In celebration of our 10th Anniversary this year, we invited our Advisory Board members to donate $1,500 to any organization of their choice — in their communities and around the globe — with the goal of meeting unmet needs in line with Born This Way Foundation’s mission to support the mental health of young people and working with them to create a kinder, braver world.
Below, our Advisors share a little bit about why they’ve chosen each organization. We invite you to check them out, learn about the important, urgent work they’re doing, and support them if you’re able!
Inspiring Children Foundation
For 18 years, The Inspiring Children Foundation and Jewel Never Broken program have been empowering children struggling with financial hardship, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation by giving them the ultimate environment to survive then thrive at the highest levels. I chose this organization because I have first-hand experience of the impact they make on the lives of countless young people. They took me from two suicide attempts, broken familial relationships, depression and anxiety to a love for life so great it often brings me to tears of joy. They helped me realize that healing is possible. I don’t think I’d be alive today without them, let alone be filled with so much love, happiness, and appreciation for life. They saved and completely transformed my life, and I am only one example of their impact.
NAMI Nevada has shown great dedication to improving the mental health of the residents of Nevada. NAMI works continuously to advocate for access to housing, quality healthcare, and education for people with mental illness. NAMI does this by educating the public about mental health, providing 24/7 support for families and those with mental health illness, also advocating for funding and legislation that supports people with mental illness – ultimately supporting the belief and mission that recovery is possible.
Center for Native American Youth
The work that the Center for Native American Youth does resonates with me as someone who is young and Anishinaabekwe because we cannot lead healthy lives as Indigenous youths without regard for our culture and community. We deserve unconditional love, kindness, support, and safety. In the words of one of their Champions of Change, Nancy Deere Turney, “Our youth are in a hard time right now. We face loss of language, culture, lives, and lack of representation in tribal and federal government. Every elder lost is one more speaker we cannot learn from…” This loss has affected my community, and the strength it takes to keep fighting onward is difficult. Our voices matter. Increasing opportunity and providing resources for our youth matters so much to me, and the Center for Native American Youth deserves to be uplifted and recognized for their important work for the community.
Defi ‘Salsa’ U.
Movement of Recovery: LISA Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Helpline
Having experienced how hard it is to find the resources I’ve needed when struggling with my mental health, I wish no one ever had to go through what I went through. Suicidal ideation can be extremely intrusive. Talking to someone who completely understands your feelings and emotions can make a huge difference. That’s why I chose this organization, because I believe in their work. I want to spread the word about them so that my fellow Indonesians know that there’s a free and active resource to help us – and it’s only a text message away.
National Youth Foundation
The National Youth Foundation is both Black-founded and Black-led. NYF created and hosts the only national book competition for anti-bullying for youth. As bullying has major negative effects on the mental health and wellbeing of youth, providing an outlet for students to both express their feelings and create solutions is vital. I selected this charity because they provide a forum for youth to take a stand against bullying.
Open Doors Youth Services
Open Doors Youth Services (ODYS) is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Pansexual, Sistergirl, or Brotherboy (LGBTIQAP+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy) around South-East Queensland, Australia. I chose this organisation because their dedication to their vision of connecting young, queer people to support services has changed the lives of many living in this area – including mine! ODYS provides young queer people a vital lifeline to tap into community resilience, to make sure no one is alone, and no one is left behind.
I’ve chosen Sailship because of their brilliant work in my local community to support people with learning disabilities and mental health support needs. Sailship in Clacton On Sea, UK, champions work and life skills training to support a journey towards independence and positive wellbeing. When I visited, I was enamored by the sense of vision and passion from Liz and the team. From learning communication skills by serving customers in the Sailship cafe, learning how to build bug hotels, cookery skills, how to take care of yourself, learning to use horticulture as therapy, to using static caravans are classrooms – students have a holistic experience and gain a range of transferable skills.
I chose Bipolar UK because they make it a priority to help and support everyone affected by bipolar disorder. Bipolar does not discriminate and Bipolar UK is providing crucial care for everybody. They are saving and changing lives.
According to the WHO, there are just two mental health workers per 100,000 population in the Philippines. When I found out about this, I was shocked. The stigma surrounding mental health is prevalent and resources are not accessible enough. LoveYourself is a Philippines-based non-profit, which passionately advocates for Trans health, sexual health, and mental health. Every single day, they bravely commit themselves to creating safe and affirming spaces for the Filipino Youth, LGBTQ+, and MSM-community. I feel honored to ripple the uplifting and empowering work that LoveYourself puts into the world.
Hope Means Nevada
I moved to Nevada after University where I struggled deeply with my mental health. A woman who would later become a massive influence in my life hired me to work for Hope Means Nevada (HMN) – a movement raising awareness around teen suicide. Little did she know that HMN would shape my life in many ways. It taught me that people genuinely care and that I have never been alone – people saw me and wanted to help me. I chose HMN to receive a donation from the Kindness in Community program because they created a community of hope in our state and my heart. HMN deserves to be celebrated.
Proyecto Empatía is an Uruguayan grassroot socio-educational project, led by young people for young people that are deprived of liberty in juvenile prisons. They aim to rethink the prison system which is also a task for all of us. I’m in awe of their hard work and their willingness to step in places where youth are undervalued and forgotten by society, especially in places where stigma is all too present. Breaking these stigmas takes more kindness, more bravery, and more empathy. The folks at Proyecto Empatía are doing it heartfully through communication workshops and artistic expression, connecting the outside with the inside.
Founded in 2008, Catching Joy, is a nonprofit that promotes volunteerism and acts of kindness beginning with kids, teens, and families. We organize hands-on service projects to share the responsibility and joy of giving. Led by teen Maxwell Surprenant, Catching Joy has mobilized an estimated 100,000 people – mostly an army of youth. Volunteering is good for our mental health because it gives us perspective and purpose: we can use our gifts and talents to help others. It makes us feel more connected to our community and world at large. And the joy that we give to others comes back to us a hundredfold.
I have chosen to support UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal for Afghanistan. The needs of vulnerable Afghan children and their families are unprecedented. According to estimations, around $2 billion are required to meet the humanitarian needs of the population, with the appeal aiming to reach 15.3 million people of which 8.1 million are children. One of the key missions is to provide mental health and psychosocial support by social and community workers as Afghan children are exposed to and suffer severe psychological and social consequences. As a child of Afghan immigrant parents, born and raised in Germany, it is important to me to give back to and uplift the people and the place of my origin and thus, do my part in sharing the story of the brave, kind, and resilient people in need who deserve peace in their hearts, minds, and homes.
Snehalaya works to end inequality and cruelty to women, children, and the LGBTQ community in India. Their services focus on communities affected by poverty and human trafficking. I chose this organization because as a South Asian woman living in the United States, I want to support organizations doing crucial work in a country that means a lot to my family and I. Snehalaya is working to foster a kinder and braver world by combating injustice and bringing rescue and rehabilitation to communities that need it.
Asian Mental Health Collective
Mental health has always played a big part of my life, especially as an Asian-American. The topic of mental health has always been stigmatized and shrugged off in the Asian community, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent rise in AAPI hate crimes, mental health is of the utmost importance. Thus, seeing organizations like the Asian Mental Health Collective doing more work to normalize and destigmatize this topic is inspiring. And one day, I hope that mental health is something everyone can freely talk about in their households and communities.
As a first-generation American and child of immigrants, I personally feel that connecting to my family’s cultural roots provides me with a source of healing and pride. Additionally, as an Advisory Board Member, I deeply appreciate the power of youth in the realm of advocacy and change-making. That is why I am so excited about Ieladeinu’s work, it marries my cultural identity as an Argentinian Jew with my hope to uplift youth by serving and providing resources for low-income Jewish youth in Argentina.
The Minds Foundation
As a diasporic South Asian woman, I’ve personally navigated mental health challenges, including anxiety and an eating disorder. When I first experienced an eating disorder in my sophomore year of college, I didn’t know where and HOW to seek help. After several weeks of struggling to feel better, I sought therapy. It was the first time I was seeking help, experiencing therapy, and learning to articulate my mental health challenges. This moment propelled my desire to generate mental health awareness, particularly in South Asian communities. In this spirit, I’ve selected The Minds Foundation. Much of their work is across India and California. They are committed to destigmatizing mental health and providing democratized, accessible mental health care. They employ a grassroots approach that recognizes that mental illness is both deeply stigmatized and highly personal. I’m grateful for the opportunity and ability to support and amplify their work!
Border Angels is a volunteer-dependent, non-profit organization that channels radical love and compassion to service immigrants and migrant families near the US-Mexico Border. Border Angels protects and advocates for the standard human rights of people who seek refuge in the US for a better quality of life. Through educational programs, Water Drops, Day Laborer Outreach, bond funds, legal assistance, and shelter aid support for migrant and asylum seekers in Tijuana, Border Angels have transformed the lives of people within this vulnerable population. This organization has a profound understanding of the life-threatening experiences, trauma, and stressors of migrants/ refugees and provides love, light, and hope.