The Michelle Rose Memorial Fund
April 11, 2018
On a warm sunny day, sisters Michelle Rose Monachino and Yvette Monachino-Wolfe, drove to a Buddhist monastery in Upstate New York. They always enjoyed the tranquility of the ponds and creeks surrounding the building; however on that day they were excited for the vegetarian lunch. After picking up trays of food the girls headed to the picnic tables. Yvette sat down first, unfortunately too close to the edge, the bench tipped and her food spilled everywhere. The two sisters smiled at each other; without speaking Michelle helped Yvette up and pushed her plate to the center of the table so they could share.
The bond they shared was special, but Yvette lost her sister Michelle to suicide in March of 2016. Michelle was a vibrant, 26-year-old woman who loved yoga, art, writing and music. While she could be articulate and wise, there were many times where her mental illness overshadowed these beautiful qualities. The stigma and struggle with mental illness eventually claimed her life.
A few months after her sister’s death Yvette decided that she wanted to honor her sister’s memory and raise awareness for those who shared her struggle. Her research led her to community foundations, which help donors build charitable funds that can support causes they care about forever. And because Yvette and her husband Will recently moved to the Baltimore area, she contacted BCF to help her create the Michelle Rose Memorial Fund, an endowed donor-advised fund.
After multiple fundraisers Yvette, Will and her mother Deborah were able to open up the Michelle Rose Memorial Fund through BCF in December of 2016. The fund will support organizations that raise awareness for mental illness, conduct research and provide support for people suffering from mental health issues.
Yvette and her family hope to grow the fund for many years to come. They host an annual chair massage fundraiser at the Finger Lakes School of Massage (Michelle was an alumna of FLSM and graduated in 2012). This fundraiser is a great way to honor Michelle’s love of the healing arts, allow people the opportunity to de-stress and donate to a great cause.
Michelle’s family misses her greatly, but they hope that the work that they accomplish through the Michelle Rose Memorial Fund will provide support for other families.
PHOTO CAPTION/DESCRIPTION: Michelle Rose Monachino, left, and Yvette Monachino-Wolfe. [Two women next to each other smiling in front of a black background.]