Eighteen Nonprofits Receive Nearly $100,000 in Health New England Grants

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England has awarded nearly $100,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations that address mental health and the opioid epidemic in Western Mass. The company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Grants went to 18 organizations in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties.

The company’s DEIB grants were designed to fund local nonprofit organizations that focus on health equity and engage around at least one social determinant of health (SDOH). SDOHs are conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that affect health, quality of life, and life expectancy. SDOHs may include socioeconomic status, food insecurity, education, access to healthcare, safe housing, discrimination, violence, trauma, and more.

Health New England focused this year’s DEIB grants on mental health and the opioid epidemic after its Community Health Needs Assessment demonstrated that, among public-health officials in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties surveyed in 2021 for the assessment, 36% of respondents overall listed mental health and substance use as the most pressing health issues in their communities, and it was the top-ranked issue in Hampden and Hampshire counties.

The winners of Health New England’s DEIB grants and the projects the grants are funding are: Alianza DV Services (Holyoke), Mental-health Services for Children Experiencing Domestic Violence; Arise for Social Justice (Springfield), Hot Meal Pantry Program; Berkshire Regional Planning Commission/Berkshire Tomorrow (Pittsfield), Community Outreach Specialists; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County (Greenfield), Community Based Mentoring; Center for Human Development (Springfield), Park Street Harm Reduction & Street Outreach Program; Community Action Pioneer Valley (Greenfield), Youth Council: Partnership for Social Change and Healing Justice; Community Legal Aid (Worcester), Legal Advocacy for Health Equity; Cooley Dickinson Hospital (Springfield), New Beginnings Program; Follow My Steps (Springfield), Thrive Over Survive; the Gray House (Springfield), the Market at Gray House; It Takes a Village (Huntington), the Village Closet Home Visit, Parent Support Group; LifePath (Greenfield), Elder Mental Health and Well-being; Michael J. Dias Foundation (Ludlow), Comprehensive Public Education Campaign Program; Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts (Springfield), Youth Mental Health Coalition; Survival Center (North Amherst), Community Activities Program; Tapestry Health (Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, and Northampton), Mobile Clinic; Way Finders (Springfield), Residents Services for Adults at Risk of Homelessness; and Westfield Food Pantry (Westfield), Food Insecurity and Referral Initiative – WFP Expansion.

“Mental health is about well-being. There are many factors that impact ones’ mental health, from access to care and social connection to meeting basic needs,” said Katie Bruno, Health New England’s Public Health and Wellness Program manager. “As part of Health New England’s mission to improve the health and lives of the people in the communities we serve, we are proud to partner with local nonprofits working to improve and provide support for mental well-being and substance abuse across Western Massachusetts.”

Health New England, a Baystate Health-owned, not-for-profit health plan, continues to invest in the health and well-being of the people in the communities it serves. Over the last five years, Health New England’s grants have provided more than $2.5 million in funding to nonprofits in Western and Central Mass.