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Jewish Family & Career Services Receives $500,000 Matching Grant from The Zalik Foundation to Address Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing 

One of the most troubling side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a serious global mental health crisis. It is especially tragic to see that children and adolescents are the most vulnerable. Depression and self-harm are rising among teens and suicide has now become the second-leading cause of death among American adolescents ages 10 to 14 years old. We have seen alarming amounts of anxiety and depression among teens right here in Atlanta. 

Now, a generous $500,000 matching grant from The Zalik Foundation will help address this urgent problem in Atlanta. The $500,000 matching grant, created in collaboration with Jewish Federations of North America’s national BeWell initiative, will fund a wide range of support services to Jewish teens in the community facing mental health and wellbeing challenges.

The funds, secured through the Atlanta Jewish Foundation’s Funders Collaborative, will be used by Jewish Family & Career Services to increase programs that support Jewish youth and those that care for them in the community facing mental health and wellbeing challenges. This funding will provide for the hiring of two professionals to build resiliency and support cross-community partnerships, to connect the community to services while decreasing barriers to services and increase skills and capacity to better respond to community needs. 

The Zalik Foundation grant is rooted in work that the Atlanta Jewish Foundation conducted back in 2020. In partnership with Jewish Federations of North America, the Foundation helped convene a group of local funders who identified teen mental health as a community priority and then set about to address it.  

“We are grateful to Helen and David Zalik for this generous donation and the Atlanta Jewish Foundation for focusing on this critical need that will help to address this alarming wave of mental health challenges by young people and those that care for them in the Atlanta region,” said Terri Bonoff, CEO of Jewish Family & Career Services. “Our teens are our future, and it is imperative that we do all we can to help those who are dealing with mental instability.” 

Atlanta Jewish Foundation and Jewish community partners are actively raising funds to match the Zalik Foundation’s $500,000 investment. “The Be Well initiative is a unique, donor-driven effort that is committed to improving teen and youth mental health and wellbeing. It couldn’t come at a more relevant moment,” said Jori Mendel, Chief Foundation Officer. “I encourage Atlanta philanthropists and all who are concerned about mental health to contact me at to learn how you can amplify the impact of the Zalik Foundation’s grant.  

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