Peltier match challenge spurs $356K in contributions to the Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler

Published on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 17:28 - Written by EMILY GUEVARA, eguevara@tylerpaper.com

More than $356,000 in year-end giving to the Samaritan Counseling Center will help provide quality, low-cost counseling to people who need it.

The donations came about because of a matching campaign initiated by Mary K. and Robert Peltier, of Tyler.

Though the couple initially committed $100,000 to the challenge, they later increased that amount to $200,000 when the Bob L. Herd Foundation became interested in a donation.

The Peltiers’ donation combined with a $100,000 contribution from the Herd Foundation and $56,000 from the public to reach the grand total.

“To say that we’re excited is a silly understatement of the potential of change that it can make in lives in 2017 and potentially into 2018,” Fonda Latham, the center’s executive director, said. “Really and truly because of the Peltiers’ generosity and willingness to make the challenge, they wanted to get people to hear the story and get people to think about the mission and be supportive of the center, and it worked.”

Ms. Latham said this year the center had 115 end-of-year donors compared with32 last year.

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“That really is about them being willing to extend the match to get people to pay attention,” she said.

The donated funds will go toward providing financial assistance to clients who need it.

Last year, the center served 1,291 clients at its Tyler, Lindale and Longview locations. Of those, 64 percent required financial assistance, Ms. Latham said.

“The mission of Samaritan is to provide quality counseling to people who otherwise might not have been able to afford it,” Ms. Latham said in December.

Mrs. Peltier said through her years of service on Samaritan Counseling Center’s board of directors, she has grown even more passionate about the importance of providing health care access for all people.

That passion particularly in the area of mental health is what prompted her and her husband to direct their end-of-year contributions to the center.

“It’s in my heart,” Mrs. Peltier said of the cause. “It’s in my husband’s. This is just something that’s important because it makes the world better.”

This week marks the counseling center’s fifth anniversary of serving clients.

The Samaritan Counseling Center is an interfaith, community based nonprofit that provides counseling services to all people with financial assistance available for those who need it.

In addition to the $356,000 donations, the counseling center also will receive about $17,000 in funds from the Shine Your Light Community campaign, which raised more than $170,000 for 10 local nonprofits organizations.

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Staff writer Cory McCoy contributed to this report.