The Community Fund of Darien is being honored as a "Town Champion" by Laurel House at its annual Derby Dinner Dance Saturday, May 3, for its contributions to mental health.

For more than 65 years, The Community Fund of Darien has awarded annual grants to agencies serving critical human service needs in Stamford, Norwalk and Darien, averaging more than $675,000 every year for the past 10.

The Community Fund of Darien, which invests a substantial portion of its annual grant awards each year to mental health services, has aided Laurel House since 2000, for a total of $164,000.

By funding at least seven agencies each year whose missions include mental health services, The Community Fund's financial commitment has exceeded $2.4 million over 10 years.

The Community Fund of Darien is the founder of Darien's Human Services Planning Council and the Thriving Youth Task Force. The Thriving Youth Task Force and The Community Fund's Youth Asset Team recently hosted a "Community Conversation," which had more than 100 adult and youth participants, titled, "Finding the Balance: Stress and Anxiety Among our Teens."

The Community Fund's local initiatives to support mental health services include the creation of a mental health committee, which has among its accomplishments the development of "Creating Connections: A Directory of Mental Health and Support Services for the Darien Community."

Last year, the fund helped to convene Darien's human service providers to examine the mental health emergency response in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Recently, the fund provided assistance to support mental health first aid training in Darien.