I am so pleased to continue this discussion about the important work The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health is doing to support organizations advancing the well-being of young people nationwide. In part one of this series, I shared my personal journey to committing my career to adolescent mental health. Throughout the different experiences along this path, I have come to learn that care providers must innovate to meet young people where they are.
That’s why I’m so passionate about our work at The Upswing Fund. Our October 2020 request for proposals drew an overwhelming response. We received and reviewed hundreds of applications from dedicated direct service providers across the country who work with adolescents every day. Making decisions about how to distribute resources for these essential services was no easy feat, so we engaged experts from the field to help select a diverse set of organizations that span sizes, approaches, communities, and geographies.
On behalf of The Upswing Fund, our partners, and supporters, I am thrilled to announce that 88 incredible non-profit organizations received COVID-19 response grants. I’m so inspired by the work they are doing, and the ways they are centering youth voices to drive innovation in delivering mental health and emotional support services. I am especially proud that The Upswing Fund’s inaugural group of grant recipients features large and small organizations side by side. To truly serve young people in the ways they deserve, this work must happen at multiple levels and in interdisciplinary ways, so it was important to us that we invest in organizations of all sizes and approaches.
In addition to partnering with established organizations with scale, reach, and breadth, it’s also very meaningful to me these grants spotlight emerging organizations driven by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ leaders. These passionate social entrepreneurs reflect the lived experiences, realities, and communities of the adolescents we are trying to reach. For many of these organizations, the philanthropic support from The Upswing Fund will accelerate and elevate their work in ways we are so excited to see.
In honor of the community-driven approaches practiced by grant recipients, I want to highlight a few ways organizations are standing with youth, in their own words:
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the work of all 88 grant recipients supported by The Upswing Fund.
In addition to honoring these amazing organizations, leaders, and young people, I also want to deeply thank all of the organizations who shared their time, words, ideas, and testimonials in their applications. We have been inspired and humbled by the tenacity, solidarity, and ingenuity taken by committed community members to support the adolescents in their lives.
Sustained, persistent efforts are so important to showing up for young people. Through the applications, we heard time and again that being there for adolescents is critical to their mental health, well-being, and positive development into the thriving, resilient contributors they strive to be.
And of course, this process has all unfolded alongside the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, and the resources distributed through The Upswing Fund will undoubtedly support adolescents who need care, this is just the beginning. The effects of COVID-19 on adolescent mental health will be long-term and some are potentially unknowable at this time. I hope this is the first step in other donors linking hands to join us in making sure that more adolescents have access to the services and programs they need.