For Children's Grief, Two Recent Commitments by the New York Life Foundation


Niche philanthropy is always an interesting topic to cover here at IP as a change of pace from the tried and true issues that consistently make local headlines. Childhood bereavement is an especially timely topic right now because November 17 was Children’s Grief Awareness Day, a day designed to make us all a little more aware about the needs of grieving children and the benefits of getting kids the support they need. One in 20 children experiences the death of a parent by the age of 16.

We’ve talked about the New York Life Foundation’s commitment to childhood bereavement in the past, and this New York City-based funder continues to lead the way in terms of grantmaking. But it’s important to remember that just because this foundation has “New York” in the name doesn’t mean that its grantmaking is exclusive to the city or state.


Just in time for the designated day of awareness, this corporate funder just made two new grants to expand bereavement services to new places and raise awareness of the scope of childhood loss. One of these grants went to the Moyer Foundation, which is headquartered in Philadelphia and has a Seattle office too. This $1.5 million grant will help the organization to offer free bereavement camps in five new locations over the next three years and also give program support to the existing 45 camp partners.

New York Life’s other million dollars went to Judi’s House/JAG Institute in the metro Denver area. This grant is going towards data collection in the field of childhood bereavement. More specifically, the money will help the group measure the number children affected by death per geographic region and assess how children are adjusting after a death mentally, behaviorally, and academically.

What’s interesting about these two grants is that they both are rooted in sports philanthropy. The Moyer Foundation was founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen in 2000. Judi’s House was co-founded by former NFL quarterback Brian Griese. These and many other recent grants are also addressing childhood bereavement needs in multiple parts of the country. For example, Moyer expects to reach over 9,000 children and teens in 50 locations in the U.S. and Canada over the next three years.

“Our partnership goes beyond providing financial support; more than half of the 45 local Camp Erin partners are engaged with New York Life offices around the country,” Maria Collins, vice president, New York Life Foundation shared in regards to the Moyer grant. There is a Camp Erin location in New York City and one in Philadelphia as well.

In regards to the Judi’s House/JAG Institute grant, Collins stated, “We are supporting Judi’s House/JAG Institute because there is a clear need to develop standard and reliable measures and assessments for supporting bereaved children and their families as well as the broader field. The organization’s work will provide tools for other service providers to systematically evaluate the impact of their service programs and enhance the success of interventions designed to increase resilience and well-being.”

Since grieving children are at a significantly greater risk than their peers for depression, suicide, poverty and substance abuse, childhood bereavement grants like these can be seen a proactive form of grantmaking and preventative measure to reduce other serious social service needs down the road.

Since 1979, New York Life has provided more than $220 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofits. These two new grants are directly focused on children, but the funder also supports efforts of experts to develop and disseminate resources for adults who interact with grieving children. To learn more about the foundation’s approach to childhood bereavement support, read Recognizing Children’s Grief Awareness Day: A Conversation with Foundation VP Maria Collins.