The History of Karla Smith Foundation

  • Karla diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 21

    Karla diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 21
    She had experienced symptoms at age 19 but for 2 years, we did not know what was wrong. The bipolar disorder diagnosis came from a hospital in New Mexico. After learning about bipolar disorder, our family agreed the diagnosis was accurate.
  • Karla dies by suicide at age 26

    Karla dies by suicide at age 26
    Karla died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early afternoon on Monday, January 13, 2003.
  • Karla Smith Foundation incorporated as 501c3 non-profit

    Karla Smith Foundation incorporated as 501c3 non-profit
    Tom, Fran, and Kevin sign the legal papers incorporating the foundation and begin the process to clearly define the mission and market the cause.
  • Published: The Tattered Tapestry, A Family’s Search for Peace with Bipolar Disorder

    Published:  The Tattered Tapestry, A Family’s Search for Peace with Bipolar Disorder
    This book is the story of Karla's life, told from the perspective of Tom, her father. It also includes the perspective from Kevin, her twin brother, and writings from Karla herself.
  • First Karla Smith Foundation support group meeting in Belleville, IL

    First Karla Smith Foundation support group meeting in Belleville, IL
    For family members of someone living with mental illness. 2 people attended.
  • First Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 210

    First Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 210
    Held at Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL
  • KSF co-sponsors 1st Erase the Stigma conference in Belleville, IL

    KSF co-sponsors 1st Erase the Stigma conference in Belleville, IL
  • Receives the Charles E. Rubey Award

    Receives the Charles E. Rubey Award
    Receives the Charles E. Rubey Award from the Chicago-based L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach Suicide Survivors), as an organization leading the way in helping people cope with the loss from suicide. Tom, Fran, and Kevin accept the award and speak to an audience of more than 700 about the mission of the Karla Smith Foundation.
  • Published: "A Balanced Life"

    Published:  "A Balanced Life"
    The book, written by Tom Smith, focuses on the 9 strategies of Medication, Education, Counseling, Acceptance, Self-Esteem, Warning Signs, Self-Care, Network, and Faith. It also includes stories from KSF support group members using the strategies.
  • Partners with BringChange2Mind

    Partners with BringChange2Mind
    BringChange2Mind is a mental illness anti-stigma and awareness campaign co-founded by actress Glenn Close
  • 3rd Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 265

    3rd Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 265
    The dinner auction moves to a new venue, the Four Points by Sheraton.
  • Hires 1st part-time employee, Emily Smith

    Hires 1st part-time employee, Emily Smith
    Emily's role is the Director of Marketing and Development, as well as acting as the Chairperson for the annual dinner auction
  • Hosts Awareness events with Glenn Close in St. Louis

    Hosts Awareness events with Glenn Close in St. Louis
    Dinner gala at Four Seasons attended by 130 Friday. Then a Saturday Cardinals game, in which Ms. Close threw out the first-pitch while the BC2M PSA was shown on the jumbotron. KSF had 21 corporate sponsors for 'Change A Mind, Change A Life.'
  • 4th Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction

    4th Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction
    Held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Fairview Heights, attended by 375 people, 150 of which were new attendees to the annual dinner auction.
  • Launches St. Louis Support Group for Mental Illness

    Under the direction of Jim and Linda Murphey, the St. Louis support group for families of those with a mental illness begins.
  • KSF hires 1st full-time employee, Chris Hendrix

    KSF hires 1st full-time employee, Chris Hendrix
    Chris' title is Director of Programs and Events.
  • Wins Region V Family Leadership Grant

    Wins Region V Family Leadership Grant
  • Hires Mary Pat Dejarnette

    Hires 2nd full-time employee, Mary Pat Dejarnette, as the Region V Family Leadership Coordinator.
  • Awarded Grant for Statewide Family Leadership Coordinator

    KSF employee Chris Hendrix is selected as the Statewide Family Leadership Coordinator for Illinois.
  • Emily Smith named Executive Director

    Emily Smith named Executive Director
    Emily becomes the 3rd full-time employee of KSF.