It is well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on mental and behavioral health across the globe. We also know that the behavioral, social and emotional health of children and families has been particularly damaged.
We are learning directly from our School System Administrator partners and from families participating in the Richmond Resilience Initiative that families and children in our community have experienced significant challenges over the past year and a half, including depression, isolation and abuse. Angela Jones, Richmond Public Schools’ Director of Student and Family Services, said “Teachers, parents and students’ writing assignments have identified recurring expressions of depression, grief and anger.”
We have also seen, during this pandemic, that our non-profit partners have been overwhelmed with requests for support and services far beyond their existing programmatic and general operating capacity. As a result of this increasing need, there is opportunity for funders to increase their impact by leveraging our collective resources and expertise to support our region’s children, families and non-profits.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Robins Foundation has embarked on a learning journey with several peer funding partners and identified specific ways in which we can collaborate and leverage resources to increase community impact. We are pleased to share that the Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation and Robins Foundation have created and approved a collaborative Social and Emotional Learning & Behavioral Health General Operating Support Grant.
Our foundations have approved five organizations as recipients of two-year Social and Emotional Learning & Behavioral Health General Operating Support grants for fiscal years 2021 to 2023, with funding from the three foundations totaling $700,000 ($70,000 per organization/year). The grantee organizations were specifically selected because of their ability to meet the unique needs of diverse populations, and because of their connection to social emotional learning. Needs in this area are significant and urgent due to the pandemic, so we prioritized organizations with a proven track record of successfully meeting community needs in partnership with the three collaborating funders. Meet our Social and Emotional Learning & Behavioral Health grantees:
- Crossover Healthcare Ministry
- Greater Richmond SCAN
- Latinos in Virginia Empowerment (LIVE) Center
- Side by Side
Robert Bolling, CEO of ChildSavers said, “We cannot overstate the exacerbated impact of trauma on children made more manifest by a pandemic, by race and by the social injustices that create more stressors. Now is the time to help! Proper mental health supports enable kids to process trauma and to build resilience as a cornerstone for strength and the ability to thrive. Our partnership with Robins, RMHF and Schaberg Foundation provides crucial, accessible and timely aid for our behavioral health work with children.”
We are proud to join together in supporting these organizations during a time in which behavioral health services and social-emotional learning are critical to the ongoing recovery of our communities individuals, children and families.