Blog | Carter Center’s Mental Health Work in Liberia Highlighted by New Foundation: Focusing Philanthropy

The Carter Center’s work to improve access to mental health care in Liberia is highlighted as one of 14 nonprofit recipients of a new foundation, Focusing Philanthropy, which seeks to connect potential donors across the United States with charities demonstrating strong achievements and excellent fiscal management.

Focusing Philanthropy was co-founded and is chaired by Larry Gilson, a former investment broker whose company handled more than $1.5 billion of equity capital from pension funds, insurance companies, college endowments, and high net worth individuals.

Part of the first class of Carter Center trainees in 2011, newly graduated and credentialed mental health clinician Quendi Appleton celebrates the beginning of her career helping people with mental illness in her country. Since the first class, The Carter Center has trained 39 local mental health clinicians, with an ultimate goal of 150 within the next few years. (Photo: Carter Center/P.Rohe)

Gilson says he and his colleagues wanted to find charities to support that could stand up to the same rigorous evaluations as the funds they had managed during their professional careers.

“We are all exposed to nonprofits tackling worthy causes, but which of them have substantial impact?”Gilson asked. “Which are institutionally credible? Which have shown the capacity to use additional donations effectively? Our goal is to make other conscientious donors aware of the opportunities we have winnowed through this extensive vetting.”

Focusing Philanthropy selected 14 U.S.-based and international organizations that work in three key areas: helping to build community infrastructure and resources, increasing self-sufficiency, or raising individual and community income.

The psychological impact of the long civil war in Liberia, which ended in 2003, has contributed to a mental health crisis. Less than 1 percent of Liberians have access to appropriate mental health services. In partnership with the Liberian government, The Carter Center aims to train 150 local, credentialed mental health clinicians, improve mental health policy, as well as conduct other activities to reduce stigma against mental illnesses.

“We are grateful for Focusing Philanthropy’s dedication to making a difference in lives of those with mental illnesses in Liberia,” said Rebecca Brookshire, senior associate director of development for health programs at The Carter Center.

Read the press release from Focusing Philanthropy highlighting The Carter Center >

Watch the PBS NewsHour segment on Liberia featuring Carter Center student Quendi Appleton: War-Torn Liberia Struggles to Care for Mentally Ill >

Listen to the National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” interview with Dr. Janice Cooper: “Liberia Marks Milestone in Mental Illness Fight” >

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