Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Big challenge for free mental health clinic

The area’s free mental health clinic—Fredericksburg Counseling Services, Inc.—has an extraordinary chance to secure its finances and ensure that it can keep serving uninsured, poor residents for years to come.

Local philanthropist Doris Buffet has told clinic officials that if they raise at least $50,000 by Feb. 17, she will match, dollar for dollar, the money they raise, clinic officials said. If the clinic raises $100,000, Buffet and her Sunshine Lady Foundation will give $100,000, for example.

“The sky is the limit,” said Catherine Jennings, board president of Fredericksburg Counseling Services-Free Mental Health Clinic.

The clinic provides free mental health counseling to poor, uninsured residents of the Fredericksburg area—the city and counties of Caroline, King George, Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland.

The clinic operates on an annual budget of about $138,000 a year, and executive director Marci Bartley said it has funds to stay open through the end of this year and into next year. Beyond that, “It will be a great struggle if we can’t maximize this [opportunity],” Bartley said.

The clinic will hold some big fundraisers in January and February. Between now and then, the clinic is appealing to its supporters to donate online, by mail or in person.

You can learn more about the clinic and the fundraising challenge in a story in Healthy Living on Sunday. In the meantime, you can get more information by visiting or by calling 540/373-2320. The clinic’s office is at 305 Hanson Avenue in Fredericksburg, 22401.


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