NAMI Oregon Announces Recipents Of 2015 Gordon & Sharon Smith New Freedom Award

Portland, OR – The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Oregon (NAMI Oregon) announced today that Max Williams, President and CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation, and Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her late husband, Dr. Steve Fritz, have been selected as the 2015 recipients of the Gordon & Sharon Smith New Freedom Award.    

Create by NAMI Oregon in 2009 to honor the mental health advocacy efforts of former United States Senator Gordon Smith and his wife, Sharon, the New Freedom Award is presented annually and recognizes an individual or individuals for their leadership on mental health issues.

“As a state legislator, superintendent of the Oregon Department of Corrections, and President and CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation, Max Williams has served as an eloquent voice on behalf of individuals battling mental health issues,” said former Senator Smith. “During her service on the Portland City Council, Amanda Fritz has also worked tirelessly and effectively on behalf of these same individuals and families.  And the late Dr. Steven Fritz devoted his entire life and career to caring for those living with mental illness. Sharon and I look forward to presenting Max and Amanda with the award that bears our name, and in honoring the memory of Dr. Steven Fritz.”

The award will be presented at a dinner to be held at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott on October 6.  More information about the dinner can be obtained or by calling (503) 230-8009.

Information on 2015 NAMI Oregon Gordon & Sharon Smith New Freedom Award Recipients

Max Williams

A former state legislator, Max Williams has also served on various nonprofit boards, practiced law at Miller Nash, and brought necessary reforms to the Oregon Department of Corrections to better serve inmates living with mental illness. He is currently the President and CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation.

Amanda Fritz

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has been a stalwart supporter of all work to support people experiencing mental illnesses in Portland for over 28 years. She is a retired Registered Nurse, and the mother of three graduates of Portland Public Schools. She and NAMI board members participated in the Bazelon Project, evaluating and promoting ways to improve Multnomah County's mental health and public safety systems.

Commissioner Fritz has participated in the NAMI walk since a colleague at OHSU died of suicide. Under her leadership, the Office of Equity and Human Rights was established. Previously, Commissioner Fritz was responsible for the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement. She continues to support public participation through political transparency and community outreach.

Dr. Steven Fritz

A psychiatrist who had been with the state hospital for more than 27 years, Dr. Fritz served as a supervising physician and interim chief medical officer, as well as president of the local AFSCME union.

He was killed in an I-5 traffic crash while commuting to work at OSH on September 24, 2014.  At a public memorial service four days later, former patients as well as staff colleagues, political leaders, and community friends gave tribute to his work and style. 

About NAMI Oregon

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Oregon (NAMI Oregon) is a statewide grassroots organization with more than 1,700 members in 14 affiliates; it is one of 50 state organizations that comprise the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  NAMI Oregon is the state’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to education, support and advocacy around mental illness and treatment. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit NAMI Oregon’s free education, support and advocacy programs.

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