During the fall of 2023, Huiying Memorial Foundation (HMF) held our second annual microgrant competition. The 2023 microgrant competition was particularly competitive, as we received a total of 46 applications - a 4.6x increase in applications compared to the previous year! Our team carefully reviewed all of the proposals to then select five recipients to receive the $5,000 award.
The applications received spanned a variety of topics including: mental health and wellness, arts and art therapy, holistic health and wellness, etc. In the chart below, you can see the breakdown of the different grant project types.
Of the total applications, we selected five to be the recipients of our microgrant award: Debriefing the Front Lines Inc. (career support), Allure Alliance, Inc. (health education, advocacy, and access), International Girls Ensemble (arts & art therapy), Southern Documentary Fund: Sister Senators Documentary (arts & art therapy), and Inspirationally Grieving My Baby Inc. (maternal/infant health & wellness). Below we’ll share the background and mission of each organization, as well as their upcoming projects.
Debriefing the Front Lines Inc.
Debriefing the Front Lines Inc. was founded in March of 2020 during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the only national, nurse-led mental health organization. The mission of the organization is to provide mental health support to nurses and help them navigate the physical, spiritual and emotional effects of Cumulative Care Taking Trauma (CCT). CCT is the daily over-exposure to abnormal and traumatic events without time for acknowledgement of, discussion about or recovery from said events, which can result in physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.
Debriefing the Front Lines offers monthly workshops rooted in education, self-reflection, and peer support from their community to provide a safe space for nurses to receive help. The $5,000 microgrant will help fund 100 therapeutic “debriefing” sessions with a board-certified nurse coach (NC-BC) to nurses experiencing CCT and nurses experiencing financial hardship due to major life events or mental illness. The microgrant will also cover the cost of 100 admissions to CEU workshops, which are required for the renewal of nurse licensing and help with personal and professional development.
Allure Alliance, Inc.
Allure Alliance, Inc. is an organization based in Texas dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Black women through education, community support and advocacy. Dr. Sharita Ambrose and La’Toya Swan, the co-founders of Allure Alliance, have been long-time HIV/AIDs educators and advocates. HIV/AIDs is often associated with homosexual intercourse or injecting drugs; however in Travis County, Texas, Black women - the vast majority of whom are engaged in exclusively heterosexual relationships - have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses compared to women of other races/ethnicities. Allure Alliance aims to create community dialogue and education through hosted training programs and gatherings. Their work addresses the complex and intersectional issues impacting Black women regarding sexual health and HIV prevention, navigation and treatment. The $5,000 microgrant will help fund three community engagement events as part of the organization’s K.I.S.S & Tell project, which aims to educate and address misconceptions about HIV/STIs, and increase access to life-saving PrEP treatment.
International Girls Ensemble
International Girls Ensemble (IGE) has a mission to empower girls and women on stage through theater education. Their work combines educational theater with behavioral therapy to create a trauma-informed somatic therapy tool for girls in NYC, Kenya, and Thailand.Through their work they help girls tackle topics such as access to education and the promotion of confidence and agency. Participating in theater has helped their girls create a strong sense of empowerment, and they’re provided a safe space for self-discovery, public speaking and imaginative play. The $5,000 microgrant will help fund a 20-week, 90 minute/week theater and therapy program for girls aged 10-14. This program will have a supervising clinician focused on helping the girls develop mental health skills. The clinician will be evaluating the girls before and after the program to assess the impact of the program on their emotional wellbeing.
Southern Documentary Fund (Sister Senators Documentary)
The Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) is an arts nonprofit that supports documentary media either made in or about the South. Their mission is to empower Southern creators to tell stories through Southern eyes, and to provide them with diverse resources such as grants, fiscal sponsorship, mentorship, and community awareness and education. The $5,000 microgrant will be used to support the creation of Sister Senators, a feature length documentary by Emily Harrold of Orangeburg, South Carolina, an Emmy-award winning director/producer whose work has been accepted at the Tribeca film festival. The film showcases how five women of the South Carolina senate band together in the wake of Dobbs, state legislatures imposing strict bans on abortion. These 5 women - from Republican, Democratic and Independent parties - work together to fight against attempts to pass strict abortion bans in a legislative body that is overwhelmingly conservative and male. The film follows the five female senators over the course of a year and a half as they continually stand up for women's rights, push against political challengers, and discover a bond transcending partisan politics. The film is currently in mid-production and planned to premiere by early 2025.
Inspirationally Grieving My Baby Inc.
Inspirationally Grieving My Baby Inc. (IGMB) has a mission to provide a platform of education, support, and empathy for low-income families in NYC that have experienced the painful loss of a pregnancy or infant. This can include parents, grandparents and siblings of loss. By fostering an environment of understanding and compassion, IGMB aims to create a safe space where individuals can openly share their experiences, seek solace, and find resources to help them in their healing journey. Infant mortality is 1.5x higher in low-income areas compared to high-income areas, and there is a severe lack of grief services and mental health support for impoverished mothers in black and brown communities. It is important to see these gaps be filled and for grieving families to receive support from other members within the community. The $5,000 microgrant will fund a healthcare provider and a bilingual (English & Spanish), clinician-led grief support group serving low-income mothers in NYC that will meet every week for 3 months from December 2023 to February 2024.
Once again, the microgrant competition this year had an amazing turnout and HMF is excited to continue this event next year to support other nonprofit organizations. Stay tuned for our future opportunities to come in the new year!