The Tow Foundation Launches New ‘Innovation Fund’

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Tow Foundation Launches New ‘Innovation Fund’

NEW CANAAN, CT – The Tow Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded a total of $1.5 million in grant funding to support 10 exciting nonprofit programs as part of its newly created Innovation Fund.

Based in six states, the 10 Innovation Grant recipients were selected from a pool of more than 400 applications for their promising, creative approaches to addressing one or more of the following issue areas affecting children and their families: mental health, early intervention efforts in schools and public health approaches to reducing gun violence.

Applications were evaluated by a committee of experts, including directly impacted community members. Priority was given to organizations that work alongside marginalized communities, address the needs and aspirations of those communities and are committed to elevating leaders of color.

“In the Foundation’s early days, we were constantly experimenting, taking risks and learning as we went,” said Emily Tow, president of The Tow Foundation. “By creating the Innovation Fund, we brought that start-up energy back to the boardroom.”

Funding will be given in the form of flexible, two-year grants that include technical assistance. The 10 Innovation Grant recipients will also participate in a cohort learning model as part of the award.

Building on its belief in the importance of equitable, trust-based philanthropy, The Tow Foundation took several new approaches to its grantmaking practices as part of this special initiative. This included issuing an open call for applications, expanding its geographic focus and collecting input from external reviewers.

“We’re inspired by all 10 of the Innovation Grant recipients,” said Frank Tow, chair of the Innovation Fund Committee and vice president of The Tow Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Each organization has a clear vision for the future and a bold plan to get there.”

Listed below are the 10 Innovation Grant recipients and the total amount of grant funding they will receive over two years:

California School-Based Health Alliance — $100,000 | Oakland, CA
Peer mentoring program that trains older adolescents in physical and mental health care to supplement in-school health centers.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — $98,000 | Philadelphia, PA
One-stop medical care for children with current, past and potential experience as victims of sex trafficking.

Connecticut Children’s — $132,000 | Hartford, CT
A secure, online portal with free, confidential mental health counseling for LBGTQ+ youth.

Peer Health Exchange, Inc. ­­­­— $198,000 | Oakland, CA
Personalized mental, physical and sexual health support for adolescents, delivered through a mobile app.

National Black Women’s Justice Institute — $198,000 | Brooklyn, NY
An easy-to-implement toolkit for schools to evaluate their mental health services for students, with a focus on girls of color.

Norris Square Community Alliance — $100,000 | Philadelphia, PA
Youth empowerment center that offers a safe space, paid job training opportunities, educational support and family mental health services.

 North Carolina Community Action Association — $170,000 | Raleigh, NC
A network of local agencies in rural, eastern North Carolina that prevent and mitigate the impacts of childhood trauma using a multigenerational, community-based approach.

Soul Shoppe Programs — $112,000 | Oakland, CA
Conflict resolution training for 4th and 5th graders, grounded in the principles of restorative justice.

Sunset Park Health Council, Inc. — $194,000 | Brooklyn, NY
Youth mental health care that includes an integrated assessment of each family member to achieve positive mental health outcomes for the entire family.

UTEC — $198,000 | Lowell, MA
A model to reach young people caught up in the justice system through mental health services, employment and education opportunities, gang peacemaking, intensive street outreach and “in-reach” within correctional facilities.

For more information on The Tow Foundation Innovation Fund, please visit
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