WPSU and the New York Life Foundation award 27 grants to raise grief awareness

June 11, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — WPSU Penn State, through the support of the New York Life Foundation, has awarded 27 grants to public media stations and non-profit organizations throughout the country to help raise grief awareness as part of its multi-platform Speaking Grief Project, which aims to validate the experience of grievers and help guide those who wish to support them.

Fourteen public media stations and 13 non-profit organizations have received nearly $110,000 in total to host in-person and virtual awareness events to screen WPSU’s “Speaking Grief” documentary and partner with local grief organizations to continue providing methods and resources for individuals and families dealing with grief. Several public media stations will also produce related radio stories from their communities.

The recipients were chosen based on how well their proposals aligned with the initiative’s mission to help create a more grief-aware society, according to Cassie Caldwell, WPSU project manager for the Speaking Grief Project.

“Our goal is to foster local conversations that help people share and learn from each other’s grief experiences,” she said.

The Speaking Grief Project and grants have been made possible through philanthropic support from the New York Life Foundation.

“New York Life and its Foundation are long-time leaders in the bereavement support field,” said Elaine Brzycki, WPSU project executive and relationship manager. “We are so fortunate to collaborate with New York Life, which shares WPSU’s and Penn State’s commitment to improving health and well-being.”

“WPSU is an award-winning leader in documentary production, and we appreciate their expertise in starting a national conversation on grief. They are helping us to achieve our goal of moving away from the idea that grief is a problem that needs to be ‘fixed,’’’ said Maria Collins, vice president of the New York Life Foundation. “By sharing diverse representations of bereavement, ‘Speaking Grief’ illustrates that grief is a universal, yet individual experience.”

“Speaking Grief” features candid interviews with families whose losses include stillbirth, suicide and more, and aims to explore the reality of grief and offer guidance on how people can get better at showing up for those who are grieving. The documentary is being aired on public television stations across the country.

Fourteen public media stations received funding. They are:

  • WRSE (Pensacola, Florida)
  • WSKG (Vestal, New York)
  • WGTE (Toledo, Ohio)
  • KRCB (Northern California)
  • KSUT (Ignacio, Colorado)
  • KLRN (San Antonio, Texas)
  • WGCU (Fort Myers, Florida)
  • WEDU (Tampa, Florida)
  • CET (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • WVIA (Pittston, Pennsylvania)
  • WQLN (Erie, Pennsylvania)
  • WXXI (Rochester, New York)
  • WNMU (Marquette, Michigan)
  • Redwood Empire (Eureka, California)

Thirteen non-profit organizations also received funding. They are:

  • Camp Rainbow (Boise, Idaho)
  • Alive Hospice (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Kent ISD (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
  • Evermore (Washington, D.C.)
  • Pine Tree Hospice (Dover-Foxcroft, New Hampshire)
  • Gerard’s House (Sante Fe, New Mexico)
  • Pillars Community Health (La Grange, Illinois)
  • Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice (Wichita, Kansas)
  • Mourning Hope Grief Center (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  • Caring Matters (Gaithersburg, Maryland)
  • KinderMourn (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Dougy Center (Portland, Oregon)
  • Kara’s Mission (Palo Alto, California)

The Speaking Grief Project includes a one-hour television documentary; a website with resources for people who are grieving and those who want to support them; a social media campaign; and numerous community engagement events, all aimed at starting a national conversation about grief.

Visit the Speaking Grief website for scheduled broadcasts and more information on the initiative.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 11, 2020