Community Benefit

Competition to Increase Awareness of Mental Illness

Please Take Note: The information provided does not constitute legal or tax advice. The material is provided for informational/educational purposes only. Please consult with counsel regarding your organization's particular circumstances.

Question: Our hospital sponsors an academic and art competition designed to decrease the stigma of mental illness. The competition encourages students to gain knowledge about psychiatric diseases and develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective toward people with severe psychiatric problems. The competition also aims to promote students' interest in careers in mental health care. An award of $1,000 is given to the best overall submission, $500 to the first place projects in the art and academic categories, and ten $100 awards to runners-up. The awards are given during a designated "research" day at a local school where students, parents and teachers can learn about advancements in mental health.

Should we report the costs associated with this competition as community benefit? If so, which category would it fall under?

Recommendation: We recommend you report this program as community benefit under A1, Community Health Education, as long as the program was started because your organization had identified a need for education about mental health. While there is a career-related purpose, it appears that its primary purpose is for educating the community about mental illness.

(August 2009)