Community Foundation of New Jersey

The Alex Patenaude Fund

The Alex Patenaude Fund’s mission is to help build a meaningful and lasting memory of Alex Patenaude and the social and emotional gifts Alex brought to his life.  Alex always – and instinctively – helped his friends and family with his compassion, great listening skills, and warmth.

The Fund’s primary focus will be to do what Alex would have done had he lived: to help others learn and use these skills.  The good news is that we are not alone in this goal and do not need to reinvent the wheel.  There is a lot of exciting work being done in schools to develop students’ social and emotional skills, and the early results are extremely positive and measurable. They have the effect of both reducing bullying, drug use and other problems as well as improving academic performance. This is an all-kids approach, intended to touch every student (and staff member) in a school.  We would like to accelerate the roll-out of some of the best of these programs.

Through this work, we hope to also help prevent tragedies like Alex’s.  Alex was a happy, engaging and lovable child, growing up into a kind, caring and charismatic young man.  He began to exhibit some bipolar traits at puberty; these worsened after he began college.  Yet he was only formally diagnosed as bipolar the month before he passed away from a drug overdose at the age of 20, on August 26, 2017 – and more than a year after he began experimenting with dangerous drugs.  We believe that universal school programs such as the ones we are looking at can also help with early identification and support of mental illness, as well as reductions in drug use. 

Please join us in supporting what we know would have been Alex’s life mission.  If you have any questions, please contact us at alexpatenaudefund@gmail.com


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