David and Kim de la Parte

For David and Kim de la Parte, it was an easy decision to support the newly formed College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. David’s father, Louis de la Parte, played an instrumental role in the creation of the College’s forbearer, the Florida Mental Health Institute. Louis’ role in shaping public policy in the field of mental health made him a legend as a Florida legislator.

Now, his son and daughter-in-law are building on this legacy with a gift creating the de la Parte Endowed Law and Policy Fund. The fund supports continuing research related to mental health policy and law.

“As a child and young adult, I grew up in a house where there was a lot of discussion about law and policy – questions about how to care for the most vulnerable were often discussed,” said David. “I don’t think I could separate our gift and commitment from the influences of my upbringing – these issues are a big part of our lives to this day.”

One of the beneficiaries of the de la Parte’s gift is Blake Barrett, who earned a Master’s in Public Health and is now working on his doctoral degree.

“The focus of my research has been on the effectiveness of treatment or therapeutic courts, also known as drug courts, and how they work with those who have mental health or substance abuse problems,” said Barrett. “Our research shows that they are effective, and we’re looking into ways to make people in our criminal justice system that have these issues return to society outside of traditional incarceration methods.”

For Kim de la Parte, the work being done by the de la Parte Law and Policy Fund is a fitting remembrance for her father-in-law’s life’s work.

“What pleases me is the way in which, through this gift, we’ve been able to continue his legacy for championing the causes of those who can’t help themselves,” said Kim. “In doing so, we’re giving people like Blake the opportunity to get into the field and improve the lives of our neighbors.”