In honor of the values, passions, and life of
Matthew Harris Ornstein
July 28, 1980 - January 3, 2015
I tell people that when a family experiences tragedy, the most important thing they can do is to turn their grief into purpose.
“We’re all here for a time, to learn, or love, or learn to love, in all the seemingly infinite ways that can happen.”
-Letter from Matthew, 2005
The Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation was established in 2015 in honor of Matthew who died on January 3, 2015 as the result of a tragic accident. Prior to his death, Matthew had led a full and impactful life. He was a national champion debater, Princeton graduate and hollywood writer. But, perhaps most importantly he was a devoted friend and family member.
After his death, his friends and family gathered to come up with a way to honor Matthew’s life. From those conversations, the foundation was born. The foundation started as a small initiative in 2015, but thanks to the generosity of its donors has grown into a formidable force advocating for mental illness and urban debate.
PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES
Click below to learn more about our major programs and initiatives.
Almost 200 DC middle and high school students come together each summer for a free annual training in policy debate that gives them a head start for the school year.
Learn about our feature-length film about successful approaches to decriminalizing mental illness. The film premiered at the Miami Film Festival and is still streaming on PBS.