What We Fund

The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health is a collaborative fund that provides timely resources to organizations that focus on the mental health and well-being of adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+ in the United States—populations that face urgent needs during the pandemic but too often lack access to the care they need.

The Upswing Fund is not currently accepting applications. To learn more about future opportunities, subscribe to receive news from us below.

The following is an overview of the types of grants offered in our October 2020 request for proposals (RFP).

Surge Capacity

Provide immediate resources to direct-service organizations that provide mental health care to adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+.

Systems Enabler

Provide resources to organizations to support innovative approaches in adolescent mental health services that make more resilient systems to enable access to care.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Fund named an advisory committee of experts across a range of adolescent mental health specialties. The committee, in partnership with the Fund’s founding director, defined the grantmaking priorities and criteria for awarding grants.

The Upswing Fund is a collaborative fund seeded by Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates to advance social progress in the United States. Further support has been provided by The Klarman Family Foundation and other donors.

Grants awarded through the October 2020 RFP are one-time grants. As new investments are made to The Upswing Fund, eligible prior grant recipients may receive a renewal grant.

Through the October 2020 RFP, The Upswing Fund has made one-year, non-renewable grants between December 2020 and March 2021. Surge Capacity grants range in size from $10,000 to $100,000. The maximum Systems Enabler grant was $500,000.

For-profit organizations and organizations that do not serve or benefit adolescents of color and/or LGBTQ+ adolescents ages 10-18 are ineligible to be funded by The Upswing Fund.

The Fund supports organizations throughout the United States.


Grants from The Upswing Fund aim to ensure that more adolescents have access to quality mental health care. There is no requirement that applying organizations must provide clinical services.

The following list is intended to provide additional clarity on what The Upswing Fund will not fund:

  • Individuals or to causes that will benefit only one person.
  • Organizations that discriminate against adolescents of any race and/or LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Organizations providing treatments which are not evidence-informed.
  • Organizations who focus on serving early childhood care or who serve exclusively adults outside of the 10-18 target age range.
  • Organizations which are solely focused on providing personal protective equipment or other medical care for COVID-19 response.
  • Support and/or reimbursement for mental health services or other work that has already taken place.
  • Academic and/or scientific research.
  • Organizations who are applying for, hold, or are employed on a research grant from the tobacco industry.

Surge Capacity Grants aim to immediately increase capacity for mental health providers serving adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+ to ensure that more adolescents have access to quality mental healthcare. The Fund will enable grantees to provide care by:

  • Achieving short-term programmatic and organizational goals
  • Increasing capacity to treat more adolescents
  • Enabling the procurement of technology and telehealth resources to deploy teletherapy services as a response to COVID-19
  • Facilitating a marked impact on the youth they serve, determined by an increase in the amount of therapy sessions as well as improvement in adolescent patients’ mental health as measured by evidence-based surveys

Systems Enabler Grants provide resources to organizations to support innovative approaches in adolescent mental health services that make more resilient systems to enable access to care. A systems enabler is an inclusive, forward-thinking organization with a game-changing program or project focused on transforming mental health for adolescents. Systems Enabler Grants will be awarded to address these key focus areas:

  • Efforts to expand the formal mental health workforce
  • Mental health service integration in schools and other community-based organizations
  • Efforts to expand the use of digital tools or telehealth services
  • Public financing of mental health services
  • Stigma reduction and mental health awareness