Project HEAL: Help to Eat, Accept and Live (www.theprojectheal.org) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that raises money for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment, promotes healthy body image and self esteem, and encourages all people to believe that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. The founders of Project HEAL, Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran, met while undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa when they were just 15 years old. The two girls helped each other to reach full recovery, and then wanted to help others achieve it. Eating disorders affect over 30 million Americans and have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, yet 90% of sufferers do not receive treatment because insurance companies often refuse to cover the cost - which can exceed $30,000 per month. Since its founding in 2008, Project HEAL has sent 21 applicants to treatment--11 in 2014 alone! There are currently 40 chapters of Project HEAL across the United States, and in Canada, Mexico and Australia that work to promote the mission and values of Project HEAL. Additionally, we have developed partnerships with seven well recognized eating disorder treatment centers across the country, that offer free treatment grants to our applicants.
PH's treatment grant program is the organization's trademark service, and we have been able to significantly expand the number of treatment grants awarded by partnering with seven of the leading treatment centers throughout the country, who are committed to provide at least one annual free scholarship to a PH applicant. PH is currently in discussions with five additional centers, and has plans to greatly increase these partnerships. In 2014 alone, PH received 600 applications from individuals who were motivated to recover, but could not afford treatment. PH is the largest of only three organizations in the country that provide treatment grants for eating disorder sufferers. PH is nationally recognized by professionals in the field, which has enabled it to assemble an impressive Clinical Advisory Board, comprised of eight experts in the field, as well as a fifteen member Advisory Board.
In addition to PH's initiative to expand its reach by focusing on developing many more partnerships with top treatment centers throughout the country, PH has established forty Chapters throughout the US, and in Canada, Mexico, and Australia. These Chapters engage in grass-roots fundraising and promote PH's mission. Moreover, PH has developed an impressive grassroots network of supporters---with over 10K Facebook followers; 80K Google+ supporters; 4K Instagram followers; and 2K followers on Twitter. We have become the premier voice of recovery, positive self esteem, and hope amongst eating disorder sufferers and their friends and family, as well as thousands more who struggle with negative body image and self esteem. PH is planning a one-day "Recovery Conference" for people who are struggling from eating disorders , with backing from one of the most well regarded treatment centers in the country; this conference will be the first of its kind in the field.
PH is currently focusing on four areas of sustainabilty: creating efficiencies in administrative processes; expanding fundraising efforts, with a particular emphasis on corporate sponsorships; fostering greater community engagement and education through PH's extensive Chapter network; and further expanding PH's social media presence as a voice and testament that full recovery is indeed possible. Administratively, we are investing in systems and experts to improve efficiencies. In 2014, we contracted with a CPA to streamline our acounting centrally and across all Chapters. We have established goals to add at least two additional corporate sponsors and five large net worth individual donors over the next six months. We have set a goal to increase the number of individual donors in 2015 from 550 in 2014 to 715 in 2015---a 30% increase, and we plan to increase the number of individual donors by 30% annually thereafter
The fact that PH has been able to launch 40 Chapters throughout the US and internationally speaks directly to the replicability of this Program. PH promotes positive messages of recovery, health, and hope via social media and our active Chapter network, which we are aiming to further expand in the next year. Our Chapters engage in important advocacy work and promote the critical message that recovery is indeed possible! In developing and supporting an international community of those who embrace the message that recovery is possible, PH has the opportunity and intention to shift the national and global conversations regarding eating disorders from treatment to a holistic story of recovery. Additionally, PH is actively working to expand twofold our incredible and successful network of Treatment Center partners, which will greatly expand our outreach and impact.
To date, we are proud to relate that all 21 PH grant recipients are doing well in recovery. Our Clinical Advisory Board members and the co-founders follow up with grant recipients regularly after treatment, providing valuable and meaningful human interaction and personal support, that significantly augments PH's data collection.. In 2014, we began giving grant recipients the EDQOL (Eating Disorder Quality of Life ) survey tool to measure their quality of life. This survey is administered at the point of their grant award, during treatment, at the end of treatment, and therafter at six month intervals for two years after completion of treatment. PH also administers the EDE-Q (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire), an online survey that is used as a clinical diagnostic tool, tracking "sympton recovery" in patients.