Mental Health for Kids: This Texas Foundation Is On the Case

 photo:  Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

photo:  Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

Some of the mental health funders that we cover at IP have a national focus and a strong policy and advocacy agenda. But others are more like the Hogg Foundation, a grantmaker solely dedicated to mental health, that keeps its funding close to home.

We looked at the history of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, which is housed at the University of Texas at Austin, a few years ago. It was founded with oil wealth in 1940, by a woman named Ima Hogg, who had lifelong interested in mental health and progressive views on the subject.

RelatedThe Backstory Behind the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

The foundation has been going strong for many decades now, most recently awarding grants to seven nonprofits in Texas. Aside from its state-specific focus, something that stands out about Hogg is its commitment to local children, adolescents, and young adults. The new grants totaling $1.9 million are primarily aimed at early intervention and prevention for youth.

Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation, said:

Texans are increasingly demanding a fully resourced mental health system for kids, one that gets them on a productive path that doesn’t lead to dropping out or incarceration. These grantees are pioneering efforts to ensure that students get the emotional support they need to thrive.

Research says that about two-thirds of students in the U.S. have experienced at least one traumatic event by the age of 17. Meanwhile, studies continue to draw more connections between mental health and academic achievement.  The K-12 demographic was in focus for Hogg’s recent grant cycle with grants going to the Lockhart Independent School District, Communities in Schools of North Texas, and Children’s Grief Center of El Paso. The new seven grants were all between $100,000 and $400,000.

Transition-age youth between the ages of 16 and 24 is one also of this funder’s primary concerns, especially in the Houston and Harris County areas. Hogg launched a four-year initiative devoted to this demographic in 2014 and committed around $10 million to the mental health needs of youth then. This is an age group that often gets overlooked by health funders of all shapes and sizes, but it’s a very vulnerable group at a pivotal point of life. For example, without the mental health care that young adults need, they are at greater risk of getting involved with the juvenile justice and foster care systems, dropping out of high school and college, and making choices that will affect the rest of their lives. Hogg grantees for transition-age youth include Communities in Schools of Houston, Easter Seals of Greater Houston, and Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults.

Hogg’s Children’s Mental Health Conference a couple years back was all about transition-age youth in the Houston area. And this year’s event adopted the theme of listening to transition-age youth and tailoring mental health services to meet their needs. Since this is a foundation that’s intertwined with a university, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more support for basic teacher training for the mental health needs of students in the near future. Teachers and principals aren't necessarily trained in these matters as much as they could be, and Hogg could be a driving force in changing this.

At the time this post was written, there were no open RFPs for grant initiatives. But check this page frequently for updates about upcoming grant cycles and funding opportunities.