Shared Grief Project launches in conjunction with Children's Grief Awareness Day, supported by the New York Life Foundation.

’Grief Reach‘ Funding Increased by 60 Percent to Support Need.

NEW YORK, November 19, 2015The Shared Grief Project, a website dedicated to sharing the stories of highly respected celebrities who personally experienced the loss of a loved one at a young age, launched this week, supported by a $75,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation, lead sponsor and active partner of the project.

Launched in conjunction with this year’s Children’s Grief Awareness Day, taking place on November 19, the Shared Grief Project seeks to help grieving children find solidarity and inspiration through the message that they are not alone. The site houses a growing collection of short videos produced by the Shared Grief Project and other third-party media materials featuring high-profile athletes and other celebrities who lost a parent or sibling growing up and have gone on to enjoy happy, healthy and highly successful lives.

“Grief Reach applications tripled in number last year, demonstrating a greater need for bereavement services across the country, ” said Maria Collins, vice president, New York Life Foundation. “We wanted to satisfy the demand, so we restructured the Grief Reach program by increasing our support and introducing new categories of grants to allow a bigger pool of organizations to apply for more funding.”

The site also offers discussion guides to help parents, educators, and other caring adults use the videos to deliver “teachable moments” to grieving children—as well as additional web-based grief support and resources.

“This exciting new resource has tremendous potential to make an impact on the childhood bereavement field,” said Heather Nesle, president of the New York Life Foundation. “By speaking to kids through an accessible multimedia platform with the voices of trusted, popular role models, this site can meaningfully connect to grieving children and provide a bridge to bereavement resources and support. The project clearly aligns with our goal of raising the profile of childhood grief and increasing public support of the issue.”

“I couldn’t have found a better partner than the New York Life Foundation to support my vision. We share a passion for raising awareness about childhood grief and providing resources that help children and caregivers cope with the death of a loved one,” said Todd Arky, the creator of the Shared Grief Project. “The goal of the site is to let children know they are not alone and to inspire them by showcasing the stories of some of their idols who have faced similar experiences.”

Athletes and celebrities whose personal stories are shared on the site include:

  • Kyrie Irving, NBA Star
  • Freddie Freeman, Major League Baseball Star
  • Brian Griese, Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst
  • Gabrielle Reese, Professional volleyball player and model
  • Gary Player, Hall of Fame golfer
  • Candice Wiggins, WNBA Star
  • Roberto Clemente, Jr., Former professional baseball player and son of Hall of Fame baseball player, Roberto Clemente
  • Casey Connor, Celebrity DJ
  • Jeff Redd, Music Executive, Producer, Writer and Singer
  • Rohan Marley, Former Canadian football player and son of reggae star Bob Marley

The site’s launch is accompanied by robust social media engagement among New York Life’s grief partner organizations and friends of the Shared Grief Project, united by the hashtag #sharedgrief.

About The Shared Grief Project

The Shared Grief Project envisions a world where no child grieves alone. To achieve this, we create and share media materials that highlight the stories of well-known and highly respected people who have experienced loss at a young age and gone on to live healthy, happy and successful lives. Our mission is to promote these videos as a valuable resource for teachers, coaches, counselors and especially children who have lost a loved one. For more information, please visit

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided $200 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit

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