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Hogg Foundation Takes New Direction in Improving Mental Well-being

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Five rural Texas counties and about a dozen communities in the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area will benefit from the Hogg Foundation’s new focus on community mental health. Recently the foundation announced two new initiatives, totaling $15.5 million in grants: Collaborative Approaches to Well-being in Rural Communities (WRC) and Communities of Care (COC).

Both initiatives align with the foundation’s new strategic plan to transform how communities promote mental health in everyday life, with a focus on historically marginalized populations.

“These initiatives are about more than just delivering additional mental health services,” says Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation and senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement.

“They’re about leveraging community assets to deal with complicated issues of power and health disparities. It’s about mobilizing energy around mental health and community resilience to address fundamental issues of fairness and stigma.

Grantees will build on an existing collaborative composed of diverse community partners who will assess the current environment and plan strategies to improve community resilience, mental health and well-being.

These efforts mark a significant shift for the foundation as they move upstream to address root causes that contribute to health inequities.

“We are learning alongside our grantees, creating a shared vocabulary and body of knowledge about community well-being that can be replicated broadly,” says Tammy Heinz, a leader of the WRC initiative and a program officer and consumer and family liaison for the foundation.

WRC is co-led by Rick Ybarra, program officer, and COC is co-led by Vicky Coffee, program manager, and Stephany Bryan, program officer and consumer and family liaison.