Feds donate $100K to youth mental health charities to celebrate Prince Louis
Published Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:48PM EDT
To celebrate the birth of Prince Louis, Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s baby boy, the federal government decided to skip sending toys or diapers in favour of donating $100,000 to two charities that support youth mental health initiatives.
The donation is being split between Stella’s Place, a Toronto-based charity that supports young adults dealing with mental health challenges, and Jack.org, an organization that empowers young leaders to spark peer-to-peer conversations about mental health.
Each charity received $50,000 on Tuesday.
The funding came as a surprise to Eric Windeler, founder and executive director of Jack.org, who learned of the donation just one hour before the government made it public.
“We got a call at 3 o’clock this afternoon that this would be happening and we didn’t know about the amount or anything like that until it was made public at 4 p.m. It’s a shock to us, like it dropped from the sky. It’s amazing,” Windeler told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
Windeler started the organization in 2010 with his wife, Sandra Hanington, after their son Jack died of suicide. The parents wanted to make a difference and figured that the best way to educate young people about mental health was by training them to lead the conversation.
The organization now operates out of 150 schools at the high school and post-secondary level in every province and territory.
The donation is a reflection of the federal government’s priorities, Windeler said.
“This is such a good sign of the government’s intent to really get serious about supporting youth mental health. This is the number one health-related issue for young people and the number one health-related cause of death still. So it’s super important.”
Jack.org has nearly doubled in size in the last year, with 24 staff supporting young leaders across Canada. In the past year, the charity organized 250 talks with 87 trained speakers, including a national summit on youth mental health in Toronto.
The surprise donation will help the charity keep up that momentum, Windeler said.
“Our plan is to double in size again in the next couple of years and help more young people become leaders in the field. They’re passionate advocates, they’re amazing, and it’ll help us do that faster.”