PROGRAM AREAS

The Sozosei Foundation is a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s primary focus is to eliminate the use of jail and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. In addition to our primary focus on the decriminalization of mental illness, the Sozosei Foundation also supports efforts to build resilient, healthy, and vibrant communities in a 50-mile radius of Otsuka’s offices in the United States, and engages in disaster relief and recovery in places where Otsuka has a presence globally.

Decriminalizing Mental Illness

Mental illness is not a crime. Yet far too many individuals receive their first diagnosis of mental illness in jail or prison, an avertable tragedy that is a result of multiple system failures, stigma, discrimination, and systemic racism. Moreover, the services available in jails and prisons are often woefully inadequate to meet the mental healthcare needs of many who are incarcerated with a mental illness. When systems then fail to meet the healthcare and related needs of people upon their release, the outcome is an endless cycle of incarceration for many.

Despite this complex web of factors, the Foundation believes an opportunity exists to make measurable progress to decriminalize mental illness by supporting, evaluating, and elevating the most promising programs and practices. To do so demands creativity, experimentation, collaboration, and a dedicated practice of using data and evidence to continuously course correct.

Through our annual Sozosei Summit, grantmaking, funder convenings, and webinars, the Foundation is eager to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders and work collaboratively to move the needle to decriminalize mental illness in the United States.

Decriminalizing Mental Illness Grantmaking Guidelines


In addition to supporting new and untested ideas to decriminalize mental illness, the Foundation, in partnership with "Solutionists" — practitioners, judges, people with lived experience, and policy experts who participated in our inaugural Global Solutions Lab — has identified the following funding priorities:

  • Implementation of 988, the new national mental health crisis hotline +
    In response to the growing number of suicides and mental health crises in the United States, Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. The law designates 988 as a nationwide crisis hotline number, effective July 2022. The creation of 988 represents a tremendous win for mental health advocates, who for years have been sounding the alarm about our country’s growing behavioral health crisis, a reality made exponentially worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although 988 could be a game changer for the nation’s response to mental health crises, much depends on how it is implemented and how that implementation is woven into mental healthcare, both before, during, and after a crisis.  Click here to read our take on 988.
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  • Scale evidence-based diversion practices and centers of excellence +
    Scaling programs and practices that have been proven effective is critical to diverting people with mental illness from the criminal legal system to mental health care services in their community— by addressing prosecutorial reform and judicial education, housing insecurity, and improved access to healthcare.
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  • Increase the size of the mental health workforce +
    Improving people's ability to access mental healthcare is a fundamental first step in the decriminalization of mental illness. However, mental healthcare eludes many individuals, in part, because they live in “treatment deserts,” face insurance barriers, lack culturally competent providers in their communities, and more. In order to decriminalize mental illness, it is critical to grow a racially diverse, culturally competent, and strong mental health workforce. This requires that the mental health workforce, including peer specialists and community health workers, have the training, support, skills and compensation required to do the work. And regulatory barriers, such as those that bar access to telehealth services, need to be adjusted. 
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  • Support the passage of Medicaid Reentry Act +
    People with mental illness who are incarcerated face enormous challenges to accessing appropriate mental healthcare upon reentry. One easy solution is to ensure continuity of care from prison to community by continuing Medicaid reimbursement for services received while an individual is incarcerated, instead of ending these benefits as is currently the case. The Medicaid Reentry Act would resume benefits for Medicaid-eligible individuals 30 days before they are released, which would allow providers to avoid a gap in coverage upon an individual’s return to the community. This policy change could be particularly helpful for individuals with mental illness who cycle in and out of jails and could lead to increased retention in treatment. 
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 Click here to read the full report from our 2021 Solutions Lab where these priorities were explored and defined.


Below is a list of the Foundation’s current (as of October 2021) grantee partners in our decriminalization of mental illness program:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Atlanta Fulton Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative

Clear Pathways

Council of State Governments Justice Center

Healthy Brains Global Initiative

Inseparable

Kennedy Forum

L&J Empowerment, Inc. (dba The Confess Project)

Legal Action Center

Lemonada Media

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Miami Foundation For Mental Health, Inc.

Mindful Philanthropy

MindSite News

Mural Arts Project

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Inc.

National Council for Mental Wellbeing

OneFifteen Recovery

The Path Forward

RAND Corporation

Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene

Richland County Sheriff's Foundation

Sound Mind Live, Inc.

The Steinberg Institute

Tradeoffs

Trevor Project

The University of Alabama

University of Chicago Health Lab

Urban Health Media Project

Resilient Communities Program


(Formerly the Local Philanthropy Program)

While the Sozosei Foundation’s primary focus is to eliminate the use of jail and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, we also recognize the importance of building resilient, healthy, and vibrant communities. The Sozosei Foundation’s Resilient Communities Program (RCP) aims to make a tangible impact in diverse, under-resourced communities within a 50-mile radius Otsuka’s offices in the United States.

RCP grants support innovative, community-based organizations in six cities: City of Baltimore, MD; Stockton, CA; and Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton, NJ addressing:

  • Racial justice
  • Food security
  • Access to the arts and/or creative placemaking
  • Physical and mental health
  • Social and legal services

These cities were chosen because of their geographic proximity to Otsuka's offices in the United States and the potential of local nonprofits, community foundations, and community leaders to build resilient, vibrant communities.

Below is a list of the Foundation’s current (as of August 2021) grantee partners in our Resilient Communities Program:

Maryland – City of Baltimore

A Revolutionary Summer

Baltimore Empowered

Black Yield Institute

Center for Urban Families

Creative Alliance

DMAX Foundation

Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance

Health Care for the Homeless

Intercultural Counseling Connection

Out for Justice

ROAR (Rebuild, Overcome and Rise)

The Baltimore Community Foundation

 

California - Stockton

A Tavola Together/Stockton Community Kitchen

APSARA

CA Rural Legal Assistance - Stockton

Dome of Hope

Improve Your Tomorrow

Little Manila Rising

Mims Corner

P.U.E.N.T.E.S.

Reinvent South Stockton Coalition

The Community Foundation of San Joaquin

 

New Jersey - Camden, Newark, Patterson, and Trenton

Black Men Heal

Boy & Girls Clubs of Mercer County

Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

Camden Fireworks

HomeFront

Main Street Counseling

Make the Road New Jersey

McCarter Theatre

National Alliance on Mental Health (Mercer County)

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Northern New Jersey Community Foundation

The Community Foundation of New Jersey

Trinity Counseling Services

Disaster Philanthropy


When disaster strikes, Sozosei responds to needs around the globe by allocating funds to aid in recovery and rebuilding. We want to bring critical resources—and more importantly, hope—to impacted communities. Priority will be given to places where Otsuka has a presence globally, with a current focus on responding to COVID-19. Click here to download our full COVID Disaster Response Report as of August 2021.

Note: The Sozosei Foundation does not accept applications for its disaster philanthropy grantmaking.

 

Below is a list of the Foundation’s current (as of August 2021) grantee partners in our Disaster Philanthropy Program:

 

COVID -19 Response

American India Foundation

American Kidney Fund

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Community Food Bank of New Jersey

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Food Bank of South Jersey

Greater Washington Community Foundation

Manna Food Center

Martha’s Table

Meals on Wheels – Mercer County, NJ

Medical Justice Alliance

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Northern New Jersey Community Foundation

One Mind Heroes Health

Stop AAPI Hate

 

Texas Weather Catastrophe

Austin Area Urban League

Communities Foundation of Texas

Houston Area Urban League

 

California, Oregon, and Washington Wildfires (2020 and 2021)

California Community Foundation

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Oregon Community Foundation

Red Cross Wildfire Relief Fund

 

Flooding in China and Western Europe

Center for Disaster Philanthropy