Image courtesy of Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS)

Announcing Our Spring 2017 Hope and Grace Fund Grant Recipients

May 1, 2017

Today marks the first day of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. As is our tradition, we’re pleased to announce the hope & grace fund Spring 2017 grant recipients. We’re pleased that 1% of the sale of every philosophy product goes into this fund whereby annually we can issue grants to organizations and initiatives large and small which are making a real impact in the world of mental health.

We’re also very proud of the impact we’ve been able to make. With this round of grants, the total grant donations by hope & grace fund is more than 3 million dollars to 48 organizations across the United States since the fund’s inception just three years ago.

Without further ado, please join us in celebrating this year’s amazing recipients and the projects which received funding, all of whom you’ll be reading more about on this community site throughout the month of May:

Black Women’s Health Alliance – The Black Women’s Health Alliance (BWHA) is a nonprofit, community-based health and human services organization founded in 1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The mission of the organization is to improve health care outcomes and eliminate and/or reduce health disparities experienced by women of African ancestry, other women of color, and their families through advocacy, education, research and support activities, programs, and services. Through its STAR Girls’ Voices Mental Health and Wellness Program, BWHA will host a one-day conference for 75 participants to promote the mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral wellness of women and girls of color ages 16 to 30. The conference will examine the problems and issues associated with the mental health status of the target population and share effective strategies and approaches to mental health prevention. Additionally, BWHA will serve 30 teen girls by implementing a Girls Circle, an evidence-based, gender-responsive, structured support group that integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training in a specific format designed to increase positive connection, personal and collective strengths, and competence in girls. This project focuses on mental health and wellbeing issues that include but are not limited to self-esteem building, anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Directions for Youth & Families – Directions for Youth & Families (DFYF) is a resiliency-oriented/trauma-informed agency located in Central Ohio whose mission is to empower families and their children to make sound choices and achieve promising futures. The Teen Parent Connection program (TPC) provides comprehensive services that include mental health counseling, comprehensive case management, and parenting education to pregnant and parenting women through age 21. These services are provided on an outreach basis in a client’s home, school or community to reduce barriers to treatment. The program annually serves approximately 75 women, many of whom are experiencing poverty, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal ideation. Each program participant will be linked with a mental health clinician who will address the unique mental health needs of each young woman, and a case manager who will provide comprehensive case management services. This integrated approach aims to address all sources of stress and meet the complex needs of young mothers. The TPC program helps young women identify and address mental health needs to achieve emotional stability and affect management, as well as develop a healthy relationship with their child(ren). The parent education component of the program provides new young mothers with information regarding childhood development, healthy attachment, routines/rituals, and effective communication and discipline practices along with support and access to community resources, skill building, and developing a healthy support system. DFYF anticipates that at least 80 percent of its clients will report positive increases in mental health functioning, understanding of child development, effective parenting practices, and conflict resolution skills as a result of this program.

Ride and Rebuild (theVillage) – Ride and Rebuild is a prison visit van service located in Pennsylvania that supports the transportation and emotional needs of women supporting incarcerated men. In collaboration with Ride and Rebuild LLC and theVillage of Philadelphia, the Real Resilience project recognizes and honors the resilience in women who support an incarcerated loved one. Women are the primary supporters of an incarcerated loved one and are more likely to experience social isolation and financial hardship during this transitional time as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Through ride-sharing to state correctional institutions in Pennsylvania and participation in four trauma-informed training and workshops, Real Resilience will provide 32 women the opportunity to develop and foster a social support network and gain the necessary skills to improve their emotional wellness during their loved ones’ incarceration. Through Ride and Rebuild’s collaborative partnerships, resources and referrals will be offered in order to sustain these women during and after the incarceration of their loved ones. Ride and Rebuild will create an audio/video awareness campaign to reduce the stigma associated with supporting an incarcerated loved one. Through this program, Ride and Rebuild will establish ongoing social support for these women, and through its awareness campaign, it will inform the public about the resiliency of this population of women supporters.

Ruth Ellis Center – The Ruth Ellis Center (REC) in Detroit, Michigan provides short- and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Metro Detroit. Its Trans Peace: Integrated Behavioral and Primary Health Services project will assist approximately 75 to 100 trans young women of color, aged 12 to 30, who face a number of mental health challenges, including disproportionately high rates of gender dysphoria, suicidal ideation, depression, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse disorder. Through this therapeutic program, clinicians, case managers, and physicians will provide individual counseling and support groups focused on reducing mental health stigma, addressing mental health issues and other trauma symptoms, and the promotion of self-esteem and empowerment. The REC anticipates that at least 95 percent of clients will report improvement in mental health and sense of safety and wellbeing.

Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS) – Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS) aims to ensure all young woman diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 in the San Francisco Bay Area have access to the information and support they need to thrive. The women of BAYS are united by their tenacity and passion for living the fullest life they can with this disease. They provide free support group meetings, social and educational events, and a vibrant online discussion network. Faced with cancer in the prime of their lives, BAYS members are often faced with depression, anxiety, and loneliness as they try to make sense of their new reality. Through the peer-support training program, BAYS will equip their 15- to 20-volunteer support group and intake facilitators with the skills and capabilities they need to support the nearly 500 women of BAYS with the emotional and mental health tools needed to deal with the aftermath of breast cancer.

Círculo de Vida – Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center (CDV) is a California-based initiative that provides invaluable and unparalleled psycho-oncology services to Latinas living with cancer and their loved ones — most of them immigrants, low-income, and without health insurance — as they navigate a frightening illness and increasingly complex medical system. The Meeting the Psycho-Oncology Needs of Latinas in Rural Communities project will disseminate a proven, 10-week, peer-delivered cognitive behavioral stress management program, Nuevo Amanecer, for Latinas diagnosed with cancer in rural communities via a train-the-trainer model. Latinas in rural communities tend to be low-income and under- or uninsured. Many have limited access to cancer treatment and psycho-oncology support and travel great distances to receive the care they need. The additional costs of travel to receive cancer treatment places a huge economic burden on patients and their families, which takes its toll on their psychological wellbeing and quality of life.

Mission Graduates – Mission Graduates – Latina Parent Leader Mental Health Support Mission Graduates (MG) is a nonprofit organization which assists students and parents in San Francisco’s Mission District to prepare for and complete their college education. They believe education should be an expectation, not an exception. MG works directly with a core group of Latina women to become leaders in their communities, share their experiences, and, in turn, shape future leaders. This project will help MG evaluate and improve the mental state of Latinas in its charge. The stressors these women face — which include poverty, single parenthood, caregiving for young children, and reliance on public assistance —  are often compounded by their fears of deportation and/or separation from family support structures in their home countries due to their immigration status, in many cases undocumented. Upon completion of this project, Mission Graduates will have reached over 800 Latina women, emphasizing positive mental health in addition to the educational leadership programming already provided. With this critical work, MG will address and combat the anxiety, depression, and trauma faced by low-income, new immigrant women, and the many challenges they face.

Seleni Institute – Based in New York City, the Seleni Institute is a nonprofit organization founded by Nitzia and George Logothetis in 2011 to destigmatize and transform mental health and wellness by addressing real-life issues that challenge the emotional health of women, men, and their families. Seleni has long prioritized the mental health of pregnant and parenting adolescents, groups that suffer from mental health disorders ( including depression) at over three times the rate of older mothers and cope with the dual stigmas of teen parenthood and mental illness. In 2017, Seleni combined its expertise in adolescent reproductive mental health with its nationally recognized Maternal Mental Health Intensive (MMHI) and launched MMHI4teens to provide professional training and support to mental health workers already serving pregnant and parenting adolescents in a variety of settings. Seleni expects that after one year, 90 percent of MMHI4teens program graduates will have the knowledge and resources to both confidently identify and treat common reproductive and maternal mental health issues, and be able to train their colleagues to do the same.

Think of Us –  This Santa Clara, CA and Omaha, NE-based organization is an online and mobile life-coaching platform that helps foster youth navigate their transition to adulthood. The online platform is designed for foster youth to ensure awareness of all the steps they have to take to navigate the foster care system and prepare them to live independently after they turn 18. Think of Us envisions all young people who age out of foster care will thrive as self-sufficient healthy adults who are embedded in a supportive community of adults. Through this project, Think of Us is focusing its platform on empowering pregnant and parenting foster youth to prioritize their mental health by accessing the right content and self-coaching activities that help them make healthy choices about their mental health as they transition. As part of its efforts to connect foster youth to resources, the Think of Us platform also offers users access to the Situation Room. This space provides searchable relevant content, as well as credible articles that promote mental health awareness, provide resources to help young women seek help and moral support from other women who have been coping with similar mental health circumstances such as postpartum depression or struggles with addiction. The organization’s most recent development includes a GPS location option that allows women to search local health clinics for free STD screenings and find Planned Parenthood locations, pregnancy clinics, homeless shelters, and other health resources in their areas.

Live Through This (Fractured Atlas) – Live Through This is a national, multimedia-based storytelling series that aims to reduce prejudice and discrimination against suicide-attempt survivors by elevating and amplifying survivors’ voices through raw, honest stories of survival. Research shows that personal, immersive narratives change public attitudes and personal belief systems about people experiencing mental health differences. Because women attempt suicide three times more often than men, this project will focus on the unique challenges faced by women with intimate knowledge of suicidality. During the grant period, Live Through This will: create complete multimedia packages (portrait, text, audio, video) on the stories of four women in underrepresented populations; expedite the publication of 52 women’s stories currently in backlog; and rebuild the website—the main content dissemination vehicle of Live Through This—to create a better user experience and increase the organization’s capacity to continue publishing stories over the long term. Through this project, Live Through This will publish a total of 56 stories of women affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviors, with a range of traumatic experiences and psychiatric diagnoses consistent with high suicide prevalence. This content will reach at least 263,000 viewers. Live Through This anticipates that the increased volume and diversity of positive women’s narratives will help build hope and solidarity among survivors and those around them, as well as foster the understanding that recovery from suicidal thoughts and actions is possible.