Lever for Change announces Meadows Institute as Lone Star Prize recipient

Credit: Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

On June 15, 2021, Lever for Change and Lyda Hill Philanthropies announced that Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute was selected as the $10 million recipient of the Lone Star Prize, a Texas-based competition launched in early 2020 to improve the lives of Texans and their communities. The Meadows Institute’s “Lone Star Depression Challenge” will improve quality of life and mental health care access for communities across the state.

The Awardee

According to the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, fewer than 1 in 15 of the more than 1.5 million Texans suffering from depression each year receive sufficient care to recover. Tragically, nearly 4,000 people in the state die each year from suicide. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these problems: symptoms of depression have increased four-fold and the number of people seriously considering suicide has doubled.

The “Lone Star Depression Challenge” is led by Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute in collaboration with the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern, Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use.

The program will improve quality of life and mental health care access for communities across the state, particularly for people of color, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty. It will reduce barriers for all Texans with depression, detect their needs earlier, and care for them more effectively through community-based care. 

The Finalists

On January 7, 2021, we announced the five finalist teams for the Lone Star Prize out of more than 172 proposals. Over 200 peer applicants, philanthropic and civic leaders, and subject matter experts with experience in health, workforce, and the environment among other issue areas evaluated the applications during a rigorous three-month review process. They evaluated applications based on four criteria: whether they were transformative, scalable, feasible, and evidence-based. The five top proposals each received $40,000 to work with a team of technical experts to strengthen, revise, and re-submit their proposed solutions.

The four other finalists included:

  • JUST: JUST will invest in 20,000 female entrepreneurs to build wealthier, more financially resilient communities across Texas by increasing their ownership opportunities.
  • Merit America:  Merit America will build new pathways to upwardly mobile careers for talented, low-wage Texans without bachelor’s degrees, focusing on underrepresented minorities.
  • Texas Water Trade: Texas Water Trade’s project Clean Water for All Texans proposes a nonprofit water service provider that would deliver clean water to households most in need by deploying affordable onsite water treatment systems through a trained workforce. Key Partners include the University of Texas at El Paso, Columbia University, and Antelope Water Management.
  • Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy:  Rice University’s Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies will transform the environment by implementing a soil carbon storage market — growing new economic opportunities, soil health and ecosystem restoration benefits for Texans.

Additional Funding

We are featuring all of the awardees of the Lone Star Prize in our Bold Solutions Network. This Network seeks to match nonprofits and social enterprises – whose solutions to significant social challenges were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions – with additional donors and funding. Interested donors may contact Dana Rice, our Vice President of Philanthropy.