The Robert D. Sutherland Memorial Foundation (RDS) is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with bipolar disorder and their families through diagnosis, comprehensive treatment, and education. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, affects over 2 in 100 people and is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, behavior, and functioning. On average, there is an eight-year lag between an individual's first episode of mania or depression and the first time he or she is actually diagnosed and treated. Episodes can persist for days and, sometimes, even months. If left untreated, the extreme effects of the disorder can disrupt a person's ability to lead a long, productive, and fulfilling life, and sometimes leads to death by suicide.
During his lifetime, Robert D. Sutherland was a successful businessman and philanthropist. Not only was he the owner of Sutherland Lumber in Boulder, Colorado, but he was also the founder of The Colorado Grand, a long-time supporter of the Foundation. Remarkably, Robert Sutherland accomplished all of this while struggling with bipolar disorder throughout his adult life. Unlike many others, Mr. Sutherland had access to quality medical support and treatment for his mental illness. He stands as an example of someone who benefited significantly from consistent and comprehensive care, making it possible for him to overcome many of the daily challenges associated with bipolar disorder.
Shortly after Mr. Sutherland's death, his son, Robert Sutherland Jr., and several close friends founded the Robert D. Sutherland Memorial Foundation to continue his legacy of generosity in the community. In 2001, the organization provided the initial grant funding needed to establish the Robert D. Sutherland Center for the Evaluation and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder at the University of Colorado Boulder. In January 2002, the Sutherland Bipolar Center took in its first client. Until May 2020, the Center provided state-of-the-art treatment to individuals with bipolar disorder who could not afford or were otherwise unable to obtain comprehensive psychiatric and psychological services in the community because they were unable to meet financial requirements. We also helped those who were able to afford our services; we worked hard not to turn anyone away. Through the Foundation, we build on the late Robert D. Sutherland's vision and belief that when properly treated, bipolar disorder can be managed and those affected can regain control over their lives. We believe that anyone affected by bipolar disorder does not have to suffer needlessly.