What's Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Into in Mental Health?

With assets of $151 million, annual giving that hovers around $28 million, and year-round acceptance of LOIs, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) is definitely a key player in charitable global and national health initiatives. Lately, the foundation has socked much of its influence and infrastructure into its U.S.-based mental health program, which seeks to benefit veterans, recently returning service members, and their families in a variety of ways.

Recently, BMSF hosted an Atlanta-based summit for mental health, bringing together grantees, expert faculty, partners, and national leaders to talk about the challenges of addressing the mental health crisis in the United States. The two-day conference, which was held June 4-6, 2013, at the Carter Center, consisted of a series of panels focused on learning new ways to integrate veterans back into their everyday lives when they return from combat. Topics included: Big Issues Facing our Veterans & Solutions for a Path to Successful Reintegration; Returning Home: Veterans Resiliency, Recovery, Treatment & Awareness Programs; and Transition to Civilian Life: Family Support Programs.

A look at the summit agenda and report makes it clear that BMSF favors an inclusive, warm, community-centric approach to mental health issues. This fits in with the foundation's other initiatives, which approach issues such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and diabetes in a similar fashion. It's all about small, community-based projects helping underserved populations. The take-away message here is that, on top of being fairly open to LOIs — especially for a big pharma philanthropy — BMSF is looking to fund little players, small initiatives in the public health realm. The foundation focuses on specific goals like this across the board in its health-related giving. So if your research happens to line up with its priorities and you have a small community organization, you have a really good shot at getting the money.