ST. TROPEZ, JULY 24, 2022 — The AURORA Institute launched with its inaugural event honoring the first four AURORA Institute Prize winners. They were recognized for their significant contributions to ending the mental health crisis. Evening of Discovery was a one-of-a-kind celebration, focusing on the new science of mental health, mindful meditation, understanding the science behind psychedelics, and exploring the integration of the metaverse and virtual reality in mental health interventions. Over USD 8m was committed during the evening, which will be both directed to the charities represented by winners of the AURORA Institute Prize on stage and the the ideas brought forward during the “call to action.” Each recipient receives a grant and strategic consulting services for the mental health charitable organization that they represent.
This year’s winners for each category were:
Athlete: Kevin Love. Olympian and NBA All-Star Kevin Love is basketball’s most vocal advocate for mental health. In 2018 he established the Kevin Love Fund to inspire people to live their healthiest lives while providing tools for both mental and physical health.
Science: Dr. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., PhD. Leading global neuroscientist and founder of the Neuroscape Lab at UC San Francisco, bridging technology and neuroscience to create real-world solutions toenhance brain function. Dr. Gazzaley said: “It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Aurora
Institute and I am energized by the potential I saw it convene. Leveraging the collective power of the organization and my fellow Aurora Institute Prize winners will drive real progress and better mental health for all. I look forward to helping accomplish our mutual goals.”
Non-profit: The Klitschko Foundation Since 2003, the Klitschko Foundation has taught over 2 million young people in Ukraine to fight for their dreams through its various projects. Kostya Kovalchuk, member of the supervisory board said: “The key goal of Klitschko foundation is to teach every child to fight for their dreams. We are grateful to our partners and AURORA for their efforts to bring a better future for children of Ukraine suffering from various mental health issues because of the devastating war.”
Sports and entertainment: The Weight of Gold. The Weight of Gold is a documentary investigating the connection between elite athleticism and psychological struggle, drawing on the experience of several Olympic competitors including Apolo Anton Ohno, Sasha Cohen, and Shaun White. Sasha Cohen said: “I am deeply moved by the Aurora Institute’s recognition of our efforts to shine a light on the mental health struggles that Olympians face. Dismantling the entrenched stigma towards mental illness is essential to making progress, as those who suffer will only get the help they need if they can first admit they struggle.” In response to a call to action made at the event, attendees not only pledged financial support, but also committed to significant actions over the next 12 months. Highlights include:
● Globally renowned entertainer Robbie Williams announced the creation of MIND AID, together with AURORA, a global concert series with the purpose of fundraising for and destigmatizing mental health. MIND AID will show the world that it is okay to not be okay, to let people know that help is there if they need it and to support charities and initiatives that will make the world a happier place.
● NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo announced the addition of mental health initiatives to the work of the Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation, the social impact foundation that focuses on refugees and immigrants, youth, sport, education, food & shelter, and widows.
● Henrique Dubugras, Pedro Franceschi, founders of fintech leader BREX revealed a USD 3m plan to support their 15,000 customers to create more mental-health friendly workplaces. One of the most touching moments of the entire evening was when the worlds of two legends collided: for
the first time Giannis Antetokounmpo opened up publicly about his own challenges after his meteoric rise to stardom, the pressures associated being seen as the best player of his generation, and also the desire to give back to his community. To Kevin Love’s surprise, Giannis cited Kevin as his role model and guiding star in an emotional speech.
Speaking on behalf of the founders, Christian Angermayer said: “One billion people suffer from mental health issues around the world and this number is only going to rise as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Louise, Henry and I created AURORA Institute to bring together an ecosystem of global
leaders from a range of diverse stakeholder groups to fight the global mental health crisis, head-on.” The event marked a key milestone in AURORA’s plans to raise US$50 million in the next 5 years, while increasing visibility and awareness around the need for global mental health funding and de-stigmatizing of mental health issues. The AURORA Institute believes that by exploring and opening our minds, we can build a healthier, happier, and more inclusive future for all.
ABOUT AURORA INSTITUTE
The AURORA Institute was founded by Louise Tabbiner, Christian Angermayer and Henry Chalhoub. AURORA’s mandate is to be the first non-profit incubator of its kind, focused on funding the world’s leading individuals and NGOs dedicated to solving our existing global mental health crisis. Our goal is to amplify the efforts of those already doing the most impactful work or to empower those that could do more – helping them build their own foundations or navigate how to make mental health a core focus in their companies, communities and organizations. Founding partners of the Evening of Discovery include Asteya, Apeiron Investment Group, Introsight Advisors, and Impact One. Founding friends include Aethos Hotels, Mindmaze, Calm, SlimBiotics, Elie Saab, Gopuff, and Barents Re. Founding donors include flow and atai Life Sciences. Beverage sponsors include Armand de Brignac, HeavenSake, Rumor, Brother’s Bond and TRIP.
For more information please visit: aurora.institute.