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Pathway to Peace: The Patricia and Jessica Lutz Foundation

Pathway to Peace: The Patricia and Jessica Lutz Foundation was founded from a heartbreaking event that took the lives of Patricia and Jessica Lutz more than three years ago. The mother and daughter were spending quality time together on a walk near their home in Colerain Township when they were hit and killed by a vehicle driving off the side of the road.

Patricia was much loved in the community, having worked in the local school system for almost 40 years, most recently as a guidance counselor at Glen Este and Amelia High Schools.  She was devoted to her job and the kids, and always went the extra mile for anyone in need.  Her daughter, Jessica, had recently moved home from Los Angeles to enter nursing school.  The two women were very close, sharing a deep faith and compassion for others.

“How do we take this tragic experience and turn it into something positive?” says Joe Lutz, Patricia’s son and Jessica’s older brother. “In picking up the pieces, we were inspired to create a charity that would create a legacy, and honor the memory of these women in a significant and impactful way.”

Pathway to Peace: The Patricia and Jessica Lutz Foundation was born with a mission to keep the generous spirit of Patricia and Jessica alive by raising awareness and support for mental health treatment. Both women had a deep understanding of the unique challenges that come from mental health issues.  “The name of the charity originated from a line in the Serenity Prayer which reads ‘accepting hardships as the PATHWAY TO PEACE,’ says Joe.  “We know that my mom and little sister were praying together on that fateful walk – so this line was particularly meaningful to us.  Our mission is to help guide people from hardship, onto a pathway to peace.” 

“What impressed us most about GCB,” says Vince, Patricia’s husband of 42 years, “is that the majority of their staff is literally serving clients where the need is, in the community - on the street, in the jails, shelters, transitional housing - they are taking action where the action most needs to be!”   

“When we were first approached by the family over three years ago,” said GCB President and CEO Jeff O’Neil, “we were really excited to hear about their vision.  There’s a real synergy in missions between Pathway to Peace and GCB; we’re very thankful to them for believing in us.”

Since that first meeting, GCB has continued to grow to over 600 staff and 30,000 clients, including 8,000 with severe and persistent mental illness..

To date, Pathway to Peace, a 501c3 nonprofit, has donated $50,000 to GCB through various fundraising events.  “We are very much a small, grassroots charity,” says Joe. “Every single dollar is raised from scratch, which is why it’s so important that our goals align well with GCB’s. We see the power in what they do.”

 “We are incredibly grateful for Pathway to Peace’s kindness and generosity,” said GCB’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tracey Skale.  “Their support is making a difference to the population we serve; the most severely mentally ill who endure so many other different barriers.” 

The family members, including Joe, Vince and Jenna Schrenk, as well as family friend and board member Donna Hoffman, have plans to grow the Foundation, with even more events being planned for 2018, including a charity golf outing in the spring and a charity walk in the fall.  Further information can be found at www.pathwaytopeacefoundation.org  

“We don’t always have the opportunity to connect with funders at this level,” says Jeff. “When they have a deep understanding of the challenges our clients face every day, as well as a true appreciation of the reality of what we do, it makes the partnership all the more meaningful.”