11 Kentucky nonprofits get grants to work on substance-use-disorder awareness and prevention in underserved communities

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Eleven nonprofit organizations have been selected to receive as much as $50,000 each from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky‘s Funding for Recovery Equity and Expansion Program.

The FREE Program provides grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to organizations that raise awareness about overdose prevention, reduce the stigma associated with substance-use disorder and improve greater access to harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services for people with substance use disorders.

“We are eager to see all that these organizations will accomplish with these funds,” Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a news release. “Their knowledge of their respective communities and established relationships are a vital resource. We believe these projects will be able to reach underserved individuals in need and address some of the overdose disparities we are seeing in Kentucky.”

The organizations receiving funds and amounts are:
  • Appalachian Kentucky Health Care Access Network, $21,999: Based in Lexington, and working statewide, it will train 100 community health workers and multiple Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-serving organizations on drug-use stigma reduction.
  • Change Today, Change Tomorrow, $24,000. Located in Louisville, this group will distribute hygiene kits, Naloxone, safe-use kits, and fentanyl testing strips in West Louisville while training individuals and community partners how to safely react to an overdose emergency.
  • Hope Center, $50,000. This Lexington facility will employ a mobile case coordinator who will engage monthly with at least 25 individuals who use drugs to connect them to harm-reduction services and provide referrals to medical care.
  • Joshua Community Connectors, $50,000: JCC’s Removing Roadblocks to Recovery Project, in Louisville, will provide people with substance use disorders with access to a licensed mental health professional, housing options and case management services.
  • Louisville Pride Foundation, $50,000: The foundation’s “Caution to Care” program will focus on addressing substance use disorders within the LGBTQ community through a range of activities that utilize LGBTQ ambassadors who are trained as community health workers.
  • Mental Health America Northern Kentucky & Southwest Ohio, $40,000: This organization is headquartered in Newport, but works statewide. It aims to fill vacancies for peer support specialists by recruiting and training more than 150 of these paraprofessionals and connecting them to job openings with service providers.
  • New Legacy Reentry Corp., $50,000: This Louisville organization will use this funding to build out an inpatient and outpatient recovery center that specifically serves formerly incarcerated citizens who struggle with substance use and mental-health issues.
  • Pathways Inc., $48,258.50: Working all over Eastern Kentucky, this Ashland-based group will conduct a digital marketing campaign and  two community-outreach events focusing on reducing the stigma of drug use and recovery in the BIPOC population.
  • People Advocating Recovery, $49,252.50: PAR is based in Louisville, but works statewide. It will build community with minority populations, then build and disseminate empowerment storytelling training materials that are more inclusive of all populations and experiences. From these materials, it will produce videos for a stigma-reduction campaign on social media.
  • Recovery Café, $50,000: This Lexington nonprofit will use this funding to make full-time its minority-outreach specialist position.
  • Voices of Hope, $49,991: VOH, located in Lexington, will use this funding to provide staff with diversity/equity/inclusion training and work with communities of color to create video and print materials, inclusive of Black and Latinx individuals, that provide education about drug overdoses, substance-use trends, and community resources for recovery.

    The FREE program is structured to break down barriers that often make it more difficult for grassroots and smaller nonprofits to compete for funding, according to the news release. In addition to the grant funds, the program includes support from the foundation, the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to help the recipients utilize their resources, build organizational capacity and prepare for future growth.

    “We must address addiction and its impacts for everyone, but especially for our underserved communities,” state Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said in the release. “What happens to any one of us impacts all of us.”

    This project is supported by the health department’s Office of Health Equity with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort via the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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