The Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation (GRIF) is a national, non-profit community foundation dedicated to addressing the unmet need of those in early recovery of all ages from substance use disorders.
GRIF was established in 2019 as a merger between the National Youth Recovery Foundation (NYRF), which provided support to young people in recovery, and the Global Recovery Initiatives, that was focused on supporting people in recovery, and founded by long-time recovery advocate, New York Times best-selling author and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, Christopher (“Chris”) Kennedy Lawford.
As a long-time recovery advocate, Chris spent his adult life advocating for the unmet needs of those in recovery from substance use disorders, and knew from his advocacy work and personal experience as a person in long-term recovery that preventing relapse involved more than just staying away from a drink or a drug, one day at a time. It requires the full rehabilitation of one’s life not only to begin enjoying life again but also to start contributing to society and positively impacting the lives of others.
Leaders of the National Youth Recovery Foundation knew this as well after working closely with young people in recovery for more than 20 years, and the research backed up their collective experience. Studies have shown that individuals who access recovery support services after treatment such as recovery housing, recovery coaching, peer support groups, and job training resources are more likely to stay in recovery than those who don’t.
Unfortunately, these services are not widely available as little private or federal government funding is directed toward supporting people after treatment and into the more vulnerable stages of early recovery. During this time, people remain highly susceptible to relapse, and without broader support services for individuals in early recovery, the relapse rates will likely remain at 40% to 60% despite the fact that addiction is highly treatable and recovery is attainable.
Chris and NYRF decided to merge their resources and establish GRIF as a national community foundation that would help build and support the infrastructure of services for people of all ages in early recovery, in all 50 states.
Tragically, Chris died suddenly of a heart attack at the end of 2018. Before his death, he helped set GRIF in motion to move forward on initiatives that engage the philanthropic, corporate, entertainment, government and cultural sectors. GRIF is committed to harnessing the influence of these sectors to help break the stigma around addiction and start shifting the focus of the conversation from active addiction to life in recovery.
Today, GRIF directs funds to state-based recovery support organizations and services that have a proven track record of success in preventing relapse and providing the critical support that those in early recovery need.