Hearst Foundations: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW: The Hearst Foundations have a mission to “build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.” They seek to achieve this by supporting well-established nonprofit organizations that operate in the realms of culture, education, health and social service.

IP TAKE: Grants from the Hearst Foundations are for already high-achieving organizations with an operating budget of at least $1 million. Hearst’s support for mental health prioritizes funding for young populations.

PROFILE: The Hearst Foundations, technically comprised of two separate foundations that are managed together, were established by William Randolph Hearst in 1945 and 1948. Their missions were (and still remain) the same, as are the granting stipulations; whether an organization resides east or west of the Mississippi River is the only difference. The foundations seek to “ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.” Heart supports mental health through its Health initiative.

Approximately 30 percent of Hearst's grant budget supports health programs throughout the U.S. Grant seekers must have an annual operating budget of at least $1 million to be eligible, but the foundations note that 80 percent of grantees in their Health category have budgets over $10 million. They want to fund organizations that serve “large demographic and/or geographic constituencies.”

With regard to their overall giving (not just related to health) Hearst prioritizes funding for organizations that “enable engagement by young people and create a lasting impression,” and this includes funding for the mental health of children.  

The Hearst Foundations seeks mental health-related programs that differentiate themselves from their peers—not just in an approach to programming, but also in terms of results. They also place importance on results by expecting “evidence of sustainability” for programs beyond their own support of them. They regularly give both program and—more notably—capital support (and a limited amount of general and endowment support) to 501(c)3 orgs.

Past mental health grantees include: $650,000 to Stanford University Medical Center (Palo Alto, CA) "to support research by physician-scientists in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences"; $150,000 to Montefiore Health Systems (Bronx, NY) "toward expansion of the Healthy Steps behavioral health program in Montefiore’s pediatric primary care network"; $150,000 to New Alternatives for Children (New York, NY) "toward the creation of a medical and mental health clinic serving medically fragile children in the child welfare system"; $125,000 to the Kennedy Krieger Foundation (Baltimore, MD) "toward the Weinberg Building, a new outpatient facility to treat cognitive, behavioral and affective disorders"; $75,000 to the Child Mind Institute (New York, NY) "yoward the Healthy Brain Network, a five-year research initiative to advance the understanding of brain development and the causes of psychiatric and learning disorders in children"; $75,000 to Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children (New York, NY) "to expand the 'Mental & Emotional Health Initiatives for Children' program.

The Hearst Foundations have an open online application process. However, they indicate that 80 percent of their funding supports previous recipients. But for grant seekers whose proposals are accepted, long-term funding is likely.

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