Irving Harris Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW:  The Chicago-based Irving Harris Foundation’s mental health grants support groups addressing social and emotional well-being of young children ages birth to three.

IP TAKE: While this not the most approachable foundation, it does tend to give multiyear grants to groups with which it is already familiar. Harris also supports organizations that have a long-term impact in their respective fields of work.

PROFILE: Created in 1946, the Irving Harris Foundation was created by Irving Harris in accordance with traditional Jewish values, specifically that of giving back to one’s community. To this end, the foundation seeks to enhance “the quality of life for children, families and communities by advancing human potential, social justice and equity, and creative experience and expression.” Its mental health grantmaking prioritizes the mental health and well-being of infants and young children. Infant mental health refers to the social and emotional development of children ages birth to three. The foundation addresses racial and economic disparities as well as gender inequality with respect to the reproductive, maternal, and infant health outcomes of families.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, the Irving Harris Foundation does give preferential funding to organizations working in its hometown. However, this funder grants $13 million to $15 million each year and plenty of those grants support groups working outside the city of Chicago.

The majority of the foundation’s infant mental health grants support organizations operating programs addressing the social and emotional development of young children in conjunction with maternal and family health programs.

Grant amounts run range from $100 to over $1 million. But most tend to fall in the $10,000 to $100,000 range.

The Irving Harris Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications or requests for funding. Instead, it prefers to contribute to organizations with which it is already familiar.


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