When Limen House first opened in 1969 in Wilmington, folks didn’t really talk about what went on at the substance abuse recovery center. “You wouldn’t be unique today in not knowing who we are,” says its executive director, Michael Duffy. “But conversations about substance abuse, particularly in the past decade or so, have really changed. We’re hoping to make sure we can really put ourselves out there so everyone does know who we are and what we do.”
A 2021 endowment of $1 million from Paul and Linda McConnell is helping to make that a reality. The well-known local philanthropists have cultivated a relationship with Limen House that is more than just transactional. It’s a partnership almost 10 years in the making.
“Paul and Linda are both amazing, generous people who put their money where their mouth is,” Duffy says. “Our relationship was centered on the reputation of our good work and their concern for services the community needs.”
Thanks to the endowment, Limen House can continue to offer substance abuse and mental health services with zero financial obligation to those undergoing treatment, as well as expand the outpatient counseling services it began to offer in 2020 after its acquisition of mental health nonprofit TRIAD Addiction Recovery Services.
“We’ve merged these two great community organizations in the middle of the pandemic, which was challenging, to say the least,” Duffy says. “Part of the McConnells’ gift will go toward offering these critical mental health resources. It’s so much more than just a one-on-one therapist component.”
What Limen House gives, above all else, is real, whole-based healing, says Duffy, which sets it apart from other centers.
“People are broken when they come to us, and the first burden we lift is a financial one,” Duffy says. “People have exhausted all resources by the time they get here. They often have legal issues, are homeless, unemployed, have lost custody of their children and have very few if any family members still in their corner.”
Limen House’s services don’t stop at substance abuse. “We provide help to resolve legal issues, to find housing, to find a job,” Duffy continues. “This is whole healing. This is a real shot at physical and mental stability. It’s getting your life back. And, quite frankly, we couldn’t do any of this without support like the McConnells provide.”
Before he was the executive director, Duffy was a counselor. But before he was a counselor, he was an alumnus of the program. “That I came through the program is something I’m so proud of,” he says. “And the opportunity to be a part of someone else’s healing is an incredibly gift. My wildest dream for Limen House is that we’re here doing this for another 50 years.