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 and model. 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 bills itself as the first national organization “dedicated to raising money to advance the growth of children's grief support and the expansion of bereavement centers, school outreach programs and camps for grieving children and teens in the United States.”

The nonprofit is grateful that other organizations have now also stepped into the fold, but it remains committed to its cause. Its 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. Note the business side of this equation: this is a funder that expects rigor in your approach to serving the mental health needs of this 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 sees 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. They 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 the nonprofit’s establishment.

Recent grants include:

Though grant applications are by invite only, any organization is allowed to send A Little Hope a brief introduction in order to be considered for that invite. Instructions are on its website. And speaking of websites, A Little Hope will rely heavily on yours in order to determine considering your request, so make sure you have a strong website of your own.


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