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How One Company Supports Mental Health and Well-Being Projects

Location Manila , Philippines   |   views 241   |   Line Health

Author: Terry Alan Farris on April 7, 2017 03:24 AM Help us by Sharing:      

The World Health Day campaign for this year focuses on depression.

As awareness about depression and mental health grows, some companies have started to support mental health causes through their corporate giving programs. One example is philosophy, Inc., a U.S.-based cosmetic and skin care company.

In 2014, philosophy, Inc. launched the hope & grace initiative to support mental health and well-being. The goals of the initiative are to raise awareness of the issues, learn about and support effective organizations, and provide resources to bring renewed hope. The company contributes one percent of all U.S. sales to the hope & grace fund, which then gives grants to hundreds of community-based mental health programs.

The average grant size is US$25,000 to $75,000 and a panel of mental health practitioners and experts provide guidance during the proposal review process. The grants support programs that focus on the following:

* Overcoming barriers to and stigma around seeking treatment for mental health issues
* Providing access to mental health treatment
* Fostering support networks for women with mental illness


As part of their efforts to improve the effectiveness of its giving program, the hope & grace fund recently reviewed and adjusted its grantmaking process.

In the United States, less than 7 percent of grant dollars go to ethnic and racial minorities/communities of color, even though they comprise 40 percent of the U.S. population. Funders, including the hope & grace fund, are starting to pay more attention to this problem by incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles into their grantmaking.

The hope & grace fund, for example, realized that although it was intended to target grassroots community-based organizations, the grantmaking process was unintentionally screening out those organizations and yielding a pool of large nonprofits that have the organizational budget, staff, and capacity to spend on developing proposals. Because of this, the fund was not as effectively reaching the smaller community-based organizations that tend to serve women of color who have historically lacked access to mental health resources.

In consultation with its advisers, the fund refined the criteria it uses to recommend grantees and also published a set of recommendations based on what they learned in trying to level the playing field for small grassroots organizations that serve under-reached communities. These recommendations include the following:

* Re-evaluate risk tolerance by having follow-up conversations with small grassroots organizations whose financials might otherwise raise questions about their financial sustainability
* Consider awarding grants for capacity building so that small grassroots organizations can build the infrastructure to deliver higher-quality services beyond the life of the grant
* Simplify, streamline, and consolidate grant application questions and consider giving smaller organizations additional time to submit their applications
* Consider compensating certain applicants for applying. For example, consider awarding stipends to small organizations who completed an application but did not receive a grant, to compensate them for the opportunity cost (e.g. $25 to $50 per hour for the average number of hours it takes to fill out a grant application)
* Identify potential applicants through multiple channels beyond inviting certain organizations to apply and asking current grantees to recommend organizations. The hope & grace fund allows organizations to contact them directly through the website and sends them a short questionnaire before inviting a full proposal.

The hope & grace fund also published a checklist for other funders that want to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion into their grantmaking process.

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