New York Life: New Grief/Trauma Program to Support Children, Families and Communities Impacted By Disaster

Originally Published by New York Life.

New York Life and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities today announced the launch of a new grant program to support children, adults, families, and communities experiencing trauma resulting from natural disaster or community-wide tragedy. The partnership will serve as the first-ever disaster-focused grant for the New York Life Foundation, the charitable arm of the company.


The program, Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster, will fund and administer efforts among nonprofit community-based organizations providing long-term trauma and grief support to those in geographic areas impacted by major weather-related disasters in 20171, including Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma and the California Wildfires as well as some of the deadliest mass shootings that have occurred in the last year and a half2, including Las Vegas, NV, Sutherland Springs, TX, and Parkland, FL. New York Life will work in partnership with the Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities to administer the program.

“Unfortunately, a rising number of communities across America are confronting upheaval and grief in the aftermath of tragedy—whether natural or human-made,” said Heather Nesle, vice president of corporate responsibility at New York Life andPresident of the New York Life Foundation. “We see this grant program as a natural extension of our company’s long-term commitment to be there for people when they need us most—including when the unexpected strikes.”

“Research has shown that traumatic events, such as hurricanes, floods, or mass gun violence, can harm children’s physical and mental health, as well as their sense of safety and security,” noted Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance. “Building resilience in the face of these disasters using the latest advances in neurosciences and trauma-informed practices, will help promote the overall health and well-being of children, families, and communities.”

Types of organizations expected to apply to the program include community centers, affordable housing programs, early childhood education and care programs, youth and family programs, behavioral faith programs, and others within and outside of the Alliance’s strategic action network. Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to successfully and effectively implement the grant program and have experience with trauma-informed care and/or grief services and support. Each successful grantee will receive awards of up to $50,000, and a total of $750,000 in support will be awarded. July 13 is the deadline to submit proposals.

“Understandably, typical disaster response efforts focus on meeting immediate needs of affected individuals. But as a result, they may neglect the deeply felt losses that follow from the disaster or trauma—the ‘secondary losses’—which are so important to address in order to restore long-term social-emotional health,” said Nesle.

The grant program will be led by Jennifer Jones, director of the Change in Mind Institute, which was launched at the end of 2017. Jones served for the last three years as the director of child and family systems innovation at the Alliance. In this role, she led the Change in Mind initiative, an international learning laboratory of 15 sites focused on infusing, aligning, and accelerating brain science research into social sector agency practice, policy, and systems.

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