It is with profound sorrow that we share that Jim Braun passed away yesterday, after living more than two years with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Jim’s courage, humor, honesty, and grace during his illness was nothing short of inspirational...and also somehow not a surprise. It was how he lived his entire life. Jim’s passion and persistence for improving the lives of those most marginalized in our society was instrumental in changing mental health service systems across the state, increasing access and positively impacting many thousands of children and youth. With his wife, Pam, by his side, Jim led Youth In Need from 1988-2013, transforming the agency from a small crisis shelter into a multi-service regional organization, serving children of all ages and their families in communities throughout eastern Missouri. Jim instilled in our organization a spirit of optimism and hope. He etched in our DNA a deep belief in the power of potential within each of us.
While he would be the first to say that his accomplishments were a result of a team effort, Jim was our dynamic and fearless leader for 25 years. Abundantly compassionate, Jim’s energy and determination to address inequities and serve people in need was undaunted and unmatched.
After Jim was diagnosed in August 2015, he continued to live life to the fullest and to appreciate every new day he started. Although our hearts are heavy with immense sadness, in honor of Jim’s example, we are also filled with equally immense gratitude for Jim’s life of service and love to our community and our organization, to his family and friends, and to everyone whose life he touched during a life so well lived.