Name of Foundation: The Jason Hayes Foundation
Location: Medford, MA
Coverage Area: Massachusetts
Subject Area: Scholarships for children and grants for programs addressing early childhood trauma
Assets: $861,345 (2014)
Last Year Total Giving: $20,068 in scholarships and $5,800 in grants (2014)
In a Nutshell:
The Jason Hayes Foundation was founded in 2006 by Jason Hayes’ parents and cousins to honor his life. Jason’s parents, Dot and Mike Hayes, met their soon-to-be adoptive son when he was almost three years old.
Jason was born with both alcohol and cocaine in his system, had several birth defects, and spent the earliest years of his life bouncing between his birth mother and foster homes. These circumstances largely influenced the rest of his life, and his family fought an uphill battle through his adolescence to provide him the best care and support in managing physical and mental health problems that emerged from that early trauma.
Under “Jason’s Story” on the foundation’s website, his mother recalls the challenges her son faced – from flashbacks to early abuse caused by his anti-depressant medication, to attending a middle school with teachers and staff who did not understand how to handle his negative behaviors. She also emphasizes Jason’s kindness and compassion, on display when he would go out of his way to help a vision-impaired neighbor walk up an icy driveway, or teach his cousins to ride a bike and swim.
The Hayes family finally connected with Adoptive Families Together, which provided them with services and community when Jason was hospitalized for psychiatric and behavioral reasons. The program helped them access psychiatric care, and also introduced them to support groups. These are the types of resources the foundation now highlights for families going through similar experiences.
At 14, Jason died “because he was in poor physical health and his behaviors contributed to his death.” The mission of the foundation now is to “support and enrich the lives of children who have had less than an ideal start in life.” It ultimately works to serves children and youth who have been in foster care, or experience mental health or emotional issues due to trauma. His family also shares Jason’s story and information about community resources on the foundation’s website.
Dot Hayes is the organization’s director and trustee, with Mike Hayes serving as a board member and trustee. The other two board members are Hayes’ cousins, both of whom have children named in honor of Jason.
Major Program Categories:
The Jason Hayes Foundation primarily provides scholarships for children and young adults who have experienced early childhood trauma. Scholarships enable participation in summer camps, after school programs or school-vacation camps that are designed to help young people succeed by employing knowledgeable, specialized staff and curriculum geared to participants’ unique behavioral, social or emotional needs. Applicants, as well as the programs they hope to participate in, must meet specific criteria, outlined here.
The foundation has also provided grants for programs that provide training, outreach and education to those who work with children and young adults exposed to early childhood trauma, neglect and abuse. In the past, grants have been awarded to child and family services agency The Home for Little Wanderers to provide mental health workshops, and to Massachusetts Advocates for Children, to train school personnel “help traumatized children learn,” among others.
How to Apply:
Scholarship applicants must fill out an online application, which can then be submitted directly online, emailed to [email protected], faxed to 781-232-0312, or mailed to “Jason Hayes Foundation, 274 Salem St., Medford, MA 02155.”
Applications are reviewed between February and June, although the foundation’s website notes that they are reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis. On occasion, the organization will announce that it is accepting applications outside of this window will be considered for certain after-school programs, or school-vacation camps.
To be considered, applications for scholarships must be accompanied by a letter from a child’s therapist, social worker or school adjustment counselor, explaining the ways in which the child would benefit from the camp or program they hope to attend and “why they would be a success” within this program.
Organizations or programs applying for grants from the Jason Hayes Foundation must fill out a proposal through an online portal, between October 1 and December 16, for funds that will be distributed in the following year. To complete the process, have pdf files of the following items handy: the organization’s most recent annual budget, IRS 501(c)3 letter, and a list of the organization’s Board of Directors.
Recent News and Grantmaking: