Philanthropy is often an expression of connection and meaning, and for Joan Collins, giving to McLean has been about both gratitude and reducing stigma.
From gifts to improve patient comfort to bolstering research and supporting the hospital overall with unrestricted gifts, Collins has been an insightful donor to McLean for nearly 35 years.
“I think people aren’t interested in mental health until it affects them, or their children, personally,” she said. “It’s important to be open about our experiences. It’s also incredibly satisfying to support an organization that is consistently ranked #1.”
Collins is a member of the McLean Board of Visitors and the Mary Belknap Society—McLean’s annual giving group—and has included McLean in her estate plans. Her support has been felt in both broad and specific ways, and she seeks to support the programs, projects, and people that feel most important in the moment.
In 1989, Collins established the Joan M. Collins Investigator Endowed Fund to support research into affective disorders, which has come to focus on women’s mental health. The impetus behind this generosity was Collins’ own experience with decades-long depression.
She credits Dr. Alex Vuckovic, medical director at The Pavilion at McLean, and the late Dr. John Gunderson with saving her life and giving her the skills to manage her illness.