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Girls/ Children

I am a teenage girl and would like to start a foundation to raise awareness for children coming from mentally ill households called the Purple Leaf Foundation. Our struggle is downplayed, ignored and misunderstood. Any resources?

   

My first thought is that rather than starting an independent foundation, which requires lots of overhead, that you perhaps first propose being a program affiliated with a larger organization. For instance, there must be groups that exist to support mentally ill adults and perhaps even more specifically mentally ill parents. I would start by reaching out to these groups about partnering. A model for this is both AIDS organizations as well as gay and lesbian organizations — both of these organizations exist and then have a subset of programs such as children of parents with AIDS or parents of gay and lesbian children. Also, the AA model is like that with the offshoot for family members of alcoholics. Another route might be going via groups that are specifically working with children and partnering that subset.

If all of that fails, you should start out on your own. I would first get together a mission and vision — what type of support will you provide (in person group meetings, resources, housing, etc.) and to whom will you provide (locally, nationally, internationally) and how (via an office, the Internet, etc.). Once you can be more precise about what you want to do and how, you might find a lawyer to help you establish a non-profit organization. Once you have done this you can start raising money for your work and also start doing your work. That seems many steps away. And once you have that done, you will need to get the word out — likely to the groups mentioned above.

—Amy