Twenty years ago, the Meadows family took a bold stand for Texans. Through The Meadows Foundation, they began strategically exploring what our community and state needed to address mental health issues for all its citizens.

“For about 10 years, we did a lot of listening and learning, providing some immediate assistance to community-based services both in Dallas and across our state,” said Bruce Esterline, Senior Vice President for Grants and Strategic Initiatives at The Meadows Foundation. “After that, we became confident about the role that philanthropy could play in this space and at our foundation, specifically. In the development of a second phase of a strategic plan, we identified the need to create what would become the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

When The Meadows Foundation looked deeper they found only seven other states that had something similar, and in most cases they were based in academic settings. “In asking our partners where they went for good, up-to-date information around which to develop state and local policies, we found that there was really a sort of dearth of recognized expertise,” said Bruce.

“We went through an extensive process, and held a lot of town hall-style meetings around the state with practitioners and stakeholders. We had a planning body that pulled together the best minds we could find from all over the country, and out of those efforts ultimately came the recommendation for an independent, free-standing center for policy development.”

Bruce Esterline, Senior Vice President for Grants and Strategic Initiatives, The Meadows Foundation

They set out on a feasibility study for more than two years, to determine the real value in building a policy institute and whether the Foundation was in a good position to provide the right kind of leadership. “We went through an extensive process, and held a lot of town hall-style meetings around the state with practitioners and stakeholders,” said Bruce, who first joined The Meadows Foundation in 1983. “We had a planning body that pulled together the best minds we could find from all over the country, and out of those efforts ultimately came the recommendation for an independent, free-standing center for policy development.”

Founded in 1948, The Meadows Foundation is a changemaker organization for our state. In 2016, they made grants totaling nearly $3.2 million to directly address mental health issues through organizations like the Agape Clinic and The Bridge, which offer integrated health services for low income and homeless populations in our community.

“The Meadows Foundation supports Dr. Trivedi’s work at UT Southwestern because we see the needle moving. The VitalSign6 program is making a tangible impact on the way that we identify and treat mental illness in our community. And this is not happening everywhere else – this notion of making progress and providing hope, is huge.”

Bruce Esterline

 “For quite a while now, we have been funding groups at the local level that take to heart the importance of integrating physical and mental health services in one location,” said Bruce. “We’ve also been funding efforts in medical education schools who are using that same approach. Some new schools have particularly good laboratories for integrating at the training level.”

“We’ve supported some wonderful mental health and social services groups that are working with very vulnerable populations – and they recognize the critical need to use trauma-informed care as a modality for their services,” he continued. Much like Dr. Madhukar Trivedi at UT Southwestern Medical Center, the Foundation understands that individualized treatment is critical for remission. “The Meadows Foundation supports Dr. Trivedi’s work at UT Southwestern because we see the needle moving. The VitalSign6 program is making a tangible impact on the way that we identify and treat mental illness in our community. And this is not happening everywhere else – this notion of making progress and providing hope, is huge.”

Related Links:
Okay to Say
Texas State of Mind