How Colts, Irsay Family's 'Kicking The Stigma' Is Impacting Mental Health Organizations In Indiana Through Action Grants

Since the Colts and Irsay family's "Kicking The Stigma" initiative launched in 2020, more than $16 million has been committed through grants and personal donations by the Irsay family to expand treatment and research and raise awareness of mental health. Applications for 2022 Kicking The Stigma Action Grants are open now. 

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Last September, the Colts and Irsay family announced 16 recipients for their first round of Kicking The Stigma Action Grants, which received $2.7 million in funds toward research, treatment and awareness of mental health disorders.

One of those organizations to receive a grant was Overdose Lifeline, which operates Camp Mariposa-Aaron's Place, which is a free, year-round weekend mentoring camp for children ages 9-12 affected by the substance use disorder of a family member. With the funding from the Kicking The Stigma Action Grant, Overdose Lifeline was able to serve 65 youth and their family members in the therapeutic intervention environment of Camp Mariposa.

"The Kicking the Stigma grant has allowed us to execute the vision of bringing Camp Mariposa to youth affected by substance use disorder," Justin Phillips, Executive Director of Overdose Lifeline, said. "This aligns with our mission to provide hope and resources to families affected by this chronic disease.

"The research shows us that having community and connection supports prevention and recovery and we know this program will change these children's lives because we have already witnessed it. In the U.S. Surgeon General's recent report, Protecting Youth Mental Health, he recommends that community-based programs, 'Implement evidence-based programs that promote healthy development, support children, youth, and their families, and increase their resilience.'

"This is what Camp Mariposa accomplishes and we could not do it without the Kicking the Stigma grant."

The full list of organizations to receive a Kicking The Stigma Action Grant in 2021:

  • Bring Change to Mind
  • Children's Bureau, Inc.
  • Eclectic Soul VOICES Corporation
  • HVAF of Indiana
  • Indiana Alliance of YMCAs
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana Youth Group, Inc.
  • Martin Luther King Center
  • Mental Health America (MHA) or Indiana
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Indianapolis
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Indiana
  • On Our Sleeves: The Movement for Children's Mental Health
  • Overdose Lifeline
  • Project Healthy Minds
  • Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (PACE)
  • Reach for Youth

Applications for 2022 Kicking The Stigma Action Grants are available now through June 3, 2022, and can be found at

The Kicking The Stigma Action Grant program provides Indiana-based nonprofit organizations opportunities to request funding for projects and programs centered on education, support and advocacy of mental health and mental illness.

The Colts and Irsay family launched Kicking The Stigma in 2020 with the goals of raising awareness about the prevalence of mental health disorders in our communities, and raising and distributing funding to organizations to expand treatment and research in Indiana and beyond. Through Kicking The Stigma's grant program and personal donations by the Irsay family, over $16 million has been committed to expand mental health treatment, research and awareness in Indiana and the United States.

In addition to nonprofits that have received and will receive grants, Kicking The Stigma has supported:

  • The Irsay Family Research Institute at Indiana University, a new institute in Bloomington, Ind. designed to be the nation's leading center for researching and addressing the stigma surrounding mental health
  • Ascension St. Vincent Stress Center
  • Boulder Crest Foundation/Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network
  • Indiana University Health
  • Irsay Family Wellness Center at Indiana University
  • Pathway To Recovery
  • Riley Children's Health "Be Happy" Program
  • Suburban North Club

"Support from the Colts means that those of us suffering from the shame of mental health challenges and substance use disorder are understood by organizations that have influence in the community at large," Phillips said. "The outspoken approach that the Colts organization has taken to address mental health issues helps normalize it and allows others to ask for help. Lastly, the financial support allows for marginalized individuals to receive services that would otherwise not be available."

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