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Augusta University announces $1M donation in first few hours of 1-day fund campaign

Augusta University
Augusta University(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After raising more than $1 million in gifts last fall, Augusta University’s Augusta Gives campaign already took a huge step toward breaking that record with just one gift.

Augusta Gives officially began at 5:32 a.m. today and ends at midnight after 18 hours and 28 minutes of fundraising.

By 10 a.m., AU had announced that Emily Baumann, a retired music therapist and community supporter, is donating $1 million.

Baumann’s gift is meant, in part, to more access to youths in need of mental health care. The money will go toward the endowment of the Emily S. Baumann Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy fund to pay for trainees to provide therapy.

Emily S. Baumann
Emily S. Baumann(WRDW)

Since the fund was established in March 2016, it has garnered nearly $285,000 in donations from more than 50 donors contributing to the fund as of today. The funding has also provided more than 3,500 hours of therapy sessions to date.

“As a music therapist, I worked in the area of mental health for many years. So, I understand the importance of therapy, especially for our young people today,” Baumann said. “I see all of these horrible things they are facing and it seems there is stress everywhere they turn, especially during this past year.”

With the nationwide shortage of pediatric psychiatrists and some health insurance agencies not covering behavioral health services, children are often left waiting for months to get the help they need, said Dr. Vaughn McCall, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

“We are faced with a vicious cycle,” said McCall. “On one side, we have children with mental health problems who need psychotherapy, but their parents can’t afford it and their insurance won’t pay for it. And on the other side are the child and adolescent psychiatry fellows who need to be trained to provide that therapy, but who can’t do so with these children because of Medicaid rules.”

McCall said the university is “incredibly grateful” to Baumann for the funds.

AU President Brooks A. Keel said: “The generous contribution of Emily Baumann will allow Augusta University to meet the needs of one of Georgia’s most vulnerable populations – its youth – by ensuring our state’s young people have access to respected mental health experts and resources both now and into the future.”

Funds raised throughout Augusta Gives will help the university address its greatest priorities. Donors will be able to choose an initiative to support that means the most to them, or in which they believe their gift could have the greatest impact.

You can be a part of Augusta Gives by doing three things:

  • Give: Make your gift online at augustagives.com.
  • Share: Use #augustagives to help spread the word on social media.
  • Post: Take a selfie and post to #augustagives to show your AU pride.

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