Atlanta colleagues volunteering at a BlackRock-organized Black Girls Smile Welcome Kit Packing Party.
BlackRock employees know that just one step toward fostering and supporting mental health can make all the difference in living one’s best life. That’s why the Atlanta chapters of our employee-led Women’s Initiative & Allies Network (WIN) and Black Professionals & Allies Network (BPN) collaborated on a grant proposal centered on championing that very subject.
Their efforts resulted in a $200K mental health-focused network grant for Black Girls Smile (BGS), an Atlanta-based, Black woman-owned nonprofit that advocates for mental health in young Black women and girls. The grant went to BGS’s Charlyne McFarland Therapy Assistance program to help 200 girls and women of color receive therapy.
It’s a win-win
BGS is committed to helping underrepresented and underserved women of color. To amplify their work, a working group was formed under Crista DeStefano, Managing Director on the BlackRock Platform Innovation (BPI) team, and led by Angie Damachi, an Associate on the BPI team.
“My hope for this partnership among WIN, BPN and BGS is that we can work collaboratively to support BGS by increasing employee awareness of the organization’s mission and purpose, utilizing the firm’s talent to devise methods to expand the nonprofit’s visibility and connecting the organization with other community leaders and corporations to aid them further,” explains Crista.
Lauren Carson, Founder and CEO of BGS, with Angie Damachi
Our partnership in action
BlackRock and BGS have together held and participated in various events to promote mental health awareness, including a recent panel discussion on mental health struggles in adolescents led by BGS Founder and CEO Lauren Carson and Skyland Trail Family Therapist Brandon Baird. The discussion took place in our Atlanta office, organized by Angie, Grigor Boyadzhan, Vanessa Scott, and Holly Holland, and supported by WIN and BPN as well as several other employee networks, like Families & Allies at BlackRock (FAB) and the Abilities & Allies Network (ABN). The event helped highlight BGS’s impact in Atlanta and across the nation thanks to its therapy assistance program.
BPN also volunteered at a BGS Wellness Kit Packing Party, where 15 Atlanta employees helped sort and pack more than 2,000 items to be distributed to local women and girls.
“It was a lot of hard work, but the motivation came from knowing how much of an impact our support would have,” Angie says.
To learn more about Black Girls Smile, check out BlackGirlsSmile.org.