The Sophia Mirviss Memorial Fund

The Sophia Mirviss Memorial Fund

The Sophia Mirviss Memorial Fund was established in 1957, following the untimely death of Sophia Mirviss, M.D., a prominent San Francisco child analyst who had a lifelong commitment to sharing psychoanalytic thought and practice with the child mental health community at large. She was a local pioneer in teaching and consulting with social workers, school teachers, pediatricians, and allied professionals, and was particularly dedicated to making analytic ideas and insights available to those who worked with children in economically disadvantaged communities.

The creators of the Fund wished to preserve Dr. Mirviss’s memory by offering a series of free annual lectures, which were open to the general public. Noted child analysts such as Margaret Mahler, Phyllis Greenacre, Erik Erikson, Peter Blos Jr., Sybille Escalona and John Bowlby, came to San Francisco to present their work, not just to psychoanalysts, but to all who were interested in their thinking about children. The Mirviss Lectures were one of the early venues in San Francisco for this type of learning experience and were always eagerly anticipated and attended.

As the decades passed, and more public lectures became available to the community at large, the Mirviss Committee, which administers the fund, began to broaden its focus. The decision was made to continue the spirit of Dr. Mirviss’s pioneering work by offering support for a range of programs. The Fund continued to sponsor public lecture series, but also began to fund more direct training of therapists, teachers, and directors of preschools.

Of ongoing importance to the Committee is the selection of programs that work with under-served communities. Recent grants, for teaching and training purposes, have been made to Casa de Las Madres, a San Francisco program that serves abused women and their children; Hamilton Family Center, an institution that offers interim housing and social services for homeless families in San Francisco; ABC Special Start, an early intervention program supporting vulnerable infants, toddlers & preschoolers in three Bay Area counties; and the Ann Martin Center, which offers psychotherapy and educational support to at-risk children in Alameda County.

The Committee also continues Dr. Mirviss’s interest in serving the very young, with the hopes of working preventively with children, their parents, and their teachers and therapists. To this end, we have funded various pre-school consultation programs in the

community which offer extensive and ongoing didactic and supportive service to directors and staffs of local pre-schools.

Finally, we continue to support continuing educational services to analytically oriented therapists, funding a community lecture series in the North Bay on psychoanalytic perspectives on adolescents, and a San Francisco series on developments in analytic work with children and teenagers.

Our Fund makes yearly grants to deserving community programs, normally in amounts between $2,000 and $5,000. We are interested in applications from all organizations that fall into the categories described above. Grant applications must include a description of the program to be funded, including dates of events, and include a well-specified budget. Grants are due by May 30th and recipients will be announced by the beginning of July. Grant recipients are to provide the Committee with a mid-year and end of year report detailing the activities of the group, in terms of the program being funded, including any changes from the original proposal, and should include an itemization of expenses. The Sophia Mirviss Committee will provide a series of guidelines to assist applicants in the application process.

Questions about the grants and the application process may be directed to Marsha Silverstein, Ph.D., Chair of the Mirviss Fund Committee at 510-655-3899 or at


The Sophia Mirviss Memorial Fund supports projects that promote the sharing of psychoanalytic ideas among and with those who serve children and adolescents — especially those who are diverse along the lines of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration, ability/ disability status, or who are otherwise politically disenfranchised — in a range of capacities, including health care providers, educators, therapists, social workers, community workers, etc.  The focus of our grants is on teaching, training, reflection, and the sharing of ideas, rather than direct service/treatment, although it should be clear in grant applications that there will be a significant impact for children and teens at the level of direct service.  Themes of particular interest include the intersections of psychoanalytic perspectives with social justice/anti-oppression work and public health (community mental health) & public education.

  Budget line items may include the following:

  • Release time to support the participation of those who would otherwise be unable to attend
  • Cost of materials such as books, art supplies, toys or the reproduction of articles, etc.
  • Compensating teachers/trainers/speakers /consultants and project collaborators (project planners/participants representing the health care providers, educators, therapists, social workers, community workers, etc.) for their time (note that, with some exceptions, the Fund limits the rate of pay to $150/hour and seeks to promote equity regarding remuneration, and compensates for face-to-face time, rarely for planning time commute time, etc.)
  • Costs associated with hosting events such as travel expenses, publicity, space rental, food, childcare, etc.

Priority will be given to proposals:

  • From public and nonprofit organizations/agencies
  • That maximally impact children and providers who are diverse along the lines of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration, ability/disability status, or who are otherwise politically disenfranchised
  • For projects to support learning and exchange about psychoanalytic ideas that would not be possible in the absence of this grant (Note, however, that combining sources of funding to support sustainability or interrelated aspects of projects is encouraged)

Applications for grants in amounts ranging from $500 to $6,000 may be considered.


January 30th
Mid-Year Report Deadline
May 31st
Year-End Report Deadline
New Proposal Deadline
Year-End Report combined with Request for Continued Funding Deadline
July 1st
New Funding Cycle Begins

Criteria for Selection

Many factors are considered in determining award recipients and amount of allocations.  These include:

  • Degree to which proposed project is in keeping with the mission of the Fund.
  • Degree to which proposed project is in keeping with the Fund Guidelines.
  • Degree to which proposal follows Fund Proposal format and responds fully to prompts.

Priority is given to proposals:

  • From public and nonprofit organizations/agencies.
  • That maximally impact children and providers who are diverse along the lines of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration, ability/disability status, or who are otherwise politically disenfranchised.
  • For projects to support learning and exchange about psychoanalytic ideas that would not be possible in the absence of this grant.

Within each funding cycle the Fund strives to make awards that collectively:

  • Represent a diverse range of types of projects.
  • Represent a diverse age-range with respect to target child populations (birth through transitional aged youth).
  • Touch a diverse range of people who work with children, including community workers, multidisciplinary practitioners, paraprofessionals, and those at various stages of graduate or postgraduate training.
  • Support multicultural work at the level of both target child population and involved child-serving adults. This means that with respect to both target child population and the child-serving adults involved in the project it is hoped that awards collectively touch a group that is diverse with respect to multiple identity markers.  The Fund supports projects that counter forces of oppression affecting both children and the adults who work with them.

Examples of Possible Sophia Mirviss Memorial Fund Supported Projects

  • A clinic running a school-based treatment program serving many children who have suffered traumatic losses offers a seminar and consultation group on psychoanalytic understandings of grief and mourning in children for the clinicians-in-training undertaking this work.
  • An early intervention program offering home-based services with developmentally at-risk infants and toddlers supports practitioners in attending a monthly consultation group focused on expanding awareness of countertransference challenges in home-based work
  • A lecture series is organized that is free and open to the public in which child psychoanalysts present on specific theoretical and clinical issues raised in their work.
  • A theater group that offers free theater classes to economically disadvantaged youth collaborates with a psychoanalytic mental health worker to explore ways of ethically and productively engaging the unconscious in improvisational theater exercises with the children.
  • A mental health program serving LGBTQ adolescents organizes a study group and engages a psychoanalytically-oriented facilitator in order to engage the literature at the intersections of adolescent psychology, queer theory and psychoanalysis.
  • A domestic violence shelter that houses women and children organizes a class for staff members on the psychodynamics of interpersonal violence in order to deepen understanding and empathy, study intergenerational patterns of coercive interaction, expand critical thinking, and broaden the staff’s repertoire of response to the child and adult residents.
  • A community mental health clinic offering group therapy to middle-schoolers who cannot be maintained in regular ed classes due to mental health needs organizes a consultation group to support the therapists in expanding their skills as psychoanalytically-informed group therapists.
  • A social worker at an LGBTQ-serving clinic teams up with a writing teacher and supports a group of LGBTQ and gender nonconforming teens in writing a Handbook for Mental Health Clinicians to inform professionals about how to treat these vulnerable populations in a respecful and informed manner.
  • A program teaching writing and media studies to disadvantaged high school students organizes a series of workshops for the teachers to learn about psychoanalytic textual analysis in order to develop curriculum they can use with the youngsters.
  • The director of a preschool attended by many children whose parents are undocumented immigrants engages an immigrants rights advocate and a psychoanalytically-informed clinician who hold joint workshops for parents and teaching staff about the developmental impact of immigration-related trauma, how to form family safety plans, and the role of the school in protecting children and families.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 1, 2024
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Education Division
Graduation Ceremony 2024
Neil Brast, MD (graduation speaker)
Saturday, June 8, 2024
Dialogues in Contemporary Psychoanalysis
A Psychoanalytic Playlist with Sasha Frere-Jones
Sasha Frere-Jones (interviewee); Adam Blum, PsyD (interviewer); Elizabeth Bradshaw, PsyD (moderator)
Wednesdays, September 4, 2024 to September 25, 2024
Psychoanalytic Student Seminars
Social Work in Community Settings: How Theory Supports Effective Alliances
Corey Datz-Greenberg, LCSW, and Julia St. George, LCSW (instructors)
Fridays, September 6, 2024 to June 20, 2025
Extension Education Programs
2024-2025 San Francisco Yearlong Program: Inventions of Madness: Grappling with Turmoil
Ania Wertz, PhD, PsyD; Diana C. Fuery, PhD, LCSW; Alexander Zinchenko, PhD; Alice Jones, MD; Deborah Weisinger, PsyD; Fernando Castrillon, PsyD; Inti Flores, MD; Shelley Nathan, PhD; and Catherine Mallouh, MD (instructors)
Fridays, September 13, 2024 to June 6, 2025
Extension Education Programs
2024-2025 East Bay Yearlong Program: Letting the Unconscious Lead the Way
Graeme Daniels, MFT; Elizabeth Stuart, MD; Eric Miller, PhD; Ben Goldstone, MA, LMFT; Pedro Job, PsyM; and Paul Watsky, PhD (instructors)
Saturday, September 14, 2024
Child Colloquium Series
Working with the Harsh Adolescent Superego
Holly Gordon, DMH (presenter); Ann Martini, LCSW (discussant)
Thursdays, September 19 to October 17, 2024
Coalition for Clinical Social Work
CCSW mini-Module: Working with Parents: A Complex and Essential Component of Child Psychotherapy
Lea Brown, LCSW, and Amy Wallerstein Friedman, LCSW (instructors)
Fridays, September 20, 2024 to May 23, 2025
Extension Education Programs
2024-2025 San Francisco Yearlong Program: Continuous Case Conference
Marc Wallis, LCSW; Paul Alexander, PhD; Kathy Waller, MD; Bronwen Lemmon, LMFT; and Genie Dvorak, PsyD (case conference group leaders)
Wednesdays, October 2, 2024 to October 23, 2024
Psychoanalytic Student Seminars
Winnicott, Creativity, and the Place Where We Live
Marty Mulkey, MFT (instructor)
Wednesdays, October 16, 2024 to May 7, 2025
Extension Education Programs
2024-2025 Seasoned Clinicians Program
Reyna Cowan, PsyD, LCSW; Clara Kwun, LCSW; Robin Deutsch, PhD; Jeanne Harasemovitch, LCSW; Amy Glick, LMFT; and Gary Grossman, PhD (instructors)
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