John Brauer - Nonprofit On The Rocks

Matt interviews John Brauer, President and CEO of New Horizons, a nonprofit that assists individuals experiencing mental health challenges.

Tune in as they discuss everything from how John got his start in nonprofit, to why Matt will never (again) trust politicians; favorite career accomplishments, to favorite travel destinations and celebrity sightings.



Something that I did that I'm really proud of is that we built affordable housing. I got one of the largest HUD grants that year to build affordable housing. And it was awesome. I actually remember taking one of my homeless adult clients, walking him to an apartment and signing his lease. He'd never had an apartment before. It was the very first time in his life. It was a phenomenal, phenomenal experience for me. And that's what I love about nonprofit.

So, if you could think of, if you could talk about one memory, one thing that you did, one accomplishment that just makes you really proud and really happy.


I can tell you a story of a client that probably for two years I passed in the hallway, this is in Virginia, who I would say, "Good morning, hello, what are you ...", never an answer, never a response ever. Well, we got him into a music therapy class, this is somebody on the autism spectrum, and mind you, this is Virginia, so the first class we put them in was a country music class.

He did not do well in that. Nothing can change, let's just put it that way. Then we tried them in a pop rock, not so much. We got him in a rap class, and suddenly this man just took off. So, we taught him ... And by we, it was not me, certainly much more expertise staff than I am personally, but taught him to rap and to be able to talk to people in a rap.

One day I'm walking down the hall, have zero expectation, I say hello to him, and he raps a 'hello' to me. I would offend the viewers by trying to replicate that rap, but just go with me on this to say, it was brilliant.

And I went to my office, and I'm a mean old curmudgeon, I've done this a long time, and I literally sat there and cried, because just to see that change where you can have an impact on somebody who cannot communicate and suddenly has found an avenue in the world to do that.




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