sunset reflection

2019 in Review–and Looking Ahead to 2020

Dear Risa Fund Family,

You may have read about the mental health crisis in our nation. A recent Washington Post article reveals, “from 2007 to 2017, the number of suicides among people ages 10 to 24…increased 56 percent.”*

At the Risa Fund, we have never been more compelled to act. That’s why, in 2020, we will delve further into the issues most critical to us: transitional age mental health challenges, suicide prevention, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

In partnership with the Josh Anderson Foundation, we will host a series of focused dialogues on these topics with knowledgeable thought leaders to ascertain how the Risa Fund can make a significant impact.

We are sincerely grateful for your support, which, in 2019, enabled us to continue our partnerships with:

  • The Risa Wellness Project @THEARC, providing area youth with access to expanded mental health services as well as art therapy and journaling (via ArtReach) to bring healing through art and the written word;
  • Leveling the Playing Field, where we provided athletic clothing and equipment to underserved youth in DC, Virginia, and Maryland; and
  • the 11th Street Bridge Park, with a contribution to a theatre production that explores intergenerational relationships among DC’s inner-city male residents.

New this year, the Risa Fund collaborated with DC Scores by funding the two-part development of an intensive course in mental health and trauma-informed first-aid training for staff and coaches. Further, we are supporting the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing to add an additional suicide bereavement group as well as a scholarship program for those needing financial assistance to attend.

Through our work, we hope to fuel the efforts of organizations working to promote mental well-being and early intervention among area youth, so that suicide is never again a last resort.

We thank you for your generous support.

With love,
Gail, Ariel, and Sophie

*Wan, William. “Teen suicides are increasing at an alarming pace, outstripping all other age groups, a new report says.” Washington Post. Web. 17 Oct 2019.