The Public Relations Society of America Los Angeles chapter has selected Santa Monica-based Step Up On Second as the 2007 recipient of the $10,000 Don Perkins Community Service Grant for nonprofit organizations.

Step Up on Second is a community agency that provides psychosocial rehabilitation and long-term support to individuals suf- fering from severe and persistent mental illness.

The agency offers housing, education and social and work experiences to help clients reintegrate into the community. The grant money will be used to fund a public relations campaign geared toward increasing public understanding and acceptance of mental illness, according to the organization.

The Don Perkins Community Service Grant was established 15 years ago by the Public Relations Society of America Los Angeles Chapter, which annually gives a grant to a nonprofit organization in Southern California to help defray the costs of its public relations activities.

The grant was created by an endowment from the late Don Perkins, a longtime Los Angeles public relations practitioner and journalist. Step Up’s proposal was chosen out of nearly 20 applications for its media relations strategy of using the real-life success stories of its members to put a “human face” on mentally ill individuals, according to the Public Relations Society.

With help from its professional public relations consultant, Barbara Bishop of BBPR Inc., Step Up hopes to reach its goal of increasing understanding and awareness of mental illness, as well as garnering support for its programs from the general public and prospective donors, Step Up officials said.

Information about Public Relations Society of America-Los Angeles,