q Announcing the Asian American Leaders in Mental Health Scholarship - Denver Foundation

Announcing the Asian American Leaders in Mental Health Scholarship

July 8, 2021

New scholarship helps Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students pursue clinical mental health practice. AAPI counselors are underrepresented in the field of counseling. July is also Minority Mental Health Month.

A new scholarship housed at The Denver Foundation, the Asian American Leaders in Mental Health Scholarship is now open to applications. This scholarship supports Asian American and Pacific Islander students who will pursue a career in clinical mental health practice and who demonstrate a commitment to social justice and service to BIPOC communities.


  • The scholarship is open to applicants in the United States who are of Asian, Pacific Islander, or Asian Multiracial ethnicity as defined by the U.S. Census
  • Preference is given to applicants who are members of the first generation in their family to attend college or graduate school.
  • Preference is given to applicants who are currently enrolled in a counseling psychology master’s degree program with a pathway to clinical licensure.

Awards will range from $500 to $1,000. Funds may be used for expenses directly related to the cost of attendance at an accredited institution.

The deadline to apply is Friday, July 30, 2021. To apply, please visit The Denver Foundation’s scholarship portal.

The Asian American Leaders in Mental Health Scholarship was established by Dan and Nancy Lee, Denver Foundation fundholders and donors. Dan is the Chief Financial Officer for The Denver Foundation. Nancy is a licensed psychotherapist with a practice based in Aurora. Both are first-generation college students. 

Nancy was motivated to establish the scholarship in response to a shortage of mental health clinicians of AAPI descent in Colorado and across the country. According to the American Counseling Association, AAPI counselors are underrepresented in the counseling profession, representing only 3% of licensed professional counselors in the United States.

“I didn’t meet an Asian American therapist until I was in graduate school,” says Nancy, noting that BIPOC people often face a range of barriers to mental health, including provider bias, socioeconomic disparities, stigma and fear, and language and culture differences. 

Nancy and Dan also felt compelled to take action as the pandemic exposed so many racially rooted systemic inequities that pervade health care in the United States.

“It seemed like a good time to activate one of my deepest passions: supporting BIPOC people to enter the mental health field,” says Nancy. “As BIPOC people, we have to change the system while we work within it. And so we created this opportunity to elevate those who really have a heart for mental health services and social justice.”

Awards through the Asian American Leaders in Mental Health Scholarship will be awarded once each year through a competitive process based on a commitment to the field, passion for work, the potential for leadership or making a strong contribution to the field, a letter of recommendation, academic achievement, and service to the community and social justice.

About Minority Mental Health Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for racial and ethnic minority groups to get access to mental health and substance-use treatment services. Throughout the month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will focus on promoting tools and resources addressing the stigma about mental health among racial and ethnic minority populations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. OMH encourages state, tribal, and local leaders, community-based organizations, faith leaders, healthcare providers, and individuals to educate communities regarding mental health stigma. To learn more, visit minorityhealth.hhs.gov/minority-mental-health/.