Newswise — The University of Oregon has announced the launch of The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, a bold new approach to addressing the behavioral and mental health care needs of Oregon’s children. The Portland-based institute is made possible by a lead gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy. The institute establishes a new national model for behavioral and mental health care by uniting the UO’s top-ranked research programs, Oregon public schools and families, and community support groups in the creation and delivery of intervention and treatment programs that can be part of the daily lives of K-12 students. The UO will propose a new degree program and launch a certificate program to empower a new workforce eager to meet children’s needs within schools and organizations.
“Connie and Steve Ballmer, who have already provided exceptional support and inspiration for children’s behavioral health, are now empowering the university to make immediate and lasting positive impacts on children’s behavioral and mental health,” said Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon president and professor of law. “A bold effort is needed to address the behavioral and mental health needs of our youth. This gift is monumental. It enables UO researchers and experts to build on a collective vision to develop innovative and scalable programs, and to address the need for a sustainable workforce that can work directly with our children.”
The commitment of more than $425 million allows the UO to chart a new path for higher education. “As a public research university, it is always important to reflect our broad role within the state and beyond,” said Patrick Phillips, UO provost and senior vice president. “We naturally celebrate our core mission of education and research, but here we have an unprecedented opportunity to build upon these strengths to have an incredible impact on the world.”
The Ballmers, through Ballmer Group Philanthropy, have a legacy of building partnerships that support our youth. “Right now, the need for behavioral health services across our country is at critical levels, and there is an opportunity to strengthen and enhance the behavioral health system so that it is set up to address every child’s needs - now and in the future,” said Connie Ballmer, who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon and served on its Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2021. “Steve and I are excited to help bring to life this institute, which can help strengthen talent and build partnerships to create long-lasting impact for Oregon’s kids and families.”