Active Minds, Inc.

Changing the conversation about mental health

aka Active Minds   |   Washington, DC   |


Active Minds ( is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Through award-winning programs and services, Active Minds is empowering a new generation to speak openly, act courageously, and change the conversation about mental health for everyone.

Notes from the nonprofit

Active Minds ( is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Through award-winning programs and services, Active Minds is empowering communities and equipping young adults with the tools and knowledge to make real change in the conversations happening everyday around mental health.

Ruling year info


Executive Director and Founder

Alison Malmon

Main address

2001 S Street, NW Suite 700

Washington, DC 20009 USA

Show more contact info



NTEE code info

Mental Health Association, Multipurpose (F80)

Mental Health Disorders (F70)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2019.
Register now



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Youth & young adults, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth, are experiencing a mental health crisis with well-documented increases in anxiety, depression, suicidality, and feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and isolation. While youth mental health has been declining for years, the COVID-19 pandemic both exacerbated these alarming trends and brought them to the forefront as an urgent national concern. Mental health and wellbeing is an essential part of healthy adolescent development and has far-reaching and long-term ripple effects that significantly impact a person’s quality of life. In addition, the behaviors established in these years are likely to persist into adulthood . Identifying and supporting people during their youth & young adult years is critical, especially considering that 50% of all mental illnesses develop by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Reaching youth & young adults at this critical juncture can set the stage for mental wellbeing for many years to come.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Active Minds Chapter Network

More than 15,000 student advocates power Active Minds’ network of 600+ chapters, changing the culture around mental health at high schools and colleges nationwide.

Why this matters:
67% of young adults tell a friend they are struggling before anyone else.
The mere presence of Active Minds at a school increases mental health knowledge, positive attitudes, and help-seeking (RAND, 2018).
Starting a chapter is FREE. To get started, all you need are three students and a staff advisor.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
LGBTQ people

The Active Minds 2023 Conference is the nation’s premier conference focused on changing the culture around mental health. This highly anticipated conference will bring together hundreds of young adults from across the country to share ideas and advance knowledge about mental health education, advocacy, and awareness.

The conference will showcase the most innovative and effective approaches to supporting young adult well-being and changing the conversation about mental health on campuses, in schools, and within our communities nationwide.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people

Send Silence PackingⓇ is Active Minds’ renowned suicide prevention display. The traveling collection of stories inspire action, promote hope, and connect people with the resources they need.

Why this matters:
Open conversations about suicide reduce stigma and the risk of self-harm.
The message that you are not alone if you are struggling and that we each play a role in changing the culture around mental health is critically important.

Behind the Backpacks is a free, interactive online experience that complements the important message of Send Silence Packing.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
LGBTQ people

Active Minds’ acclaimed speakers provide professional, engaging, and safe mental health education for all audiences. Connect with us to learn how to host a speaker for your next event.

Why this matters:
Peer-to-peer outreach is the best way to start a mental health conversation and to encourage people to seek help.
Personal stories demonstrate that mental health struggles are common and that help and hope are available.
Our speakers’ relatable and educational stories let the audience know that they are not alone.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Ethnic and racial groups

By educating through an innovative peer-to-peer approach, a comprehensive website, and an interactive presence on social media, Active Minds raises public consciousness and changes the way mental health issues are understood and publicly approached.

Along with Active Minds' own efforts in 2021- 2022, some examples of recent collaborative Public Education and Awareness Campaigns campaigns include our work with The Upswing Fund, Snap, Well Being Trust + Young Invincibles, and the United Health Foundation. This work has leveraged expert-led programming into our growing network of over 1,000 communities nationwide, launching mental health resources for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth in high schools, expanding Active Minds' Chapter Network, and creating tools like the Evokate App which addresses root causes of mental distress for marginalized communities especially.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Recognition 2008

Campaign for Mental Health Reform

Innovation Award 2003

Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Washingtonian of the Year (founder and ED Alison Malmon) 2007

Washingtonian Magazine

Citizen of the Year (founder and ED Alison Malmon) 2008

Potomac, Maryland Rotary Club

Woman of Distinction (founder and ED Alison Malmon) 2007

American Association of University Women and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators

Brava! Award for top female CEOs in Washington, DC 2014

SmartCEO Magazine

Nominee 2012

American Giving Awards

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students receiving information on suicide

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Students, Young adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Active Minds Chapter Network

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Through Active Minds' chapter network and national programs, hundreds of thousands of youth and young adults learn about mental health for themselves, their friends and family, and their communities.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Young adults, Students

Related Program

Active Minds Chapter Network

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

In 2021-2022, the organization supported chapters on 687 college and high school campuses in all 50 U.S. states and 4 countries.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

To reverse these trends, our societal norms around mental health must improve. Until mental health is valued and prioritized, we will not create sustained change. This includes ensuring:
● our youth & young adults have access to mental health information--including preventative education,
● that they know what supports would be appropriate for their needs at any level of need,
● and that they can access those supports when they need them.

A key factor in enabling this change is that youth & young adults have access to peers who can promote positive norms and beliefs about mental health norms. Research shows that in times of need, youth prefer to talk to peers rather than a professional or adult. Our institutions & systems must enable and facilitate help-seeking behaviors.

Most importantly though, we need to engage youth & young adults as a key part of the solution. Young people know best what they need; it is time that we empower them to voice their needs, inform the solutions, and give them tools and paths for change.

While there is much work to be done, Active Minds is uniquely positioned to catalyze change. For 20 years, Active Minds has held a unique position in the mental health field, empowering young adults themselves to change the conversation around mental health. Our presence is far-reaching, with active participants on more than 600+ college campuses, and a growing reach in grades 6-12 throughout the country—with a goal of reaching 1,000 middle and high schools in the next two years. We also operate several nationally renowned programs that are influencing the narrative on youth & young adult mental health, leading to changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards mental health as demonstrated by a 2019 study by RAND of Active Minds work.

We are building on our strong foundation of educating youth & young adults in order to create even greater impact by inspiring action that ultimately changes norms and behaviors of individuals, communities, and systems around mental health. Ultimately, we seek for our work to create a movement that forever changes how mental health is valued and prioritized.

Our work is about empowerment and mobilization of youth & young adults. Active Minds’ focus is amplifying the collective, diverse voice of youth and young adults to build a movement of lasting champions who improve mental health.

This exciting and important work reflects our journey to change the conversation around mental health. It also fills a critical gap in the space today; despite the many organizations providing education on mental health and enabling supports, without a movement that inspires and demands change, we fear that our country will not have the watershed moment it needs to create sustained change around the state of mental health for our youth & young adults.

Our Theory of Change highlights key elements of how we will pursue our intended impact, prioritizing equity to represent and reach BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth.

Our Theory of Change highlights three key elements of how we pursue our intended impact:
● We connect, unify, and support a network of mental health champions
● We equip them with the knowledge, tools, and resources to influence their spheres now and into the future
● We activate them to share their voices publicly and mobilize them to create change amongst their peers, institutions, and communities.

Underpinning all of these approaches, we prioritize equity by tailoring our work to represent and reach BIPOC & LGBTQ+ youth. There are a few important elements of our strategic work to highlight: our focus on mobilization, especially with youth & young adults ages 14-25, and our focus on equity.

Mobilization: We define mobilization as a group of people coming together to take individual and/or collective actions towards a shared purpose or goal. Active Minds prepares and organizes youth and young adults to mobilize—with the goal of creating a movement of mental health champions that improve mental health norms.

We define mental health champions as individuals that i) are informed about mental health needs & supports, ii) seek opportunities to educate peers & networks, and iii) participate in individual and/or collection action to change mental health norms in their own lives and in their communities and systems.

Youth & young adults ages 14-25: Our experience and research tells us that age 14-25 is the prime age to engage in mobilization. This age range is part of Gen Z—a generation that is known to be hungry for change (Francis and Hoefel). Gen Z has already gained a reputation for being passionate collective activists, driven by the desire for change on key issues including climate, reproductive rights, and gun control. Additionally, age 14 is typically the point at which young people have enough knowledge, maturity, and access to channels and media to be able to participate in mobilizing. Finally, given the data of the increasing mental health needs of youth in these ages as well as the power of peers, young people will be able to speak to their needs and the perspective of their peers. Young people within this range of 14-25 are well-positioned, well-equipped, and have the drive to understand and vocalize their needs to influence peers, institutions, and communities.

Equity: We take a purposeful equity lens by tailoring our work to represent and reach BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth & young adults. The data reveal that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth & young adults are facing more barriers than others, making it less likely that youth & young adults with these identities can access the care they need. We strongly believe that it is critical that we not only recognize these disparities but that we ensure that our approach leads to more equitable mental health outcomes. Active Minds monitors the state of youth mental health and regularly confirm the populations where we can have the greatest impact.

Across our strategic priorities, Active Minds is continually expanding its internal capacities to meet our goals. Led by Alison Malmon, our Founder and Executive Director; our Board of Directors; and Student Advisory Committee, we are focusing our capacity-building work within the following key areas:

An interdisciplinary team of Programs and Marketing staff aimed squarely at mobilization of youth & young people and a fully-staffed Research and Evaluation Team to develop robust measurement systems and practices in place for measuring against our Theory of Change.

A 50+ team of staff with the necessary skills and training to execute on our core work, supplemented by key hires to strengthen our capabilities. This is all supported by an organizational culture that nurtures a strong, diverse team.

Active youth and young adult leadership bodies, including the Active Minds Student Advisory Committee, the Active Minds Student Ambassadors, and project-specific cohorts of youth established to ensure deep engagement with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth to center their needs and perspectives.

A reliable, sustainable set of revenue sources including but not limited to individual and major gift donors, foundation support and corporate partnerships, event-based and peer-to-peer fundraising, and fee-for-service programming.

There are risks that come along with executing our strategy. Creating an effective movement of youth and young adult mental health champions is an ambitious goal that stretches us and takes time, effort, and learning. We carefully consider how to innovate and respond to the needs of the individuals and groups who Active Minds can reach, knowing that we will need to remain flexible and responsive to their specific needs. We are also developing new methods and measures of tracking our impact and progress.

We know that it will take more than just five years to achieve our intended impact, but we are excited about the direction we have identified to take our impact to the next level. We seek to build an organization that will drive impact in mental health for decades to come. In the near-term, this requires methodical, sustainable growth over the next five years. This is a season of living into our new Theory of Change, learning how to mobilize with excellence, and building the functions and teams that will support this mission. We are equipped and eager to build upon our years of experience and our recent growth to build the foundation for Active Minds’ future, focused on creating a movement that forever changes how mental health is valued and prioritized.

Over the next several years, Active Minds is working to enhance and adjust the programs we offer in three ways:
1. Aim programs towards youth & young adult mobilization, aligned towards the approaches laid out in our new Theory of Change (“our work”)
2. Position programs to measure our impact in collaboration with the Research & Evaluation team and to sharpen our perspective of what is necessary to successfully mobilize youth & young adults
3. Purposefully apply an equity lens in programmatic work, taking steps to ensure programming both reflects and resonates with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth & young adults

Through this sharpening, Active Minds will establish a strong foundation towards our ultimate goal of building a movement that forever changes how mental health is valued and prioritized. To build this movement, our programs will focus on preparing youth & young adults to be champions and leaders in their peer groups, communities, and institutions/systems. With this context, we have reviewed our portfolio of programs and identified four central paths forward:

a) Double down on programs that are most aligned with our theory of change, including our school-based chapter programming & supports and our direct-to-youth resources to ensure they foster deeper youth engagement to enable mobilization. We will also design & implement youth leadership trainings focused on equipping youth with knowledge and skills needed to be effective mental health champions and to drive the movement forward.

b) Pilot adjustments to some of our other existing programs with the goal of deepening impact and driving sustainability, including Send Silence Packing, Active Minds Speakers, and Emerging Scholars.

c) Explore emerging areas of focus, including our work in policy & advocacy and workforce development. Both efforts target critical barriers to accessing mental health supports today and we expect that we can play an important role and we are eager to learn and adjust our approach based on our early implementation.

d) Discontinue or limit programs that are not as well-aligned to our new theory of change.

Over time, we will continue to evolve our perspective on best-in-class mobilization strategies and calls-to-action, as well as the dynamic needs of youth & young adults, to ensure that we are effectively amplifying their voices and centering our work on the most effective approaches.

We will also ensure that Active Minds has sufficient financial resources to sustainably execute our ambitious strategy. To this end, we will continue to assess and evolve our funding model and build on existing efforts to strengthen our development capabilities. This includes maintaining strong relationships from valued supporters as well as exploring and establishing new sources of funding.

Finally, we will continue to assess and evaluate our role and influence in the youth & young adult mental health ecosystem, aiming to speak up as a unique voice and amplify youth perspectives.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Active Minds, Inc.

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Active Minds, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 06/28/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Steven Lerman

Lerman Senter PLLC

Term: 2014 -

Rick Mosenkis


Jen Hartstein

Hartstein Psychological

Brad Blanken

Anthony M. Bongiorno


Paul Di Vito

Marketing Consultant

Michael Glickman

Computer Network Architects

Gail Kamer Lieberfarb

National Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Ilene Rosenstein

University of Southern California

David Roter

Snap Inc.

Paula Craw

VP, Student Success and Outreach, ECMC

Nathan Blanken

President, Active Minds Student Advisory Committee

Luc Francillon

Chief Financial Officer, Mars Retail Group

Angela Glymph

CEO, Peer Health Exchange

Arjun Shah

Principle, Carlyle

Alison K Malmon

Founder, Executive Director Active Minds

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/30/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/30/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.