At some point in our lives, we all face situations that overwhelm us. Penn Foundation can help.
Founded in 1955, Penn Foundation is a non-profit organization providing innovative services to address the mental health and substance abuse treatment needs of individuals in our community.
Our staff of 400 compassionate professionals serves over 17,000 children, adolescents, and adults each year, offering integrated, holistic care designed to meet the unique needs of each person.
Penn Foundation continues to be guided by its Anabaptist roots. We have been a Conference-Related Ministry of the Franconia Mennonite Conference since its inception in 2002. We believe strongly in the resiliency of the human spirit and are committed to our mission of instilling hope, inspiring change, and building community for every one of the individuals and families who invite us to share in their journey.
Recognizing a Need
During his 16-month career as a family physician, Souderton native Dr. Norman Loux recognized that many of his patients had “emotional problems.” This sparked his interest in psychiatry and ultimately his residencies at Butler Hospital (Providence, Rhode Island) and Yale University. Dr. Loux was serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Butler Hospital when he was asked to return to his home community to establish psychiatric services in the early 1950s.
During World War II, many Mennonites had registered as Conscientious Objectors and completed alternative service in mental institutions. They openly shared their experiences in such institutions, describing the conditions as “deplorable” and “barbaric.” As people learned of these conditions, they felt the need for long-term reform that would guarantee humane care. Understanding the importance of establishing locally provided psychiatric services, Michael Peters, MD, Chair of Medicine at Grand View Hospital, worked with community leaders to articulate and address that need.
Setting a New Standard
Dr. Loux took these experiences to heart as he penned a white paper in 1954 that outlined his vision for a community-based psychiatric facility. This forward-thinking white paper is a living example of the brilliance and creativity of a man far ahead of his time, and it still influences Penn Foundation today.
Dr. Loux saw his first psychiatric patient at his Souderton office in October 1955. The next year, when the farm across from Grand View Hospital came up for sale, the Board purchased it for $19,000. The property, on which Penn Foundation still stands today, became the home of Dr. Loux’s psychiatry practice and was renamed The Penn Foundation for Mental Health.
Creating a Model for the Country
In the mid-1960s, Penn Foundation was used by the Kennedy Administration as a model of what a community mental health center should look like. In 1965, Dr. Robert H. Felix, advisor to President Kennedy and Founder/ Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, spoke to Penn Foundation supporters, saying, “If I were to select a half-dozen community mental health centers that nearly approach the dream I dreamed, not only would Penn Foundation be included, it would be one of the top three. Not only is it the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania, it is a model for the country and the world.”
Dr. Loux served as Medical Director until 1981 and retired from seeing patients in 1984. He remained on the Board of Directors until 2008 and passed away in 2010.