Kohl’s will give $5 million to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to enhance mental health services

Kohl’s Corp. will give Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin $5 million to help launch a multi-year effort to enhance mental health services for children and their families.

The donation — the largest to the hospital in Kohl’s history — will be provided over four years. It also figures to kick-start further philanthropy in support of stepped-up efforts to address mental health among children.

"We really couldn't be more grateful to Kohl's for this gift," Amy Herbst, vice president for mental and behavioral health at Children's Hospital, said in an interview. "It's really going to be what we hope (is) the beginning of some significant philanthropic support for child and adolescent mental health in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a significant gift and it’s really a great way for us to start off the initiative that we’ve committed to.”

Children’s will use the money for mental health access, early detection, prevention and education through expanded school-based services, introduction of new and refined screening tools, mental health programming research and an awareness campaign, Kohl’s said.

“We applaud the efforts Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is making to break down barriers and increase access to services and resources that support mental wellness,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said in a statement.

Herbst said Children's spent roughly the last year looking at what it and other organizations have been doing relative to mental health, then created a long-term strategy to enhance the efforts. Among the hospital's approaches — and one of which it is particularly proud — has been providing mental health services in schools, Herbst said.

"This gift from Kohl's is going to help us double our presence in schools over the next five years," she said.

Kohl’s has donated more than $15 million to Children's since 2000. The money is generated by the Kohl’s Cares program, which sells children’s books and toys in Kohl’s stores and online and donates all the net profits.