Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, subject of the recent book and current movie The Soloist, suffered a mental breakdown while he was studying music at Juilliard. His sister Jennifer Ayers-Moore established a foundation to help him and others like him, the Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Foundation.
The following statement from their website relates the reason for the foundation and its laudable mission:
“The driving force behind the foundation is Jennifer Ayers-Moore’s desire to share her understanding of the plight of family members of normal individuals who sink into the darkness of mental illness.
Her first-hand experience growing up with her brother Nathaniel gives her an authoritative perspective on the challenges family members face, and the benefits they can gain from organizations willing to help them through these traumatic times.
The Foundation launched in 2008 after the publication of a book about Nathaniel, The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music, by Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez. The book was followed by the film “The Soloist” starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. These two highly-visible projects helped elevate the nation’s conversation about mental illness, giving Jennifer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin helping what could eventually be thousands, even millions, of families.
We are completely committed to spreading the value that artistic expression makes in the advancement of wellness and treatment. Further, we will continue to strengthen our collaboration with mental health and arts organizations to identify and exhibit the work of the artistically gifted and provide grants to worthy nonprofit organizations that embody the foundation’s mission.”