NPO 019: Mark Mullins (Just Live Inc.)

Today's Guest: Mark Mullins
I am a graduate of Dominican University in River Forest.  I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and attended Fenwick HS. I have been married for 36 years to Eileen Nash and have 3 children.  For the past 32 years, I have worked for the E. J. Mullins Co. Inc.. E. J. Mullins Co. is an industrial food brokerage firm that represents a variety of food ingredient manufactures from around the world.  I have been a member of the Just Live Inc. board for last 2 1/2 years and President for last 1 1/2 years. Just Live Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Kenosha, WI. Just Live Inc. purpose is to provide suicide preventing education to our community, financial support to related supportive organizations, and emotional support to anyone affected by suicide, depression and mental illness.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Just Live Inc.
Just Live Inc describes that their mission is to provide suicide prevention education to their community, financial support to related supportive organizations, and emotional support to anyone affected by suicide, depression and mental illness, so that others may Just Live more positively. Based in the southern Wisconsin area of Kenosha, Just Live Inc has been raising awareness and funds and then funneling those funds to organizations and university research departments that will also help move their mission forward.

Lessons Learned:
Mark shared passionately about several aspects of his work with Just Live Inc. Some of the highlights include:

1. Music Festival-- Be clear what your goals are for events. In this case, they ended up shifting away from an entry cost model and pushed for donations, high end raffle items, sponsors and sales from food and merchandise. With a goal of creating this fun opportunity for their community that also provides access to Talking Tents and awareness raising, it was more important to make the event accessible to all than to require an entry fee. 

2. Talk about sustainability with your board early and often. It's important to recognize the emotional energy and sometimes physical energy required to run the organization and the events. Checking in with your volunteers and encouraging honest conversation can be very helpful for your long range planning.

3. Explore new opportunities, while staying true to your organization. After Mark's brother shared news about research being done at Marquette, Mark talked with the board and then went to Marquette to learn more. Just Live now supports research to identify more effective drugs to support people who struggle with mental health illnesses such as depression. In order for this investment to occur, Mark had to do the research and due diligence to ensure that this opportunity did align with Just Live's mission and that the board would feel comfortable with the investment arrangement.

4. If you work in an advocacy or awareness raising organization - always be selling. Get out in front of people as frequently as possible! For Mark, this means attending local fairs, participating in parades and of course making sure there are flyers and pamphlets available at their music festival.

Story of Good: Barb and Hopeline
Barb was an emergency responder, which means that she has had the experience of being the first to show up after someone has died because of suicide. This can be a tough experience, but Barb has channeled that experience into an amazing organization - Hopeline. Hopeline is a service providing support via text to anyone in need of help or hope.