A Little Hope: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW: A Little Hope seeks to “provide bereavement support services and grief counseling for children, teens, and young adults who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, or a loved one, regardless of the circumstances of the death.”

IP TAKE: A Little Hope is a niche funder, but it gives in generous amounts within its focus area. Grant recipients are primarily youth camps and brick-and-mortar support centers, but there are also opportunities for other groups if the fit is right.

PROFILE: Established in 2002 as “a personal response to the World Trade Center tragedy,” A Little Hope was founded by Whitney and Evan Michaels. It seeks to “help provide bereavement support services and grief counseling for children, teens and young adults who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, or a loved one, regardless of the circumstances of the death.”

The nonprofit’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors are also its grant recipient selectors, and they are a group that collectively has expertise in children’s bereavement and strategic planning.

Grant seekers should note that this is a funder that expects rigor in their approach to serving the mental health needs of a youth population, requiring regular program assessment check-ins as well as interim and year-end reports.

In addition to this business rigor, A Little Hope adheres to a peer support group model. Within these constructs, the funder supports a range of activities through which the mental health of bereaving children and youth can be improved. It summarizes the scope of the programs it supports by stating: “While the programs that we partner with are diverse in their approach—all utilize the peer support group model to facilitate children’s expression of painful and conflicted thoughts and feelings about the death of a loved one, without judgment. This is accomplished as children tell the story of what happened and/or through physical play, art projects, music and journal writing.”

The focus area of A Little Hope’s giving is narrow, but this is a funder that has deliberately expanded its giving pool. It reports that while the organization may have started as a funder for youth affected by World Trade Center deaths, it now has funded 92 different organizations in 38 states that collectively provide mental health and support services to more than 250,000 children, youth, and young adults--work that goes well beyond the original tragedy that sparked its creation.

Past grantees include: $65,000 to Comfort Zone Camp (Richmond, VA); $30,000 to the National Alliance for Grieving Children (Stuart, FL); $16,000 to Tomorrow’s Rainbow (Coconut Creek, FL); $13,000 to A Caring Hand (New York, NY); $10,000 to Roberta’s House (Baltimore, MD); $10,000 to the Alcove Center (Northfield, NJ); $5,000 to Camp Koala (Carlisle, PA); $5,000 to the Tamarack Grief Resource Center (Missoula, MT); $5,000 to the Children’s Grief Center of El Paso (El Paso, TX).

Though grant applications are by invite only, A Little Hope accepts brief letters of inquiry.

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