The Steve Fund is pleased to announce Susan L. Taylor as the official keynote speaker at its symposium dedicated to THE ROLE OF RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY IN MENTAL HEALTH: Challenges and Opportunities Supporting Youth of Color on November 5, held at the historic True Reformer Building in Washington, DC.



Susan L. Taylor, best-selling author of four books, and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, who grew up in Harlem working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. It was that enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community that led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2005 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained and deployed more than 150,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as to its own culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. A community-mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services on a national scale for Black children.

Ms. Taylor is a recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and hundreds of awards, including the Phoenix Award, which is the highest honor given by Congressional Black Caucus. A lifelong activist who has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Susan Taylor says that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America today.


This Steve Fund symposium brings together mental health professionals, religious and spiritual leaders, academics, and youth leaders to explore how religion, spirituality and mental health intersect and how this impacts the support of young people of color in different cultural groups and with different identities.  This topic is one of great relevance and resonance but with scant documentation.

As an organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well- being of young people of color, we are committed to building and sharing knowledge.  This is one of a series of convenings that will examine critically important topics in order to surface opportunities for collaboration, provide learning and inform the work of The Steve Fund going forward.

We are delighted to be meeting in the historic True Reformer Building, in the heart of the famous U St. Corridor in Washington, DC.  This civic and cultural landmark was designed for community conversations, conferences, and reform- mission aligned with our symposium.

Space is limited. Registration is now open.


The Steve Fund is the nation’s only organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.  The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, non-profits, researchers, mental health experts, families and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color.