Ittleson Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW:  The Ittleson Foundation prioritizes mental health projects and initiatives, AIDS, and the Environment.

IP TAKE:  The Ittleson Foundation uses what it calls a "venture capitalist" approach when grantmaking in the mental health area. It supports high-risk, high-yield projects still in their early stages over more conservative proposals. Ittleson grants are modest and rarely exceed $50,000.

PROFILE: Created by financier Henry Ittleson in 1932, the Ittleson Foundation has recognized mental health as a public health issue for nearly a century. The foundation seeks to serve “the needs of the underprivileged” and “provide funds for new initiatives and model projects that have the potential to greatly enhance public policy and the lives of fellow citizens.” Its Mental Health grantmaking program supports the elimination of stigmas and stereotypes related to mental illness, improving access to mental health care, as well as to organizations working in preventative mental healthcare. Though Ittleson includes all age groups in its grantmaking, it prioritizes support for youth and adolescents, including the parents, teachers and caregivers that have close contact and relationships with young people. 

Ittleson grant amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000. Even though its grants are modest, grant seekers should not overlook Ittleson as a significant mental health grant maker. Unlike larger funders, Ittleson does not prioritize support for large organizations. This makes the Ittleson a great resource for smaller, community-based foundations. Look at past mental health grantees here.

Ittleson's grant application process is pretty straightforward. Grant seekers should dimply send a letter of inquiry to the Executive Director outlining their organization's project, along with a budget and proof of non-profit status. If the board decides the initiative falls within the foundation's targeted areas, they will request more information.

Keep in mind that though Ittleson awards grants on a national basis, much of the mental health funding is sent to New York-based organizations. Programs with a local focus that have little to no chance of national replication do not typically receive grants. Grant seekers should submit all inquiry letters by September 1st.

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