Our Mission

Locally and nationally, our health and justice systems are strained, inefficient, and tangled up – neither justice nor health is as well served as we need them to be, and our individual and community prosperity and well-being suffer from the economic and human costs of this poor coordination of resources, intelligence, practice, and policy.

We believe that greater public awareness and discussion at community-based local and national levels are vital to making continuous improvement in our culture and system of health and justice, and to putting an end to mass incarceration and the criminalization of vulnerability.

Equitas and our partners work toward:

  1. An end to mass incarceration of people with mental and behavioral challenges in the United States
  2. A criminal justice system that ensures public safety and provides justice with unimpeachable equity, and that does not serve as the default system for mismanaging the nation’s behavioral health challenge.
  3. A society that supports and cultivates all people’s efforts to find purposive and social integration within its neighborhoods and economy, from birth through the end of life–including the efforts of those people and their families who are most vulnerable and at risk for poor health and educational outcomes, persistent poverty, and criminal justice involvement.

What We Do


By supporting efforts to raise public awareness and to implement sensible programming and policy, and through convening influential allies locally and nationally, Equitas focuses collective problem-solving energy on managing mental and behavioral health challenges, and other challenges stemming from hidden disabilities and disadvantages. Furthermore, we support efforts that ensure society is not defaulting to mass incarceration.

We work locally and nationally to:

  • Underscore the urgency of culture change and systems reform
  • Bring allies together
  • Track and report behavioral health and incarceration data
  • Set the stage for innovative conversations
  • Identify and disseminate bright ideas and best practices

The David & Laura Merage Foundation


Together, David & Laura Merage are the founders of several philanthropic organizations, including their newest venture, Equitas. The David & Laura Merage Foundation’s mission is to promote self-sufficiency through education and community development. The Merage Foundation’s philanthropic investments are focused on social change and result in children, families and communities improving the quality and circumstances of their lives.

David & Laura believe that education is the gateway to optimal life outcomes, and many of their initiatives are tied to increasing educational opportunities. Early Learning Ventures was formed to create a shared services platform, providing operational resources to child care providers, allowing them to focus more on the most important part of their business – the children.

In Israel, David & Laura see education as the main vehicle for improving quality of life, and are investing in the most advanced educational facilities, technologies, and methodologies in Negev communities.

In the Art and Community program area, David & Laura founded RedLine, a vibrant community art incubator supporting the creative expression of emerging and mid-career artists. RedLine provides an innovative approach to art education.

David & Laura invest in Jewish life initiatives and programs, focusing on cultural heritage education and promoting acceptance of cultural and religious differences.

To Learn More About the David & Laura Merage Foundation, Please Visit: www.merage.org