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Awareness Campaigns

2016 Change Maker Awards

Our annual Change Maker Awards celebrate individuals and organizations making real change in the mental health care system – and in the lives of children and adolescents who struggle with mental health and learning disorders.

The Change Maker Awards celebrate people and organizations that are creating real, meaningful change for children struggling with mental health and learning disorders. From the community leader putting in long hours for immigrant youth to the passionate nonprofit providing vital resources for families, this year’s honorees inspire us with their passion for changing the way we understand and treat our children. We invite you to learn more about our Change Makers — honorees, finalists and honorable mentions — and to support their work. By following their lead and working together, we can all transform children’s lives.


Champion Award Winner –
Brandon Marshall

NY Giants Wide Receiver and Co-Founder of PROJECT 375

Throughout the course of his stellar NFL career, Brandon Marshall has always been a game changer — on and off the field. But his courage to speak openly about his mental health is even more striking. After being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011, Brandon and his wife Michi co-founded PROJECT 375 to bust stigma and improve access to care and information. Learn more at

Visionary Award Winner –
Linda Rosenberg

President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health

Through its 2,700 member organizations, the National Council for Behavioral Health serves 10 million families living with mental illness and addiction, and works to ensure access to high-quality care. Linda Rosenberg has led the National Council in helping secure passage of the federal parity law, expanding integrated services and introducing Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., among many other initiatives. Learn more at

Corporate Advocate Award Winner –

Represented by Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, CEO & Chief Creative Officer

Carrying on a family tradition of jewelry making, Carolyn Rafaelian founded ALEX AND ANI® in 2004. Named for her first two daughters, the eco-conscious jewelry and accessories brand deeply reflects Rafaelian’s values and charitable focus. To date, ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN® has raised over $30 million for charities around the world. Learn more at

Outstanding Organization Award Winner –
International Bipolar Foundation

Represented by Board Chair Muffy Walker

The International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) is dedicated to improving understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder. Founded in 2007, the organization supports research, promotes care and resources, and raises awareness through educational programs and World Bipolar Day each March 30th. Learn more at

Local Hero Award Winner –
Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD

Program Co-Director, Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, University of Vermont College of Medicine

Dr. Avila is dedicated to serving children and youth at the margins — refugees and immigrants, teens struggling with mental health problems and young adults affected by substance abuse. She has secured funding for programs that address these critical issues, and works to eliminate inequality in access to resources and programming. Learn more at


Finalist – Outstanding Organization –
The JED Foundation

Over the last 15 years, The Jed Foundation has emerged as the leader in protecting the emotional health of America’s 21 million college students. Their model and award-winning programs are changing the way campuses, communities and families promote mental health and prevent suicide. Learn more at

Finalist – Outstanding Organization –
The Montefiore School Health Program

The Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP) — the largest and most comprehensive school-based health program in the country — provides coordinated primary and preventive healthcare to public school students in the Bronx, New York. MSHP partners with students’ primary and specialty providers to tailor services to the unique needs of each student. Learn more at

Finalist – Outstanding Organization –
Understood is a free, comprehensive resource that was created by 15 nonprofits to empower parents of the 1 in 5 children who have learning and attention issues. These brain-based issues can affect reading, writing, math, concentration, organization, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills or a combination of these. Learn more at

Finalist – Local Hero –
Susan Auman, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker and Therapist at the Family Resilience Group

With her deep commitment to children and families, Susan Auman works every day to empower children, adolescents and families in schools, community-based agencies and substance abuse treatment centers.

Finalist – Local Hero –
Carrie Banks

Supervising Librarian, The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs, Brooklyn Public Library

Carrie Banks is a nonstop advocate for children with special needs and their families, working to expand library services for special populations and enhance program diversity.

Finalist – Local Hero –
Alan Shapiro, MD

Medical Director and Co-Founder of Terra Firma

As medical director and co-founder of Terra Firma, Dr. Alan Shapiro has become the voice for the countless voiceless immigrant children struggling with trauma and mental health disorders.

Honorable Mention – Outstanding Organization –
The Avielle Foundation

Learn more at

Honorable Mention – Outstanding Organization –
The Jewish Board for Family Services

Learn more at

Honorable Mention – Outstanding Organization –
Tech Kids Unlimited

Learn more at

Honorable Mention – Outstanding Organization –
The Balanced Mind Parent Network

Learn more at

Honorable Mentions – Local Hero

Abeku Hayes; Alec Miller; Alexandra Bernstein; Amanda Baden; Amanda Horrocks, NP, ANCC; Amanda Mandel; Angie Ritchie; Ann Henkels; Anna Samoilov; Arline Krieger; Barbara Laufer; Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD; Beatrice Scheinbaum; Beth Morrison; Brenda Dyer; Brian Page; Cathy Scarlotta; Cherry Shaw; Cheryl B. McNeil; Christine Salazar; Courtney P. Keeton, PhD; Deanna Richards; Debora Kreimer Schneider; Deniece Chi; Diane Kline-Gorney; Diane Mickley, MD, FACP, FAED; Dr. David Crenshaw; Dr. Deborah Carver; Dr. Laura Markham; Dr. Ludwik Szimansky; Dr. Susan Foreman; Dr. Alan Hilfer, PHD; Dr. Carolyn Oglio-Taverner; Dr. Colleen Cosker; Dr. Dale Seiden; Dr. Dan Peters; Dr. Erin Kleifield; Dr. Janet Wozniak; Dr. John Kelly; Dr. Kim Spanjol; Dr. Lydia Prado; Dr. Melissa Sporn; Dr. Richard Reisboard, PhD; Dr. Roger Harrison; Dr. Sandra Gomez-Luna; Dr. Stephen Grcevich; Dr. Tammy Moscrip; Dr. Victor Fornari; Dr. Alexandra Van; Elizabeth Peixoto; Erica Lane; Erin Driskill; Eugene Coco; Eva Vazquez; Eve Keepings de Jesus; Fran Sinobio; Gabby Frost; Garen & Sheri Staglin; Gil McKinney; Guy Gordon; Irene Tackett; Jackie MacNear; James Comer, MD; Jamison Monroe, Jr.; Janine Francolini; Jean Mone; Jeannie Courtney; Jennifer Cabrera; Jennifer Feldman; Jerry Pavlon Blum; Jessica Kaskel; Jill Anderson; Jill Dyszel; Joshua Korth; Julie Hoheb; Julie Kaemming; Kathy Valentino; Katie Basinski; Kelly McCashin; Kristen Pankratz; Donald J. Cohen; Laura Acker & Jaime O’Dell; Laura Weber; Leanne Matlow; Linda Conaway-Morgan; Linda Hershey; Linda Price; Lori Palmer; Lucy Pritzker; Maggie Bertram; Maggie Dagrosa; Margaret Lorenz; MaryAnn DeSilva; Marybeth Tedisco; Melissa Green; Melody Chan; Melody Pierre; Mireille Gold; Miriam Ament; Morton Sherman; Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Conner; Nicole Legall; Nikki Collins; Norwood Coleman; Owen Muir, MD; Patrick Gardner; Paul Wender; Paula Sussman, LCSW; Peg O’Rourke; Peter Faustino; Pius Ryan; Rachel Kelly, PhD; Randi Silverman; Rebecca (Becky) Mills; Rebecca Kleen; Regina Valinoti; Richelle Ward; Robert Gallen; Robin Steinberg-Epstein; Robyn Armon; Sandy Schmiedeknecht; Scott Gaynor; Sean Lukens; Shahana Faryal; Shanna Riss France; Sharon Travis; Shirley Adams; Sonia Sears; Stefanie Kaufman; Steve O’Keefe; Steven Kurtz; Susan Carucio Colacello; Suzanne Pugh; Talia Filippelli; Tammy Harting Farris; Tasha-Lea Williams; Terence Houlhan; Tonja Jones-Blount; Wendy Smalls

About Our Sponsor

For six years, Hunter has been a strong and steadfast partner for the Child Mind Institute’s Speak Up for Kids campaign. Hunter’s support has helped catalyze a national dialogue — engaging media, celebrities, influencers, the federal government and countless parents. Together we give voice to millions of kids and their families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

Founded in 1856, Hunter is a progressive British heritage brand renowned for its iconic Original boot and holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The brand has a rich history of innovation and continues to forge designs that shield pioneers from the elements and bleakest of landscapes.