Hudson’s Bay Co. has launched the HBC Foundation in the U.S. to focus on supporting mental health programs in North America.
The launch of the foundation in the U.S. will bolster the efforts of HBC’s existing foundation in Canada. Through its new U.S. launch, HBC has pledged to raise 6 million Canadian dollars, or $4.5 million, over the next three years to support mental health programs, especially those that help teens and young adults.

“There is a great need to address the issue of mental health and in particular to focus on the mental health needs of teenagers and young adults,” said Jerry Storch, chief executive officer of Hudson’s Bay Co., and president of HBC Foundation. “There has been a growing awareness of how important the issue is, but it’s an area that has been under-served compared to other health needs.”

Storch said often people with mental health issues are reluctant to seek treatment, or don’t know where to go for it. However, he said HBC’s efforts will support organizations that create greater awareness and help educate the public about mental health. The retailer’s efforts will involve raising funds and awareness through special events, online activities, associate giving programs and certain product sales. In addition, Storch will introduce a panel on mental health at the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit on May 9.

“We are proud to dedicate the efforts of the HBC Foundation to mental health advocacy, which we know will have far-reaching results,” said Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman of HBC.

The HBC Foundation’s Headfirst program will partner with such mental health organizations as The Jed Foundation and Bring Change 2 Mind in the U.S., and the Children’s Aid Foundation and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation in Canada.

HBC’s foundation in Canada was formed in 2005 and so far has given to Canadian charities more than 92 million Canadian dollars, or $69 million.

“Our partnership with the HBC Foundation’s Headfirst program will help us ensure that more young people get access to the resources and support they need to navigate life’s challenges,” said John MacPhee, executive director and ceo of The Jed Foundation. “We are dedicated to improving the lives of youth in Canada’s child welfare system, including those who are about to ‘age out’ of care, often the most stressful time of their lives,” said Valerie McMurtry, president and ceo of the Children’s Aid Foundation. “With the support of the HBC Foundation and its Headfirst program, we’re excited to establish the HBC Youth in Transition Mental Health Fund, an ongoing program to provide vital therapy and counseling for young adults in three cities, with the possibility for expansion in coming years.”

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