In response to the growing mental health crisis in America, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation recently awarded the first round of grants from its new Mental Health & Well-Being giving area, totaling more than $5 million. The portfolio of 15 grants will help the foundation discover where philanthropy can be most impactful and assist in shaping its future Mental Health & Well-Being strategy.
The grants address a range of mental health needs, from crisis to stability to flourishing. A portion of the grants are investing in innovations in well-being – new, promising practices designed to move individuals from stability to flourishing, living purpose-filled lives in which they are thriving and engaged in community.
One such grant for $100,000 was awarded to Inner Explorer to support the launch of its evidence-based mindful awareness program in Atlanta-area public schools. Inner Explorer is the world leader in the implementation of daily mindful awareness practice in schools, currently reaching more than one million students and more than 35,000 teachers. The organization has invested in platform technology to create a cycle of daily practice by linking teachers and students in the classroom to families and extended families in the community and around the world.
The Inner Explorer approach is:
- Evidence-based: proven to reduce stress and improve academic, behavioral and well-being outcomes
- Easy to implement audio-guided, sequenced and accessible via the internet
- Collaborative: teachers or staff join with students in the daily practices
- Affordable: costs approximately $5 per student per year
- Scalable: throughout an entire district, all classrooms (preschool through high school) can participate simultaneously through the platform
- Transparent: free for families and caregivers to join in each daily practice that their children hear in school, for a shared experience of calm and focus
The Inner Explorer mindful awareness program builds attention, self-awareness and emotional regulation skills while also being age-appropriate for elementary, middle and high school students in English and Spanish.
“Our mission is to unlock academic potential, foster lifelong well-being and catalyze compassionate action for millions of children, educators and families through daily mindful awareness practice,” said Laura Bakosh, Ph.D., co-founder, Inner Explorer. “Thanks to the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, we were able to provide our program to more than 100 schools and centers in metro Atlanta including Clayton County Public Schools, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Sheltering Arms, as well as to students involved in the Atlanta Mayor’s Year of the Youth programs.”
To continue improving and innovating, Inner Explorer has aligned with researchers from Spelman College and Georgia Tech to conduct research on program outcomes for their partners in the Atlanta area.
Daily mindful awareness practice empowers students to be the best versions of themselves. Inner Explorer is helping students open doors to the future, providing hope and change in Atlanta’s schools and communities.