Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health Announces Second Cohort of Innovation Award Winners

Feb 27, 2023

  • The Alliance for Children’s Mental Health names Closegap, The Confess Project, The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, Strategies for Youth and Up2Us Sports as its second cohort of Innovation Award winners.
  • Chosen from more than 600 applications, the five winners offer inventive, scalable solutions to fill critical gaps in mental health care for youth.

New York - 

Morgan Stanley today announced the second cohort of winners of its Alliance for Children’s Mental Health Innovation Awards, an initiative that aims to identify and fund transformative mental healthcare solutions for children and young adults across the U.S. Each of the winning organizations will receive a $100,000 grant to help scale their solutions, as well as support through training on nonprofit management topics from experts in the field, awareness-raising and additional fundraising opportunities.

From more than 600 applications, the five winners stood out for the unique impact they have made on their communities and their proposed strategies to expand and scale their programming. The winners were selected by experts from the Alliance for Children’s Mental Health, which brings together leaders from Morgan Stanley, its Foundation and prominent nonprofits in the children's mental health space.

“This year’s Innovation Award winners are advancing compelling programs with potential to effect powerful change across a range of communities and topics,” said Ted Pick, Co-President at Morgan Stanley and Chair of the Alliance for Children’s Mental Health Advisory Board. “Whether through childhood education or athletics, we are excited to help these organizations grow and continue to address critical mental health issues facing young people today.”

The winning nonprofits and their innovative mental health solutions include:

  • Closegap is an EdTech nonprofit startup focused on providing real-time mental health support and early crisis intervention for students in K-12 public schools through a free online mental health check-in tool.
    • K-12 Daily Mental Health Check-In: Captures relevant mental health information from students on a daily basis and delivers it to educators and school counselors using an interactive tool.

  • The Confess Project trains barbers and stylists to become mental health advocates, with the mission to build awareness and break stigmas around mental health within the Black community.
    • Black Youth Mental Health in the Shop: Provides trauma-informed mental health training to barbers and stylists specifically for working with Black youth, leads workshops to train parents as mental health advocates, and sponsors free youth haircut events to raise awareness about youth mental health.
  • The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide is dedicated to increasing awareness, saving lives and reducing the stigma of suicide through specialized training programs and mental health resources that empower teens, parents, school staff and community members with the skills needed to help youth build a life of resiliency.
    • Adolescent Clinical Suicide Prevention Training for Nurses: Empowers non-psychiatric nursing professionals to identify and assist adolescents at risk of suicide through specialized prevention training in partnership with hospital systems.
  • Strategies for Youth aims to keep vulnerable young people out of the juvenile justice system and to provide them with the knowledge, support and resources they need to succeed.
    • Trauma Jeopardy and From Stress to Success - LGBTQ+ Youth Experiences: Offer psycho-social educational game-based interventions that help young people—particularly at-risk LGBTQ+ youth—effectively and safely recognize and manage trauma and distress.
  • Up2Us Sports is the country's only national sports-based service program that trains coaches to address mental health and other challenges facing youth in underserved communities.
    • Sports-Based Youth Development (SBYD) Coach is a series of innovative and highly interactive videos accessed online and via a coaching app, which will provide coaches with techniques and best practices for fostering social and emotional learning skills as well as mental wellness among youth.

“Funding solutions that address children’s mental health—specifically among diverse and underserved communities—is mission-critical. Approximately 20% of youth experience a mental, emotional, developmental or behavioral disorder, but only around 1% of philanthropic funding is earmarked for these issues,” said Joan Steinberg, President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and CEO of the Alliance for Children’s Mental Health’s Advisory Board. “We are encouraged by the determination of this year’s winners to tackle the children’s mental health crisis head-on, and hope their groundbreaking solutions can encourage other philanthropists to help us close the funding gap in this space.”

The Innovation Award winners receive additional opportunities to raise capital—both through introductions to other funders, as well as assistance in developing publicity and fundraising materials that last beyond the program. Last year’s cohort collectively raised over $6 million in additional funding and broadly increased awareness of their programming.

To learn more about the Innovation Awards, and stay up to date with the latest from the winners, visit here.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

About Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health

The Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health brings together key leaders in the children's mental health space and combines the resources and reach of Morgan Stanley and its Foundation with the knowledge and experience of its distinguished nonprofit partner organizations. The Alliance helps strategically address children's mental health concerns and the far-reaching challenges of stress, anxiety and depression. For more information about the Alliance, visit

Daniella Cohen,