William T. Grant Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW: The William T. Grant Foundation broadly funds organizations and initiatives aimed at reducing inequality among young people (under 25) in the U.S., based on a variety of factors, including race, religion, economic standing, and immigrant status.

IP TAKE: Grant is an approachable foundation, but it warns that it invites only a small percentage of applicants to submit a full proposal. Its broad focus areas mean that it may accept a wide variety of proposals, as long as they align with its mission.

PROFILE: William T. Grant, owner of the once-booming W.T. Grant and Company department store chain, established the William T. Grant Foundation in 1936. The foundation seeks to support “research to improve the lives of young people.” Grant's stores would eventually shutter in what is often referred to as one of the largest retailer bankruptcies in history. However, the foundation continues to support Grant’s original grantmaking priorities. William T. Grant Foundation’s mental health related grantmaking supports research.

The foundation offers Research Grants in its two main focus areas, Reducing Inequality and Improving the Use of Research Evidence. Reducing Inequality supports studies that address issues of “education, child welfare, mental health, and justice systems.” Improving the Use of Research Evidence seeks to “build theory and empirical evidence on ways to strengthen the connections between research evidence, decision making, and youth outcomes.” Grantseekers in the mental health field should make sure that their approach fits into one of these focus areas.

The foundation also offers Institutional Challenge Grants, which fund “sustained research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofit organizations in order to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.” These grants prioritize “youth-serving areas such as education, justice, child welfare, mental health, immigration, and workforce development.” Finally, William T. Grant’s Youth Services Improvement Grants “support community-based organizations in New York City to enhance their services for children and youth, ages 5 to 25.” This program is not accepting new applications for the foreseeable future.

The foundation also offers Youth Services Improvement Grants, which award $25,000 to organizations in New York City that provide services to young people, including those relating to mental health.

Research funded by the foundation must prioritize youth populations ages five to 25. Unsolicited letters of inquiry are accepted three times annually in January, May, and August.

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