Minnesota’s own Brian Murray, CEO of Ryan Companies, was honored for his work as a champion in his efforts to end the stigma associated with having a mental illness.

“My message tonight is for everyone – but especially men – as we often hold it all inside, share nothing and fail to seek professional help. Thinking we can deal with it all on our own tragically often leads to success at suicide. Mental illness is REAL, COMMON, and most importantly TREATABLE.”

Other notable guest speakers included:

Chris Fields, Oklahoma City Fire Department, (ret.) spoke to stigma in the first responder field, particularly in the fire department. 

“People call us heroes; we say we are just doing our job. Whatever we choose to call it, we cannot do our job for everybody else until we first take care of ourselves and our families.”

Fardowsa Hassan, Quell Scholarship recipient and recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Integrated Behavioral Health dual degree program.

“The Quell Foundation has made an impact in making access to resources and further education for students like myself across the nation.”

The evening culminated with a private performance by local rockstar Dessa who also shared her personal story with mental health. 

Special acknowledgments to Masquerade Ball co-chairs Sara Ratner and Reba Dominski.

The Foundation will hold the 2022 Masquerade Ball in Newport, R.I. on October 29th at the Newport Marriott. 

Sponsors for the event include FirstNet, Built with AT&T, U.S. Bank, Aetna, Zudy, Allina Health, the Culp Family Foundation, McKinsey & Co., MOD Worldwide, and Ryan Companies.

View the live stream of the event on The Foundation’s YouTube Channel here.