NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Charlamagne Tha God, one of the most influential and authoritative voices in modern culture, announced the launch of the Mental Wealth Alliance (MWA), his forward-thinking foundation created to destigmatize, accelerate, and center state-of-the-art mental health outreach and care across the U.S. while building an unprecedented long-term system of generational support for Black communities.
“My founding of the Mental Wealth Alliance is the manifestation of a deeply personal vision,” says Charlamagne, cultural architect and co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club, heard by over 4.5 million weekly listeners worldwide on the platform that has become one of the most widespread vehicles for conversation around mental health. “I believe improving Black mental health is a core tenet of restoring souls, igniting wealth, and inspiring upliftment for Black America.”
A brainchild of Charlamagne himself, the groundbreaking effort will raise $100 million over 5 years and will partner with Black-led organizations and experts to activate MWA’s three major pillars of life changing impact:
- Train: prepare thousands of Black people to become research and clinical services providers in psychology, social work, and related fields through training and by establishing scholarship funds to provide training to increase the number of mental health care professionals from 4% to 14% to mirror the underserved population in need of culturally aligned mental health support.
- Teach: advocate for the implementation of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health Literacy (MHL) in public K-12 education nationwide at federal, state, and local levels.
- Treat: support culturally competent organizations in providing free therapy to more than 10 million Black Americans within 5 years through the support of existing organizations and funding of the establishment of new organizations.
Charlamagne has openly reflected on his journey of self-discovery and healing though psychotherapy to address trauma, anxiety, and depression by chronicling his lived experience in the global bestselling book, Shook One, published by Simon & Schuster. He has long been an outspoken advocate on the issue, working tirelessly with leaders at local, state, and federal levels to support much needed legislation on Black mental health. Most recently, he shared his vision with Vice President Kamala Harris during her candidacy in support of her mental health platform for America. MWA is excited to support HR 5469, the PURSUING EQUITY IN MENTAL HEALTH ACT bill authored by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, to ensure focused support for Black mental health.
Uniquely situated at the epicenter of the shifting tectonic plates of Black culture, Charlamagne has frequently served as a catalyzing leader at the forefront of the national mental health conversation. His transparent disclosure of mental health issues combined with an incredibly pervasive media footprint have fissured the ground for the crucial guard-dropping discussions that are re-shaping the societal landscape. Through the honest disclosing of his own mental health journey amid the loss of many close friends to suicide, Charlamagne has not only highlighted the devastations of untreated mental illness but has also become a lodestone drawing others to follow in his footsteps.
With an influence spanning the intersectionality of culture and all the sectors that the mounting mental health crisis impacts, Charlamagne has also brought into sharp focus the extent to which mental illness often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Inside the profound glare of the spotlight in entertainment, sports, and other public eye professions, myriad celebrities have come forward to reveal their own struggles, finding inspiration for doing so in Charlamagne’s words and deeds.
"A strange thing happens when you start to tell your story," says Charlamagne. "It encourages other people to tell theirs, and slowly but surely the stigma around mental health in the Black community starts to dissipate, because folks learn that it's ok to not be ok and more importantly seek help for not being ok. It was never in my plans to become a mental health advocate, but after I started discussing my journey, writing about it in my second book, Shook One, talking about therapy, and sharing life experiences with listeners, a lot of people reached out to me. I want to be a part of providing that help. That's why I created MWA."
As many organizations look to shift their own cultures and invest in significant change, many have found MWA—with its foregrounding of the importance of cultural competence when assessing and treating Black mental health issues and its comprehensive strategy for creating lasting outcomes—to be an intelligent prescription for righting what has been systemically wrong for so long. With impressively generous contributions already arriving from major corporations and high-profile individuals inspired by the cause, MWA is off to an auspicious start and is well-positioned to achieve phenomenal success.
“Today like never before, the need for mental health awareness, education and treatment in the black community has risen to the forefront. The work of Charlamagne and the MWA to break down the stigma of mental health treatment and to provide access to support is incredibly important during these extraordinary times,” said Jeff Harleston, General Counsel and EVP of Business and legal Affairs, UMG and interim CEO, Def Jam Recordings.
The MWA’s founding partners and distinguished board members include: Chief Impact Officer at Chopra Global, master well-being educator, and author Devi Brown; Broadway and film producer, global brand strategist, and founder/CEO of The Britto Agency, Marvet Britto; and educator and mental health advocate Dr. Tim Shriver. Charlamagne and the founders personally tapped mental health expert, psychologist, nonprofit founder, and disparities scientist Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble to provide thought leadership and guidance as inaugural Chief Mental Wellness Officer (CMWO).
“Charlamagne has consistently been a force for change in the world by seeking change within himself,” says Ms. Brown. “I am deeply honored to be a founding member of MWA and join him in his mission to provide the BIPOC community with access to mental health services and tools for well-being in service to freedom, emotional trauma, and the embodiment of inner peace."
“It is a profound honor to be chosen by Charlamagne as a founding partner and board member,” says Ms. Britto. “I am privileged to offer my unwavering support and seasoned brand development wisdom toward his courageous efforts to break the generational cycle of shame and suffering as he stewards the emancipation and healing of our figurative and literal mental health imprisonment. Our ancestors are reveling in his steadfast bravery and valor as he galvanizes us all to reverse engineer ritualized traumas and heal our unresolved pain.”
“Congrats to Charlamagne Tha God for leading this critical effort to erase the stigma of mental health, overcome racism, and empower our young people to be socially and emotionally strong,” says Dr. Shriver. “There can be no more doubt about the evil of racism and the toll it has taken on the mental and physical health of millions. The only question now is will we act to end it and make mental wealth the new normal? I’m in.”
“The MWA is an innovative foundation focused on the critical and timely intersection of racial justice and Black mental health,” says Dr. Breland-Noble. “In doing so, the MWA will rapidly expand the bandwidth of Black mental health nonprofits to do what they do best, serve Black people and uplift the community. The founding partners have worked closely together to build and shape Charlamagne’s forward-thinking vision. When Charlamagne asked me to support his vision, I was overwhelmed by his respect for my work and eager to lend my voice and expertise. I am elated to provide thought leadership to this extraordinary organization.”
“In order to support my progressive vision for building a transformative foundation that will support mental health services for Black people and communities throughout the US and worldwide,” says Charlamagne, “I’ve assembled a stellar team of category leading inventive minds and subject matter experts in mental health, wellness, government, technology, education, and culture.”
Fiscal management of the MWA falls under the auspices of the Giving Back Fund, which has provided world-class philanthropic consulting, management, and administrative services as one of the world’s leading organizations in the foundation operations and fiscal management space for the past 20 years.
ABOUT MENTAL WEALTH ALLIANCE
The Mental Wealth Alliance (MWA), founded by Radio Hall of Famer Charlamagne Tha God (Lenard McKelvey), supports state of the art mental health services for Black people in need, while building a long-term system of generational support for Black communities. By raising $100 million, the MWA focuses on three pillars of impact: Train - prepare thousands of Black people to become research and clinical services providers in psychology, psychiatry, social work, and related fields; Teach - advocate for the implementation of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health Literacy (MHL) in public K-12 education nationwide; and Treat - support Black-led and culturally-competent organizations to provide free therapy to more than 10 million Black Americans within 5 years.
ABOUT CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD
Multimedia mogul, Radio Hall of Fame inductee, bestselling author, and cultural architect Charlamagne Tha God, born Lenard McKelvey, is one of the most potent, influential, and authoritative thought leaders in modern culture. He is the outspoken, well-informed, opinionated, and charismatic co-host and driving force of the hottest radio show in the U.S., The Breakfast Club, heard by over 4.5 million listeners daily. The show boasts ten years on air as the most successful hip hop show in radio history. Charlamagne’s poignant and uninhibited interviews drive the show’s popular daily conversation on topics spanning from hip-hop and race to social, political, and economic issues. He also co-hosts the popular podcast Brilliant Idiots. The influential magnitude of his burgeoning media empire continues to expand with several landmark partnerships, including The Black Effect Podcast Network, a historic 50-50 joint venture with iHeartMedia, the world’s number one commercial podcast publisher; a global multi-year, multi-project development, production, and audio licensing partnership with renowned comedian, actor, and writer Kevin Hart and Audible Inc., the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks; and Black Privilege Publishing, a partnership that aligns with his mission to bring potent, culturally-relevant content to the marketplace from emerging and renowned Black voices around the world. Charlamagne is also the author of The New York Times bestseller Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It and the globally embraced Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me, which launched him to become one of the world’s leading voices in the mental health discussion. With a deeply personal vision to help address the unmet and underserved emotional needs of Black people worldwide, Charlamagne founded the Mental Wealth Alliance (MWA), his forward-thinking foundation created to destigmatize, accelerate, and center state-of-the-art mental health outreach and care across the U.S. while building an unprecedented long-term system of generational support for Black communities.