Helping people realize their potential is a guiding value The Menninger Clinic shares with our generous supporter, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation. 

The foundation was established in 1965 by Albert and Ethel Herzstein, both the children of pioneers. Albert worked his way up from humble beginnings to become a successful Houston businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Ethel shared his giving spirit. Today, the foundation honors the memory of its founders by supporting charitable efforts that enrich the human spirit, contribute to the quality of life in our society and offer individuals opportunities for advancement. 

The Herzstein Foundation joined Menninger’s community of donors in 2020 with a gift to the capital campaign for The Gathering Place, a welcoming clubhouse for adults with persistent mental illnesses. More recently, the organization connected local students to life-changing mental health care through their support of BridgeUp at Menninger. The program is dedicated to improving the mental health of vulnerable adolescents.

BridgeUp launched in 2015 with seed funding from the David and Helen Gurley Brown Trust. The program distributes Magic Grants to help schools and community partners implement social and emotional learning (SEL) programs, targeted behavioral intervention and individual referrals for mental health assessment and treatment. As of December 2020, approximately 40,000 students in the program have strengthened their self-awareness, responsible decision-making and relationship skills. And, 5,000-plus students have received additional behavioral intervention or referral to mental health care services. 

More than 88% of students at BridgeUp schools are economically disadvantaged, limiting their access to treatment at a nationally ranked mental health system, such as The Menninger Clinic. The Herzstein Foundation’s gift, combined with funds from other donors, puts this level of mental health care within the reach of those who need it most.

“When donors give to patient assistance for BridgeUp, it helps support students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to come to The Menninger Clinic for treatment,” says Linda Civallero, associate director of BridgeUp at Menninger. “It lifts that barrier to Menninger’s level of care and allows the student to heal and thrive.”