Active Minds Awarded $600,000 to Expand Mental Health Education in K-12 Schools Nationwide

May 22, 2023

Alexa Lamanna Clark
(202) 320-2766;

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s grant supports Active Minds’ 1,000 in 1,000 commitment.

WASHINGTON – Active Minds announced today that it has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF) toward its commitment to expand the organization’s evidence-based peer-to-peer model of mental health culture change to 1,000 new K-12 schools across the country in 1,000 days. Over the last 20 years, Active Minds’ programming has been committed to combatting stigma, encouraging help seeking, and preventing suicide among teens and young adults. 

The 1,000 in 1,000 commitment was announced in 2022 in response to worsening mental health challenges facing students nationwide. With a goal of bringing Active Minds’ curriculum to 1,000 new schools in 1,000 days, the organization aims to reach young people with the tools they need to foster open discussion about mental health and empower them to build a more healthy and supportive space for themselves and their peers. 

“Students nationwide need mental health support, now more than ever. They want the opportunity to learn about mental health and to change the environment that’s impacting their lives and their peers,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds. “We’re honored to receive this grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to expand this work and to continue our outreach in schools across the U.S. The grant will enable us to build an even stronger network and to impact more students than before.”

As the youth mental health crisis worsens nationally, educators, administrators, advocates, clinicians, and parents and guardians are seeking effective interventions to support impacted youth. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year-olds, and a recent CDC study reported that mental health was poor among one in three high school students during the pandemic. In particular, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth face outsized impacts of the ongoing crisis, with educationally restrictive and discriminatory legislation making schools increasingly hostile.

Incorporating data that shows most (67%) young adults are more likely to first share a mental health struggle with a friend before turning to anyone else, Active Minds takes a next-gen approach to empowering young adults to change how mental health is talked about and treated in their communities. Through Active Minds’ peer-to-peer model and nationwide chapter network, more than 15,000 young adults in high schools and colleges are mobilizing each year to change the culture around mental health in their peer groups, schools, communities, and families. Last year, nearly half (49%) of participating youth in the Active Minds High School network evaluation identified as students of color, including 20% as Hispanic or Latinx; 38% as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and 8% as one or more gender minority group (nonbinary/gender nonconforming, or multiple identities). Most (85%) high school students participating in Active Minds programming report they feel their mental wellbeing has improved since participating in the programs.

“By supporting organizations like Active Minds, we know we’re investing in individuals that are working to make the world a safer place for our youth. They have a demonstrated impact on the communities they serve, and we are excited to support their continued growth,” said Gina Osorio Wallace, program manager, grants and community relations with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “Increasing access to mental health education for youth is essential to their academic success and well-being, and we’re thrilled to work with Active Minds in this pursuit.”

The 1,000 new schools reached with help from JKCF will join Active Minds’ robust network, including 600+ chapters deepening the national conversation on mental health. They will also join a strong learning community, including those joining Active Minds’ Mental Health Advocacy Academy, a leadership development program for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ high school students, and the V-A-R® training program, among other initiatives advancing a new mental health conversation. These community-powered initiatives push back against “one-size-fits-all” models of care that risk overlooking vulnerable youth. With this grant, Active Minds can continue reshaping what mental health education looks like in schools nationwide. 

To be connected with founder and executive director of Active Minds Alison Malmon or grants and community relations manager of JKCF Gina Osorio Wallace, please contact Alexa Lamanna Clark at (202) 320-2766 or


About Active Minds: Active Minds is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Active Minds has a presence at more than 1,000 campuses, schools, communities, and workplaces nationwide, and is powered by a robust Chapter Network, the nationally acclaimed Send Silence Packing® display, and inspiring Active Minds Speakers. The organization is dedicated to ending the silence and changing the culture around mental health for everyone. To learn more, visit

About the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded almost $250 million in scholarships to nearly 3,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $131 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.