October 21 2019 0comment

United Way Announces a New Grant Opportunity Seeking Applicants for Jail Mentoring Programs

United Way of the Wabash Valley (UWWV) today announced a second grant opportunity issued from their newly formed Substance Use Disorders Impact Council.  The council is part of the United Way’s transition, which started over a year ago, to a collective impact focus on the root causes of generational poverty within their 6-county service area of Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo Counties in Indiana and Clark County in Illinois.  The new council focuses on well-rounded approaches to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery solutions in support of United Way’s bold goal for the community to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.

Dr. Jennifer Hutchens, a clinical psychologist with specialties in addictions and pain management among other disorders, and co-chair of the Substance Use Disorders Council explained the new grant opportunity.  “Our council has set a target on measuring, reporting and reducing the number of substance-use-disorder-related arrests in the community.  We know if we can work collaboratively with local law enforcement, treatment providers and non-profits to move these numbers down, we will have a long-term positive impact on United Way’s bold community goal.  Today we are excited to announce a grant opportunity that will drive the expansion of mentoring programs within our six-county jails to decrease substance use related recidivism upon reentry.”

The council is soliciting proposals to support or expand jail mentorship programs and the availability of such mentors. UWWV is seeking proposals from qualified applicants to create, sustain or expand a quality jail mentorship program with a focus on substance use to support and prepare inmates for sobriety and reentry.  United Way is making available up to $100,000 in funding to be provided over two years. Applicants will be allowed to apply for up to a maximum of $25,000 (per year) for investment in 2020 and 2021.

James Ramer, Vigo County Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator and a member of the council who helped develop the solicitation, shared the reasoning behind the grant. “We had excellent discussion among the experts on our council.  There are numerous studies to choose from, but one conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 77% of drug offenders released were rearrested within five years, nearly half of those within the first year of release.  Locally, some organizations had been working in jail mentoring, but federal funding expired.  Since progress was being made to reduce recidivism locally, our council developed this grant opportunity so work like this could continue and even expand.”

This grant opportunity from United Way comes on the heels of previous announcements in August for grant opportunities related to a Quality Childcare Initiative issued through the Success By 6 Impact Council and a Peer Recovery Specialist Initiative issued by this same Substance Use Disorders Council.   “We expect these opportunities are the tip of the iceberg.  Three more of our new Impact Councils have formed this summer and are now beginning their work,” said United Way Executive Director, Richard Payonk.  “Councils focused on Graduation Success, Financial Management and Strong Neighborhoods could be issuing grant opportunities by next year.”  Still, Payonk cautioned that the grant opportunities and new initiatives from United Way depended strongly on community and donor support for their work.  “We’ve had a positive response from the community who see us working to breakdown siloes and collaborate in new and exciting ways with all nonprofits and government and local businesses to address our most daunting social issue of generational poverty.  We can do it by working together, but the work of these new councils depends upon the community’s financial support of our work.”

Organizations interested in applying for the Jail Mentoring grant opportunity can find the full request and all proposal documents on the United Way website at uwwv.org/funding.  Letters of intent, the first step in the application process, are due November 22nd.

If individuals are interested in donating to support the funding of these specific initiatives or impact councils, they are encouraged to visit United Way’s new interactive “Choose Your Impact” website at uwwv.org/choose.