This Is My Brave Case for Support

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Table Of<br />

Contents<br />

The Problem<br />

03<br />

Our Story<br />

04<br />

Programs & Approach<br />

Programming<br />

Impact<br />

05<br />

06<br />

07<br />

Testimonials<br />

08<br />

Financials<br />

10<br />

How You Can <strong>Support</strong><br />

11<br />

Thank You<br />


2022 Dancers in the College Edition at the University of South Florida<br />

T H E P R O B L E M<br />

According to SAMHSA, every year, over 46 million<br />

people experience a mental illness, and 46.3 million<br />

people face substance use conditions.<br />

Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive<br />

treatment in the previous year.<br />

Suicide takes the lives of over 47,511 Americans every<br />

year.<br />

10.3% of Americans have thought about suicide.<br />

90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying<br />

mental illness at the time of their death.<br />

Serious mental illness costs in the U.S. amount to $193.2<br />

billion in lost earnings per year.<br />

Each year, an<br />

estimated<br />

46 Million<br />

adults<br />

experience<br />

mental illness<br />

The world is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis, exacerbated by factors such as<br />

societal pressures, economic uncertainty, and the lingering effects of a global pandemic.<br />

According to the World Health Organization, mental health conditions affect one in four people<br />

worldwide, making it a critical public health concern. To address these conditions and the stigma<br />

associated with them, we offer our plat<strong>for</strong>m <strong>for</strong> virtual and live shows in which ordinary people<br />

share their extraordinary stories of recovery to offer hope and let others know they are not<br />

alone.<br />


2019 DeKalb IL Cast<br />

O U R S T O R Y<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> was co-founded by<br />

Anne-Marie Ames (1967-2017) and<br />

Jennifer Marshall in 2014. Jennifer’s<br />

experience as the writer of the blog<br />

entitled “Bipolar Mom Life” led to the<br />

creation of <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong>. Out of fear<br />

of stigma, Jennifer blogged anonymously<br />

until she was inspired by others to reveal<br />

her true identity. Jennifer’s decision to<br />

put her name and her face on her blog<br />

post was celebrated and she received<br />

many heartwarming messages of<br />

appreciation <strong>for</strong> her transparency.<br />

Our Mission<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong>’s mission is to end the<br />

stigma associated with mental health and<br />

substance use conditions using the<br />

powerful art of storytelling. We achieve this<br />

by producing live and virtual events in<br />

which ordinary people share their<br />

extraordinary stories of recovery in order to<br />

offer hope and let others know they are not<br />

alone.<br />

<strong>This</strong> experience sparked the idea <strong>for</strong> <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong>: Live theatrical events where individuals are<br />

empowered to share their personal stories of hope and recovery using the per<strong>for</strong>ming arts to break<br />

down stigma. The very first <strong>Brave</strong> show took place in Arlington, Virginia. The success and impact of<br />

that event have been replicated in cities around the country ever since.<br />

As a result, <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> is now the leading national mental health storytelling nonprofit.<br />


P R O G R A M S<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> is not only a show. It is a contact-based stigma reduction program.<br />

(https://thisismybrave.org/research/) As we approach our tenth anniversary, <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong><br />

<strong>Brave</strong> is focused on expanding its impact and increasing scale to reach more audiences<br />

through new initiatives, campaigns, and partnerships. We are committed and feel an urgency<br />

to get more stories out into the world, heard by as many people as possible. Because every<br />

time we do, we know stigma is reduced, minds are changed, and lives are trans<strong>for</strong>med.<br />

Something we say all the time and believe with all our hearts is “Storytelling Saves Lives.”<br />

A P P R O A C H<br />

Storytelling<br />

We provide a powerful<br />

plat<strong>for</strong>m <strong>for</strong> virtual and live<br />

shows in which ordinary<br />

people share their<br />

extraordinary stories.<br />

Engagement<br />

We engage individuals and<br />

communities to implement<br />

change in perceptions of<br />

mental health & substance<br />

use conditions.<br />

<strong>Support</strong><br />

We continue to support<br />

individuals and communities<br />

throughout our nation in<br />

person and online.<br />

5<br />

Jamie Stone, 2023 Eagle Valley CO Show

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> creates opportunities<br />

<strong>for</strong> individuals to share their stories<br />

on and off the stage.<br />

On the Stage | In the Spotlight<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> - The Show - Our flagship program of professionally<br />

produced mental health storytelling events featuring individuals<br />

from the community; 12 shows per year in cities across the US.<br />

Specialized <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> Virtual Shows<br />

TIMB Stories from the Black Community<br />

TIMB Stories from the APIDA Community<br />

TIMB Stories from the College Athlete Community<br />

TIMB Stories from the Veteran Community<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> - College Edition - College storytelling program<br />

launched in 2019 in Boston through grants from Alkermes and<br />

Ruderman Family Foundation; Year 2 of our College Edition featured<br />

6 student storytellers in the Boston area, and in 2021, our <strong>Brave</strong><br />

Ambassador program was created and launched as a springboard to<br />

bring more awareness of <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> to campuses across the<br />

country through passionate student advocates.<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> - High School Edition - Created in 2019, our high<br />

school program features high school and college students sharing<br />

their stories to break down stigma and educate their peers and the<br />

adults in their lives.<br />

OUR TURN TO TALK - A podcast <strong>for</strong> teens, the first season of which<br />

was sponsored by <strong>Brave</strong> and features our national teen storytellers.<br />

Available where you get your podcasts or at:<br />

ht tps : //w w w.our t ur ntot alk .c om /<br />

OUR TURN TO TALK - A documentary film focused on teenagers who<br />

say they’re the generation to put an end to mental health stigma.<br />

To do it, they’re telling their own stories – raw and unfiltered.<br />

From skyrocketing rates of anxiety and depression to the impacts<br />

of racial and intergenerational trauma, these teens share their<br />

struggles and triumphs and carry a powerful message: Storytelling<br />

saves lives. [Released in Oct 2022; a production of Principle Pictures<br />

<strong>for</strong> WETA in partnership with WellBeings.org]<br />

<strong>Brave</strong>TV - A livestreamed series now two seasons strong - featuring<br />

alumni storytellers and mental health experts covering mental<br />

health topics, including COVID-19, current affairs and more.<br />

<strong>Brave</strong> Beyond the Stage - Our virtual initiative to check in with our<br />

<strong>Brave</strong> Alumni and see where they are today. We’re having candid<br />

conversations to hear about their experience on the <strong>Brave</strong> stage<br />

and beyond.<br />

Off the Stage | One-on-One<br />

<strong>Brave</strong> Ambassadors - Our new program <strong>for</strong> individuals to become<br />

ground level, off the stage storytellers <strong>for</strong> <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong>. We know<br />

people have the power to influence their peers and open up the<br />

conversation around mental health to change minds and lives at the<br />

grassroots level.<br />

<strong>Brave</strong> the Storm 5K - A virtual 5k in which participants are invited to<br />

run, walk, or hike in the location of their choice and be a part of the<br />

inspiration and movement to end the stigma around mental illness.<br />

We invite participants to participate <strong>for</strong> reasons that are important<br />

to them — <strong>for</strong> health, <strong>for</strong> well-being, <strong>for</strong> a loved one. Whatever their<br />

motivation may be, all are encouraged to join us and help spread a<br />

message of hope.<br />

Jay Walkers - A challenge <strong>for</strong> the month of September (which is<br />

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month) designed to break the stigma<br />

surrounding mental health and suicide. Participants are asked to<br />

<strong>for</strong>m a team to complete 800,000 steps in 30 days to honor every<br />

life lost worldwide each year to suicide. Start conversations about<br />

suicide with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to break<br />

down the barriers that stand in the way of people getting help. Jay<br />

Walkers are encouraged to share their own stories and let others<br />

know it’s safe to share theirs.<br />


<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong>’s Impact<br />

Since 2014, <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> has...<br />

Produced<br />

110<br />

shows<br />

with over<br />

1000 story<br />

tellers<br />

18,500+<br />

audience<br />

members<br />

in 53 cities<br />

in the U.S.<br />

& Australia<br />

& 300k<br />

YouTube<br />

video views<br />

Thus far, over 1000 stories have been shared through our live shows and more via our<br />

digital plat<strong>for</strong>ms. Live shows are professionally filmed and published to our YouTube<br />

channel: youtube.com/thisismybrave<br />

7<br />

2018 Houston TX Cast

T E S T I M O N I A L S<br />

“Participating as a BRAVE cast member was a pivotal<br />

moment in my life. I gained the courage and confidence<br />

to share my story of surviving a suicide attempt. I<br />

realized how healing and therapeutic it was to share my<br />

recovery journey. Shortly after the show, I launched my<br />

speaking career and eventually founded a non-profit.<br />

Since my participation in my BRAVE, I have led over 200<br />

mental health and suicide prevention talks and trainings.<br />

Because of BRAVE, my life changed <strong>for</strong>ever, and I have<br />

been able to impact the lives of others by providing hope<br />

and resources. I am so grateful <strong>for</strong> my BRAVE<br />

experience. Thank you, BRAVE, <strong>for</strong> changing my life!”<br />

-T-Kea Blackman, MPS, CPRS<br />

2018 Arlington, VA Show<br />

“<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> gave me the opportunity to connect<br />

with the deaf community to provide a show called Heart<br />

<strong>Brave</strong>... being able to stand up on stage and share my<br />

story was powerful. I was able to relive my being with<br />

positivity, open mind, and open heart and to be able to<br />

share with all my confidence and to inspire others like you<br />

and many many people in the world. I felt honored<br />

because people were able to come to me and tell me that<br />

they could relate. They're not the only one and I'm not<br />

alone. Together we unite. Wow, I thank TIMB <strong>for</strong> the<br />

opportunity to be brave and share my story and let people<br />

know we can break the barriers. Well, this is my <strong>Brave</strong>!”<br />

Jerald Creer - Storyteller and Producer of<br />

<strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> - Heart Truth, Stories from the Deaf<br />

Community<br />


“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience.<br />

I honestly didn’t realize how much support I had<br />

in my friends/family until the night of the show<br />

when I saw everyone’s faces in the audience. It<br />

has also given me much more confidence to<br />

speak my truth and my story, and continue to do<br />

so in the future. It has been so empowering to be<br />

more vocal about my struggles, and to know that<br />

I’m empowering others, too.”<br />

Gianna Santoro, 2018 Philadelphia Show<br />

“I think that, <strong>for</strong> me, per<strong>for</strong>ming on<br />

stage gave me a sense of relief.<br />

Keeping stuff like this bottled in you<br />

<strong>for</strong> quite some time, it's quite painful.”<br />

Cyril Koomsom, 2023 Penn State<br />

Abington Show<br />

Brandy Mimms, 2023 Deafinitely Inc <strong>Brave</strong> Show<br />

9<br />

“Per<strong>for</strong>ming in <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> was trans<strong>for</strong>mative. I love my fellow cast members. I got to be brave and<br />

share my personal experience with mental illness on stage in front of 300 people. Strangers approached<br />

me after the show to tell me that my story gave them hope. Everything about this experience has been<br />

incredible.” -Sarah Wissig, 2019 Orlando Show

F I N A N C I A L S<br />

<strong>Support</strong> Fees<br />

6%<br />

Online GIving<br />

12%<br />

Fundraising<br />

21%<br />

Grants<br />

26.3%<br />

Revenue<br />

Sponsorships<br />

34.7%<br />

Fundraising<br />

15.9%<br />

Operating<br />

12.2%<br />

Expenses<br />

Programmatic<br />

71.9%<br />


C R E A T E A B R A V E L E G A C Y T O D A Y !<br />

At <strong>Brave</strong>, our mantra is "Storytelling Saves Lives." <strong>This</strong> belief drives our<br />

commitment to sharing more <strong>Brave</strong> stories worldwide, reaching as wide an<br />

audience as possible. Our goal is to expand our reach, making our plat<strong>for</strong>m<br />

even more accessible to even more people, especially diverse communities<br />

and individuals.<br />

In 2024, we're embarking on an essential mission: The Legacy Campaign. <strong>This</strong><br />

initiative marks the launch of our new annual fund, and we warmly invite you<br />

to join us on this trans<strong>for</strong>mative journey.<br />

Mental health and substance use conditions touch everyone's lives, either<br />

directly or indirectly. The demand <strong>for</strong> support is more pressing than ever. Our<br />

annual fund is dedicated to establishing a robust foundation to our ongoing<br />

mental health initiatives, ensuring that <strong>Brave</strong> will continue to have vital<br />

resources and support. By supporting our Legacy Campaign, you're investing<br />

in a future where mental health is a priority, stigma is eradicated, and we're<br />

making a difference, one story at a time.<br />

In addition to contributing to our annual fund, we are excited to offer two<br />

ways to maximize the impact of your donation: Donor Advised Funds(DAF’s)<br />

and Employee Matching Donations!<br />

Your support is essential to our work, and we are grateful <strong>for</strong> your generosity.<br />

Together, we can make a difference and create positive change. To learn more<br />

about maximizing your gift, please visit https://thisismybrave.org/donate/.<br />


L E G A C Y C A M P A I G N ’ S I M P A C T<br />

Expanding Access to Live Shows: Your contribution will help us have a broader<br />

reach, especially within disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.<br />

Promoting Mental Health Awareness: Awareness is a crucial step in<br />

destigmatizing mental health issues. Your support will enhance our outreach<br />

ef<strong>for</strong>ts and awareness campaigns: fostering understanding, compassion, and<br />

empathy.<br />

Creating a Lasting Impact: Joining the Legacy Campaign means you're part of a<br />

long-term ef<strong>for</strong>t that will leave an enduring legacy. Your donation is more than<br />

a gift; it's an investment in a future where hope and healing thrive. Your<br />

generosity will resonate across generations, positively affecting individuals,<br />

communities, and society.<br />

Our goal is to raise $100,000 in 2024. Your generosity has been the<br />

cornerstone of our success, and we invite you to continue your support today!<br />

Giving Levels<br />

$25-$499...........................<strong>Brave</strong> <strong>Support</strong>er<br />

$500-$999.........................<strong>Brave</strong> Friend<br />

$1,000-$4,999..................<strong>Brave</strong> Ally<br />

$5,000-$9,999..................<strong>Brave</strong> Advocate<br />

$10,000-$24,999.............<strong>Brave</strong> Patron<br />

$25,000+............................<strong>Brave</strong> Benefactor<br />

All contributors will be recognized on a <strong>Brave</strong> donor wall on our website and in newsletters.<br />



Danita Sims, 2022 DeKalb IL Show<br />

T H A N K Y O U !<br />

We appreciate all you have done to make the impactful<br />

work of <strong>This</strong> <strong>Is</strong> <strong>My</strong> <strong>Brave</strong> possible. Thank you <strong>for</strong> being a<br />

champion of mental health and <strong>for</strong> helping to create a<br />

legacy of support that will empower more and more<br />

individuals. Together, we can make a difference. We are<br />

incredibly grateful <strong>for</strong> your generosity!<br />

Erin Gallagher, Executive Director<br />

www.thisismybrave.org<br />


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