Grant awarded to U.S. Center for Mental Health and Sport

Madeline Slepski
June 22, 2022
On Thursday, June 9th, The Zac Plantz Foundation (ZPF) Board of Directors approved a $10,000 grant for the U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport (USC-MHS).

The Foundation researched various potential grantees, before selecting USC-MHS. At the beginning of the year, ZPF leadership designated athlete mental health as the 2022 giving priority under the Foundation’s Health & Wellness Pillar. Of the total grant amount awarded, $7,500 is restricted to providing “ACT!” training for sports organizations in Illinois and Indiana while the other $2,500 is unrestricted to assist USC-MHS in its rapid growth. This gift is the U.S Center for Mental Health & Sport’s largest single donation to date.

The “ACT! Training” equips participants (coaches, athletes, and parents) with the ability to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and/or crises and pathways/ resources to access additional professional help, if needed. The grant will allow training free of charge for up to 15 sports organizations.

After reaching out to the USC-MHS back in April and again having a meeting in May, Grants Committee and Board Member, Lauren Joseph, comments on the process of reviewing this grant when stating, “The Grants Committee and I were extremely impressed with the organization’s leadership, Margaret Domka, and Skye Arthur-Banning, Ph.D. They are clearly mission-driven and passionate about improving mental wellness in sports. We looked at several potential grantees as a Foundation. While they are all worthy of funding, we ultimately selected USC-MHS because we feel this training has life-saving potential.”

This organization is unique in that it is completely sports orientated. Student-athletes undergo many stressors that eventually can take a toll on anyone. From excelling in the classroom to being a leader and showing up to every practice while also balancing social and family responsibilities are difficult to juggle. Athletes are driven to be the best they can be and with that comes the forgetfulness to take care of themselves and their wellbeing. The USC-MHS wants to train and provide the skills to teach athletes that it is okay to pause and reflect on their mental health.

As we are in a world where mental health is a prominent topic, spreading awareness and getting more people involved in the conversation is a priority for ZPF.

To learn more about the U.S Center for Mental Health and Sport click here.