Dept. of Obscure Yet Crucial Funding Niches: Helping Grieving Children

Grief is one of the most difficult emotions for adults to work through. For children, the process can be even more confusing and overwhelming, with lifetime consequences if feelings are not acknowledged and resolved. The New York Life Foundation is one of the few donors thinking about this issue, and recently made a $1.4 million investment in work in this area. While this is definitely a niche funding area, it's also a wise way to prevent later difficulties for children who've lost somebody important.

New York Life is one of the oldest mutual life insurance companies in the country. Helping families deal with the death of a loved one is at the heart of what the company does. The agents who work with families to pay out life insurance claims get a firsthand glimpse of the pain and hardship caused by the death of a loved one. They know how important it is not to let children suffer in silence and isolation in the wake of a difficult loss.

The New York Life Foundation's interest in grief and bereavement support is longstanding, but it took on new prominence in 2008 with further expansion into the area of childhood bereavement support. Since then, the foundation has invested $20 million dollars for childhood bereavement programs nationwide. They have also conducted research and created informational resources online about childhood grief. 

With a particular focus on camps where kids can go to work through grief, the foundation made a $1 million commitment in 2012 to support Camp Erin, a project of the Moyer Foundation. Camp Erin is the country’s largest network of free bereavement camps specifically designed for children ages 6 to 17 who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

More recently, the foundation made a commitment to further expand grief services for underserved youth. In 2013, this "Grief Reach" program made 20 grants totaling $750,000, with grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. These grants are handled by the National Alliance for Grieving Children, so you can go here to start that process

The latest $1.4 million fund will be distributed to 48 organizations doing grief work with children. The current list of grantees is here, and includes programs from all over the country, including several hospice programs that are doing work with children.

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