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Connie and Steve Ballmer Pledge $425 Million for Children’s Mental Health [philanthropy.com]

 

By Maria Di Mento, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 1, 2022

The technology billionaires Steve and Connie Ballmer pledged more than $425 million to the University of Oregon to create an institute where the university’s researchers and experts in children’s behavioral and mental health will work with Oregon’s public school systems, families, nonprofits, and state agencies to tamp down the surge in mental-health issues children and youths in the state are facing after two years of the pandemic, the university announced Tuesday. The pledge is one of the biggest philanthropic gifts to back mental health announced in recent years.

The couple are giving the money through their Ballmer Group Philanthropy, a grant maker they started in 2016 primarily to support economic-mobility programs with a special focus on programs in Los Angeles, Southeast Michigan, and Washington State, where the couple live.

They also started focusing some of their grant making in recent years on mental-health efforts. In 2021, the Ballmers awarded a set of grants totaling $38 million to efforts to shore up Washington State’s shortage of mental-health workers and to improve the state’s overwhelmed behavioral health-care system.

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