$250,000 Raised to Support be nice. Mental Health Education for all Muskegon County Schools

GRAND  RAPIDS,  Mich.–The Mental Health Foundation will announce 100% funding for be nice. mental health education for Muskegon Schools during a Muskegon Chamber of Commerce meeting on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 am at the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor.

Jeff Elhart of Elhart Automotive in Holland Michigan, along with Larry Hines of Hines Corporation in Muskegon have raised $250,000 from area businesses and individuals to fully fund the be nice. program for five years. The complete list of donors and program logistics will be announced on Friday morning during the press conference. A fund called the” Wayne Elhart be nice. Memorial Fund” has been established through the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.
In March 2015, Jeff Elhart (Elhart Automotive of Holland, Michigan) lost his brother and business partner, Wayne Elhart to depression. In response to this tragic loss, Jeff, along with his family, have been on a transformative journey of grief, understanding, and hope. Jeff and his family have now created memorial funds within the Oceana Community Foundation, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, and the Holland Zeeland Area Community Foundation for the purpose of supporting matching funds for be nice. education in school districts within the community foundation’s (ISD District).

be nice. is a mental health education, bully and suicide prevention initiative that creates a positive, cultural change through simple, daily actions. be nice. is a self-starting curriculum and kit for schools, communities, and businesses that follows the model, N​otice, I​nvite, C​hallenge, E​mpower.

be  nice. provides comprehensive mental health education for elementary, middle, and high school students and can complement other mental health initiatives already established within schools. The be nice. program is currently active in 84 schools across West Michigan and Ohio and is rapidly expanding with increased desire from districts for mental health education and access to funds.

The first year investment for the be nice. kit is $1,500, plus an optional $500 fee for a professional kick-off assembly with special guest speakers and musicians. The second and third year renewal fee is $500, which includes updated lesson plans, additional online resources and marketing collateral. (

One in five people will develop a mental health condition at some point in time during their lives. Fifty percent of all mental illnesses develop by the age of 14, and in Kent County, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 18-24.


Founded in 1990, the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan provides ‘be nice.’ and ‘Live Laugh Love’ educational programs for schools and businesses throughout the midwest on mental health awareness, bullying and suicide prevention, and offers Mental Health First Aid certification courses. The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan strives to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness and works to ensure every individual is supported in their journey to a full, healthy life by educating and building awareness throughout the community.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan,the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Press Conference:   Friday, April 22   |   7:30-8:30am   Holiday Inn Muskegon-Harbor   939 3rd St, Muskegon, MI 49440

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