Byrd joins CooperRiis

Published 2:39 pm Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jeff Byrd, former owner and publisher of the Tryon Daily Bulletin, will be joining CooperRiis Healing Community as development director on December 1, CooperRiis executive director Virgil Stucker has announced.

Byrd, who was the chairman of the e-Polk Inc. PANGAEA non-profit fiber optic company for 10 years, the president of the Polk County chamber of commerce, the chairman of the first Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival, and president-elect of the N.C. Press Association, will now focus his efforts on the mental health recovery mission of CooperRiis.

In this new position, Jeff will be responsible for philanthropic relationships, attracting and deepening connections to donors and volunteers as well as being responsible for public relations with local, regional and national media, Stucker said. We are excited that Jeff is joining our leadership team. His optimism, sense of mission and drive to develop and sustain meaningful relationships will make him an ideal first development director for CooperRiis!

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I am excited to have this opportunity to help others, Byrd said. CooperRiis is one of fewer than a dozen facilities in the United States offering holistic, long term care and recovery for those with mental illness.

I am glad to join the vision of replicating the CooperRiis model in many more communities throughout the country to help solve the mental health care crisis with an evidence-based, cost effective treatment that shows recovery is possible.

The philanthropic inspiration for CooperRiis comes from Don and Lisbeth Cooper, who have raised $25 million in donations to build and endow CooperRiis. Given CooperRiis commitment to provide scholarships to families in need and given the organizations striving to be a learning and growing organization, CooperRiis need for annual fundraising continues to grow in magnitude. Byrd will be the lead staff person for CooperRiis annual fundraising efforts.

To date: CooperRiis has built two campuses, one in Mill Spring and one in Asheville. It has served more than 400 residents and has operated each of the last seven years without any funding from the State of North Carolina.

CooperRiis, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a mental health recovery program and provides within its therapeutic milieu the elements of psychiatry, psychotherapy, substance abuse counseling, nutritional counseling, complementary modalities and life skills and employment training. Recovery outcomes are documented through rigorous measurement and indicate that approximately 80 percent of its graduates are able to successfully transition to normal living. &bsp;

For additional information please visit If you wish to be a part of Byrds fundraising committee, please let him know by emailing him at