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23-Time Gold Medalist & Mental Health Advocate Michael Phelps to Accept 2021 Hope Award for Depression Advocacy at Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar

The country’s leading non-profit dedicated to advanced depression research, Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF), has announced the honorees for the 15th Annual HOPE luncheon seminar taking place at The Plaza Hotel on November 10th at 11:30 am, including Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, owner of the Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay and CEO James R. Borynack and COO Adolfo Zaralegui of Findlay Galleries.

The seminar, led by Master of Ceremonies Chuck Scarborough, will focus on “The Importance of the Gut Microbiome for Your Mental Health” with leading scientists and psychiatrists taking the stage to share the newest information. Dr. Conor Liston, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Brain and Mind Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, will be the keynote Medical Speaker. A rising star in neuroscience, Liston has published several studies on the gut-brain axis, providing new insights into how chemicals derived from gut microbes influence brain chemistry regulating mood.

The program will also include news about discoveries by HDRF’s acclaimed Depression Task Force, an international consortium of top neuroscientists from different universities who are pooling data and expertise to accelerate research. The Task Force was convened in 2010 by HDRF Founding Chair Audrey Gruss; today it is conducting the most advanced depression research in the country.

Michael Phelps will accept the 2021 Hope Award for Depression Advocacy at the event. Widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time, he has captured 28 Olympic medals, including a record-setting 23 gold medals, and set 39 world records over the course of his distinguished career. Phelps courageously opened up about his own mental health challenges, becoming one of the first and most prominent athlete voices who helped catapult the important conversation across sports and pop culture. In 2008 he established the Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety, healthy living (physical and mental), and the pursuit of dreams. The Foundation’s signature program – IM – is implemented through strategic partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics International.

Previous recipients of the Hope Award for Depression Advocacy include LeAnn Rimes, Ashley Judd, Brooke Shields, Taraji P. Henson, Richard Dreyfuss and Terry Bradshaw.

Owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, will accept the 2021 Community Ambassador of Hope Award. A fervent advocate for mental health awareness, Irsay launched the “Kicking The Stigma” campaign alongside his players to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental health disorders in Indiana. The initiative also raises and distributes funding to nonprofits and other organizations to expand treatment services throughout the community.

Findlay Galleries as represented by CEO James R. Borynack and COO Adolfo Zaralegui, will accept the 2021 Hope Corporate Visionary Award. This year Findlay Galleries celebrates 152 years in the art business, a family business founded in 1870 and now America’s second oldest art gallery. Findlay represents over 100 artists and artist estates with gallery locations in both Palm Beach and New York. Findlay Galleries is also a leader in its communities, advancing a number of charitable causes particularly in the mental health sphere. They have generously supported HDRF since its founding.

The Hope luncheon and seminar will celebrate the foundation’s leadership in depression research for 15 years.

“Our research has always been critical to advance the understanding of depression, which is the Number One cause of disability worldwide,” said HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss.

Gruss added, “The pandemic has only exacerbated the crisis, with over one-third of Americans struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Our Depression Task Force is working tirelessly to find the answers that will lead depression treatment into a new era. In the meantime, we also salute major public figures like Michael Phelps who are driving society forward with their courage and compassion in speaking openly about mental health.”

Each year, the luncheon is attended by over 300 top New York philanthropists, asset managers, business and media professionals, socialites and celebrities who gather to raise awareness about depression and its related mood disorders and to raise funds for continued research.

Purchase tables and tickets for the HOPE luncheon at

About Hope for Depression Research Foundation:
Founded in 2006, HDRF is today the leading non-profit exclusively dedicated to advancing the understanding and treatment of depression. The mission of HDRF is two-fold: 1) to spur the most innovative neuroscience research into the physical causes, prevention and treatment of depression, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and suicide; and 2) to increase the public’s understanding of depression and end the stigma and shame associated with getting help. Today, HDRF is home to the acclaimed Depression Task Force—a collaboration of ten leading scientists from different research institutions who are pooling data and expertise to accelerate discovery. For more information, visit: