Nov 10, 2021 · 4 min read

Local Organizations Expand Access to Mental Health and Wellness Services Across San Mateo County in Response to Pandemic

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Commits $400,000 to Support the Work of Local Organizations Responding to Increase in Requests for Mental Health Assistance

May 18, 2020 | A girl in a mask looks out of a window. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted many people’s mental health. | Photograph by Yuliya via iStockPhoto

As San Mateo County mental health services providers and organizations address the continued effects of COVID-19 on mental health and wellness, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is committing $400,000 to support local mental health programs. Support from CZI will assist seven local organizations sustain and increase mental health services for San Mateo County community members, with a focus on adults, young people, and their families.

Organizations supported through this funding provide a variety of services, from in-school counseling, to in-depth therapy for individuals and families, as well as services aimed at prevention. 

“The isolation, loss, and trauma experienced over the last 20 months have a deep and sustained impact on many individuals and families in our community,” said Andrea Jones, Director of Community Affairs at CZI. “Through our conversations with local service providers, we know that mental health support is critical to increasing positive outcomes and long-term resilience.” 

Caminar, Communities Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), Daly City Youth Health Center, Edgewood Center for Children and Families, Mental Health Association of San Mateo County, One Life Counseling Center, and Samaritan House will receive funding to support their community-based programs. 

“The pandemic has exacerbated the need for CORA services throughout the county and CORA staff have met the challenge, continuing to offer in-person shelter and legal services as safely as possible, and pivoting to virtual services in our advocacy and mental health programming,” said Dr. Karen Ferguson, CEO of Communities Overcoming Relationship Abuse. “COVID-19 has also created the need for more numerous and longer hotel stays (while clients await COVID test results). All of these changes have brought significant additional costs to our programming. The last 20 months have not been easy and we don’t expect to see the need for our services to decrease anytime soon, particularly in our mental health program where we have seen a significant growth in demand. We are working hard every day to provide the support to our clients at their most vulnerable time of need.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important work Daly City Youth Health Center (DCYHC) provides to its youth. DCYHC has not closed its doors through the entire pandemic. I am grateful to all the staff members and our community partners for demonstrating resiliency and support during this unprecedented time. Having the ability to rely on trusted partners is essential,” said Jonathan Portney, Executive Director of the Daly City Youth Health Center. “We have expanded our school-based behavioral health, primary health, health education, and prevention services into Jefferson Union High School District and the Jefferson Elementary School District to provide services for young people to thrive. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s support has been critically important to accommodate the young adults who may not have access to a health plan. At Daly City Youth Health Center, we believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and support from CZI allows DCYHC to step into our promise fully, supporting youth, families, and community along the way.” 

Since April 2020, CZI has committed more than $110 million to COVID-19 recovery efforts — worldwide and at the state and local level, including:

  • More than $20 million to support teachers and students impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on communities of color, including grants to help address the digital divide, for teacher professional development, and for the social and mental wellbeing of students and educators.
  • $4.7 million to stand up a new CLIA-certified testing lab — in only eight days — through partnerships with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and the University of California, San Francisco. 
  • $2 million for Returning Home Well, a joint effort with the State of California, other philanthropies, and nonprofit service providers to provide resources and support for people returning home from prison during COVID-19.
  • More than $12 million to support emergency relief and the long-term response in the San Francisco Bay Area, including expanded health services, remote learning, financial assistance, and small business relief. 



About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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