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Local News

Blank Foundation awards $1 million for childrens’ mental health programs in Atlanta

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By Ellen Eldridge, GPB News

Atlanta’s Blank Family Foundation announced $8 million in grants to nonprofit organizations supporting mental health, with a particular focus on children. Some of that funding will help organizations based in Atlanta.

Half of all mental illness begins by age 14, and 1 in 6 Americans aged 6 to 17 experience a mental health disorder each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The need for services in Georgia is increasing.

The percentage of high school students who felt persistently sad or hopeless has increased from 2011 to 2021, according to new data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Behavioral Survey, which also found Black students were more likely to attempt suicide.

Beth Brown, the Blank Foundation’s managing director of mental health and well-being, said it’s focused on finding and funding the most effective ways to support mental health policy change and implementation in Georgia.

A $1 million grant was awarded to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Georgia Youth Mental Health Funder Collaborative as a set match for other foundations to contribute and grow the fund to $2 million.

The collective will make grants together in support of youth mental health as they learn from each other and speak as one voice related to philanthropy and mental health, Brown said.

“I think that’s a really good example of kind of the moment we’re in, in mental health philanthropy,” Brown said. “There are more people speaking about mental health and with that more generous philanthropists are willing to give to mental health.”

Brown said that not all donors have the kind of staffing or infrastructure to know how to conduct grant making, so the Foundation’s contribution helps a “really powerful collective” make grants together in support of youth mental health.

Last year, the Blank Family Foundation granted its first round of awards for organizations working in the mental health and well-being industries.

Kate’s Club received $250,000 to empower children and teens, their families and young adults facing life after the death of a parent, sibling, caregiver or someone important to them. The nonprofit is one of 15 to receive grant money from the Blank Foundation in January 2023.

This story comes to the Peachtree Gazette through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.