For Immediate Release: June 2, 2020
Contact: Courtney Holsworth,, (989) 572-8162

The Steve Fund, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to promoting the mental health of young people of color, has formed a multi-sector task force of thought leaders to develop recommendations for mitigating the mental health risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Steve Fund COVID-19 Task Force plans to outline ways that higher education, along with a range of stake-holders including nonprofit organizations, mental health experts, students, philanthropy, the private sector and policymakers can and should step up to help students of color. The task force will release their recommendations in late summer.

Anxiety and depression among students has increased significantly in recent months. Recent surveys have found that 80% of students are having difficulties concentrating and nearly half are experiencing financial difficulties. Experts say that there is a direct connection between wellness and academic success.

“There are two crises plaguing America right now – coronavirus and racial injustice – and both are adding a perilous layer of stress and distress, especially for young people of color,”  said Sandra Timmons, Interim Executive Director at The Steve Fund. “Young people of color already face unique challenges as they navigate the path from adolescence to adulthood. The escalation and layering of despair and adverse social determinants present profound risks to their mental health and emotional well-being.  Unaddressed, these risks threaten every dimension of their safe transition to a healthy and productive adulthood and the attainment of even modest health, education, social and economic outcomes. Fostering resilience among young people of color caught in this current quagmire of the COVID-19 pandemic, associated devastation, and racial trauma warrants deliberate and intentional investments and support services across sectors that remove young people of color from harm’s way.”

The Steve Fund COVID-19 Task Force includes the following participants

  • Evan Rose, President & Task Force Chair, Board of Directors, The Steve Fund
  • Sandra Timmons, Interim Executive Director, The Steve Fund
  • Dr. Farha Abbasi, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University
  • Linda Akutagawa, President & CEO, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP)
  • Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland, Chancellor, San Jose – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD)
  • Dr. Ronald L. Copeland, MD, FACS, Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals
  • Lorelle L. Espinosa, Vice President, Research, American Council on Education
  • Forest T. Harper Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, INROADS
  • Damien Hooper-Campbell, Chief Diversity Officer, Zoom
  • Ryan Houston-Dial, College Junior, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Dr. Paula A. Johnson, President, Wellesley College
  • Marvin Krislov, President, PACE University
  • Dr. Meeta Kumar, Director of Student Counseling Service, University of Chicago
  • Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Ph. D., Provost, Trinity Washington University
  • Wil Del Pilar, Ph.D., Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice, The Education Trust
  • Dr. Annelle Primm, Senior Medical Director, The Steve Fund
  • Dr. David Rivera, Associate Professor, Queens College, CUNY
  • Dr. Mary Hasbah Roessel, MD, Psychiatrist
  • Joan Steinberg, President, Morgan Stanley Foundation
  • Fidel Vargas, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hispanic Foundation Scholarship
  • Chevaughn Wellington, Medical Student, Quinnipiac University

For interviews, please contact Courtney Holsworth at or (989) 572-8162.


The Steve Fund is the nation’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental, social, and emotional health and well-being of young people of color.