We fund organizations and projects which disrupt our current behavioral health space and create impact at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.
We support local grassroots organizations that are working to advance recommendations outlined in the Think Bigger Do Good Policy Series.
Our participatory grantmaking alters the traditional process of philanthropic giving by empowering service providers and community-based organizations to define the strategy around a specific issue area or population.
We provide funds at below-market interest rates that can be particularly useful to start, grow, or sustain a program, or when results cannot be achieved with grant dollars alone.
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Contact Alyson about grantmaking, program related investments, and the paper series.
Contact Samantha about program planning and evaluation consulting services.
Contact Caitlin about the Community Fund for Immigrant Wellness, the Annual Innovation Award, and trauma-informed programming.
Contact Joe about partnership opportunities, thought leadership, and the Foundation’s property.
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Normal teenage challenges and rites of passage can be complicated by depression, anxiety, and pressure from family and friends. Yet it still feels taboo for youth to talk about mental and emotional health with their parents and peers, or for teens to accept—let alone embrace—the things that make them who they are. Teens have a lot to talk about, too: statistics show that nationwide, more teens are grappling with their mental health than in previous years. Some teens are dealing with the loss of a parent or sibling; some experience social anxiety; some are exploring their sexuality or gender identity. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 high school students persistently felt sad or hopeless in 2017, and 20% have been bullied at school. Suicide is the second highest cause of death for teens. Studies show that young adults often struggle with loneliness, as they experiment with independence from their parents and navigate new experiences with their peers. Even loving, well-intentioned adults can struggle to “reach” teens and provide them with the support they need. Our program turns this narrative on its head, helping teens love themselves, boldly explore possibilities, and find strength in each other.
Here.Now is a teen-led online and in-person initiative promoting mental health, well-being, and resilience through innovative content and creativity. We provide a platform and network for teens to meet, share what matters to them, and get their friends and peers to join the conversation. The more open teens are about their feelings and challenges, the more open their friends, classmates, and families are likely to be about theirs. We connect teens at the macro level—across the city, state, and country—through our social media campaigns and online content. Through the #OwnIt campaign, teens share how they hold and accept their struggles while also loving and celebrating themselves. Teen-authored articles on our website include “Dealing with College Rejection” and “My Visit to Auschwitz Gave Me The Strength to Challenge My Classmates.” At the same time, we operate on a local level, convening events in our NYC community and training youth professional and summer camp staff on mental health red flags. For example, one local event paired teens with professional comedians from MTV and Comedy Central to write stand-up comedy about loving their differences, which they performed at Caroline’s on Broadway.
Here.Now tackles the stigma and silence around mental health by letting teens speak for themselves. Rather than the traditional format of human service programs, which make youth passive recipients of services from adult professionals, Here.Now encourages youth to build the program together. Here.Now matters to teens because Here.Now is led by teens. From Interns to Board Members, teens share their voices to inform every part of the program and its content. Our teens support each other in any number of ways: sharing personal stories online and on social media; sharing expressive arts such as drawings, videos, and even comedy material that communicates life challenges and solutions; gathering in large and small groups for inventive programming like the Failure Graduation, which addressed the stress teens feel trying to be perfect. Teens get to hear from someone who gets what they’re going through—because the author or speaker is going through it, too.
Here.Now’s entire model provides leadership to the broader behavioral health community by creating an ecosystem of behavioral health advocacy and knowledge. Teens take on leadership roles in our program and bring the skills, tools, and connections they develop back to their home communities, where they build affirming peer networks and educate their families. Here.Now’s trainings on adolescent development and mental health also help people working with youth create a culture of support. Developing teen leadership is integral to Here.Now’s model and design. Teens can get involved through a range of levels and actions, including our five-person board of directors that guides our online content and social media throughout the year. Our executive committee of 10-15 youth works on projects that members can take back to their own communities. We even have an online-based “street team” sharing content with other teens and building our network.
Here.Now benefits from the support of UJA-Federation of New York, 70 Faces Media, and a wide network of Jewish schools and summer camps. Rooted in New York City’s Jewish community, we are excited for the potential to expand in any of several ways. We have been asked to expand the program to support: • Jewish teens throughout the country. While New York City is our home base, our online presence has captivated teens in other states. Our staff would be happy to consult with Jewish Federations and JCCs looking to launch a Here.Now program in their cities. • Non-Jewish teens. With our social media and website accessible to all, we would love to open our in-person programming to all youth. • Extracurricular school programming. We can train school staff to emulate our model emphasizing creativity and expression in their own school’s health and wellness clubs.
Here.Now has engaged 14,200 teens at events, with 165 teens trying out leadership positions. We have approximately 85,000 social media engagements (likes/shares/comments/views), and our articles have been read about 450,000 times. We’ve also held trainings for approximately 400 youth professionals and summer camp staff. We gauge youth engagement through evidence of understanding—an informal evaluation focusing on individual experience and growth. However, we also measure our success in other ways: • Nearly 90% of teens reported learning something new at our programming last year. • We retained 100% of the teens in leadership positions after the first year, and 60% of those teens nominated other teens for leadership opportunities within the program. • 100% of the summer camps we have provided programming for requested follow-up programming and resources. • 93% of summer camps who saw a presentation about our leadership materials chose to use those materials to train their camp staff.