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Oakland, CA, Sept. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Peer Health Exchange is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $198,000 Innovation Grant from The Tow Foundation. This grant, given as part of The Tow Foundation’s Innovation Fund, launched in December 2021, will support Peer Health Exchange’s work to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people across the country.

The Tow Foundation Innovation Fund supports nonprofit organizations pursuing inventive approaches to three issue areas affecting children and their families: mental health, early intervention efforts in schools, and public health approaches to reducing gun violence.

Peer Health Exchange was chosen as one of only 10 Innovation Grant recipients out of a pool of over 400 applicants. For the first time in its history, The Tow Foundation assembled a committee of experts, including directly impacted community members, to review applications and make grant recommendations.

“What drew us to this project is that it uses familiar technology to meet young people where they are,” said Frank Tow, chair of the Innovation Fund Committee and vice president of The Tow Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We’re excited to support Peer Health Exchange in its work to expand mental health education and resources beyond the classroom.”

The Tow Foundation grant will support Peer Health Exchange’s general operation costs as we aim to reach more young people with our school-based curriculum and digital products.

Founded in 2003, Peer Health Exchange aims to build healthier communities with young people, through offerings inclusive of near-peer fellows, identity affirming curricula, connection to youth expertise, and direct-to-youth programming. College-aged fellows leverage their near-peer status to foster trusting classroom dynamics and facilitate honest dialogue on health topics that affect young people and their communities.

“We are honored to receive this grant from The Tow Foundation, particularly knowing that it was members of the communities we serve that made the recommendation,” said Louise Langheier, Co-founder and CEO of Peer Health Exchange. “Our mission of building healthier communities with young people has meant we are dramatically shifting the way we work with them to follow their lead. They have asked us to meet them where they are—on social media, on our app selfsea, or in school. This support enables us to continue showing up for them and listening to their needs and wants."

While digital health spaces exist, there is a gap between what is available and what young people have expressed they want and need. Democratized access to trustworthy, identity-affirming health resources are essential to young people and they have called on Peer Health Exchange to work with them to make it happen. Through digital products like selfsea, an online app created inclusively with and for young people, Peer health Exchange provides community and a safe space to discuss and share knowledge on identity, mental and sexual health with support, resources, and stories from young people who've been there.

For more information on The Tow Foundation Innovation Fund, please visit

About Peer Health Exchange

Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to build healthier communities with young people. Together, we create education opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources young people need to make healthy decisions. To learn more about Peer Health Exchange, visit, and to learn about our new app selfsea, visit

About The Tow Foundation

The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, supports visionary leaders and nonprofit organizations that serve historically marginalized populations, help individuals contribute to their communities, and champion advancements and experiences that make it possible for all people to live healthy and joyous lives. We invest in innovative programs and reform in culture, higher education, journalism, justice and community wellness, and medicine. For more information, visit or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

CONTACT: Philister Lukacevic Peer Health Exchange 773.865.3914