Didi Hirsch Receives $300,000 Grant from W. M. Keck Foundation

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Kim Kowsky

Director of Communications
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services



Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Receives $300,000 Grant from W. M. Keck Foundation


Funding Allows Los Angeles Nonprofit to Complete

Via Avanta Renovation


Culver City, Calif. (February 23, 2016) – Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a leading provider of mental health and substance use services, received a $300,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to complete renovations of Via Avanta, a therapeutic community for women with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who often have children in kin or foster care.


“We are incredibly grateful for the Keck Foundation’s support,” says Didi Hirsch’s President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry. “The grant allows us to improve Via Avanta’s children’s areas by creating a nursery for infants and toddlers and a classroom and playroom area that supports healthy growth and school readiness.”


The Keck grant supports the final phase of a $2.3 million project to finish renovating the 22,000-square-foot complex in the San Fernando Valley. Usually homeless when they enter Via Avanta, mothers and children up to age 6 participate in programs that promote deeper and healthier bonds and aid the women in their recovery.


Via Avanta has been a haven for women with drug and alcohol problems since the 1970s and was one of the first programs in California to accept women for substance use treatment without requiring them to separate from their children.


As more and more seriously mentally ill and homeless women began entering the residential program, Didi Hirsch won the support of former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky—whose Third district includes Via Avanta—to convert the facility into a dual-diagnosis treatment center. Didi Hirsch also launched Project 60 Women & Children, a Via Avanta program that aims to reduce family homelessness by addressing untreated serious mental illness in mothers.


With Yaroslavsky as a champion, Didi Hirsch received more than $4.1 million—more than half from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors—to complete both phases of the project. In addition to Keck, other funders include the Ahmanson Foundation, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the George Hoag Family Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, the California Health Facilities Financing Authority and other individual donors.


Didi Hirsch will celebrate the completion of renovations at Via Avanta on March 4. Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (Third District), current Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (Third District) and several community leaders will join staff and clients in the festivities.


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About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services


With more than 70 years of experience, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. From 11 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and about 100 schools, Didi Hirsch helps more than 90,000 children, families and adults each year. 


Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center was the nation’s first, and is now an international leader in helping people who have thought about, attempted or lost loved ones to suicide. A founding member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Didi Hirsch’s crisis center provides back up services for all of California and is one of three that has English- and Spanish-speaking crisis counselors around the clock. It is also one of three centers in the United States that takes calls on the National Disaster Distress Helpline, the nation’s safety net during times of disaster. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.