Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Awards Nearly Two Million Dollars to Support the Mental Health of High School and College Students

Lansdowne, VA – Today the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced $1,745,000 in new grant funding dedicated to supporting the mental health of young people. In response to the staggering mental health crisis facing students nationwide, this funding will accelerate the work of three nonprofit organizations with a strong record in helping high school and postsecondary institutions support students experiencing mental health difficulties.

“In our decades of working with students, we’ve long observed the important connection between students’ mental health and their academic success. We know that on-campus support can make all the difference,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “This new funding supports our commitment in ensuring that campuses across the country have the resources needed to support students’ well-being so they can take full advantage of a postsecondary education. We’re very proud to help accelerate the impact of these three great organizations.”

The American Psychological Association reports that more than 60% of college and university students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem during the 2020-2021 academic year — a ten percent increase from the year prior to the pandemic (2019). These new grants will contribute towards evaluating current services, implementing mental health training through professional speakers, destigmatizing the conversation around mental health, increasing student participation in programs, and more.

“We are grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for helping us to scale our signature JED Campus program. Dozens more community colleges and universities will benefit from expert support, evidence-based best practices, and data-driven guidance to protect student mental health and reduce risks for suicide,” said John MacPhee, CEO of The Jed Foundation. “Education and mental health support should be available to all young people across the nation to ensure they each reach their full potential.”

This years grantees include:

Active Minds Inc. – Awarded $600,000 to help fund the nation’s nonprofit leader promoting mental health awareness and education through its peer-powered programs, including their National Chapter Network and a youth-led mental health curriculum. Active MInds gives students in high schools nationwide the knowledge and skills to expand the conversation surrounding mental health and change the way in which it is discussed in everyday interactions. This award will help to advance Active Minds goal to reach 1,000 new K-12 schools in 1,000 days.

The Steve Fund – Awarded $600,000 to support the organization’s Mental Health on Campus programming for young people of color across colleges and universities with a focus on community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions. This program helps to aid in improving campus racial climate, reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, and increase participation in mental health services such as workshops and Wellness Circles among students of color.

The Jed Foundation (JED) – Awarded $545,000 to strengthen its JED Campus programming at community colleges and public universities nationwide. This programming currently provides more than 400 higher education institutions through expert support, evidence-based best practices, and data-driven guidance to protect student mental health and prevent suicide in teens and young adults.

“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.”

“The Steve Fund recognizes the critical importance of supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of students of color, to ensure that they can successfully transition from college to career development,” said Evan Rose, Board President at The Steve Fund. “The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will enable us to help these high achieving students reach their academic, career, and personal goals.”


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 $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.  www.jkcf.org