Portland lawyer, wife step up with $50,000 pledge to keep Brunswick mental health facility open — at least for now

Posted June 02, 2014, at 7:25 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Portland lawyer Daniel Lilley has come forward to offer a donation of $50,000 to support Sweetser’s Learning and Recovery Center in Brunswick.

The donation is expected to enable the facility, where adults with behavioral health problems have sought treatment and camaraderie for the last 12 years, to continue operating for another year. Sweetser had announced last week that it would have to close on June 30.

Sweetser officials blamed the imminent closure of its Learning and Recovery Center on a lack of additional funding from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Department officials countered that they couldn’t justify spending more on the facility, in part, without seeking competing bids for the services Sweetser provides at the site.

Lilley said Monday that the donation is being made in memory of his late son, David A. Lilley.

“My wife Annette and I are donating $50,000 to Sweetser to cover their funding shortfall at the Learning and Recovery Center, which has provided treatment to thousands of people who depend on the services there to get through life,” he said.

“We are assured that with this gift, this facility will remain open for another year and provide the peer support service to those people with health issues that have stalled their lives,” Lilley said.

“The services that include an alternative to formal hospitalization will now not be closed for lack of money,” he said, “We are making this donation in memory of our son, David A. Lilley, whose life was cut short in an automobile accident when he was 18 years old.”

A Sweetser official said Monday that the organization is still coordinating the grant funding support with DHHS leadership and are grateful to be in a more forward-looking position.

“We could not have been more pleasantly surprised to receive the call from Mr. Lilley, as his incredible gesture now puts us in a better position to continue working with the state and most importantly to better serve our clients,” Cindy Fagan, Sweetser’s vice president of programs, said Monday.

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