August 07 2020 0comment

$1 Million HRSA Grant to Combat Substance Use in Rural Counties

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded over $89 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) implementation grants to 89 organizations across 38 states.  United Way of the Wabash Valley was awarded $1 million over the next three years to expand service delivery for substance use disorders and opioid use disorders in our rural service area communities of Sullivan, Parke, and Vermillion counties.  They were one of only two United Ways in the country to receive this grant.

Over the past year, United Way has been executing an RCORP-planning grant that has taken an in-depth look at our rural communities in the Wabash Valley and their needs relating to substance use disorder.  This implementation grant will allow United Way of the Wabash Valley to partner with organizations in their Substance Use Disorders Impact Council and use that research to implement a set of core substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery activities grounded in evidence-based or promising practice models based on each of our communities unique needs.

This grant will fund programming by United Way, Chances and Services for Youth, Hamilton Center, Next Step Foundation, and Valley Professionals Community Health Center.  This programming will include:

  • A new Substance Use trained Case Manager and Counselor to support Vermillion county
  • Hiring and training nine new health and social service professional interns
  • Three new Peer Recover Centers with expanded telehealth and 24/7 call operations
  • Two new Recover Residences
  • Over 2,000 students enrolled in new school-based, evidence-based, teacher-led prevention programs per year
  • Increased educational programming and marketing surrounding substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies
  • Nine new permanent drug take-back sites and six collection events

“United Way is helping to lead the charge in combating substance use disorders in our community,” stated Dana Simons, Executive Director of Next Step Foundation.  “Their role in bringing organizations together to focus our strengths towards a common goal is what our community needs.  The programs that this grant will be able to provide in these rural communities are vital to addressing the issue of substance use disorder plaguing our community.”

The United Way has shifted its framework over the last two years to a collective impact approach of convening multiple organization to focus on a bold goal of moving 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.  This approach is utilizing councils that are multi-sector volunteer-led committees that bring together subject matter experts, people who are passionate about the issue, people whose lives are affected by the issue, business leaders, and other organizations working to affect that area.  The Substance Use Disorders Impact Council is now working on investing over $1.24 million into our community through programs and initiatives over the next three years.

“The Substance Use Disorders Impact Council is doing big things and this is a great win for our community,” said Richard Payonk, Executive Director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley.  “This grant was only possible because of our new approach and really makes a powerful case for why nonprofits working together in collaborative ways can tap into more resources for our community. These issues are too great for one organization to tackle alone and getting the right people around the table and working together is the only way that our community will be able to address the root of the large scale problems we are facing.  I encourage businesses and community members to join with us as we work to create more large scale success for our community.”


To review a complete list of all grant recipients

For more information about the RCORP initiative, please contact Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

To learn more about how HRSA is addressing the opioid epidemic, visit

To learn more about the United Way of the Wabash Valley’s Substance Use Disorder Impact Council, visit