Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Wellness and Recovery Fund from charitable assets that remained after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York’s most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid. The $2.2 million fund supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity.
The Wellness and Recovery Fund is deeply rooted in our values of racial equity and centers our racial justice lens, which prioritizes support for nonprofits that are led by members of affected communities, and centers the voices of those directly impacted by structural racism in decision-making. We do this because we understand that our most vulnerable communities already exist at the margins of power and access due to historical and systemic denial of adequate resources.
An advisory council of eight Brooklyn residents, who are personally impacted by substance misuse and/or have worked with impacted communities, reviewed grant applications and selected the organizations to receive funding. This process is in line with our example-setting participatory grantmaking approach which we have adopted across all of our unrestricted grantmaking programs. Through participatory grantmaking, we share decision-making power with community members who have direct experience on the issues being addressed, furthering our commitment to racial justice and community-led change.
Awarded in March 2022, Wellness and Recovery Fund grants will provide $217,500 over three years to nonprofits working in three priority areas:
Dignity-centered direct services designed to prevent and treat substance misuse and abuse
Expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services
Systems change efforts that impact the lives of people in recovery and people living with addiction.
The 10 community-based organizations receiving funding are:
After Hours Project: To support an array of health and social services including: behavioral health education; sexual health and wellness; HIV/AIDs Linkage to Care; harm reduction; housing, food, and family wellness; community outreach; advocacy and referral services, and more. Clients primarily have little or no contact with traditional service providers, and include persons who inject drugs, sex workers, and people who are homeless.
Ali Forney Center: To support services provided to 2,000+ LGBTQIA+ youth at a 24/7 drop-in center, and 17 emergency and transitional housing sites, as well as to hire a substance misuse treatment counselor to work at 14 housing sites, including 9 in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Community Housing and Services: To support housing for 1,000+ people who experience homelessness annually, including transitional and permanent housing, as well as substance misuse counselors and skilled clinicians for all new housing developments.
Community Counseling & Mediation: To support a wide range of social services, counseling, physical and mental healthcare, education, and supportive housing services for individuals and families in extremely low-income areas of Brooklyn. Services include treatment, early intervention, wrap-around services, and recovery support services for people living with substance misuse disorders and/or co-occurring mental health disorders.
Global Trauma Research: To support the “Stay Well” program, which provides 24-hour crisis intervention/hospital prevention and culturally/spiritually specific long-term trauma counseling to participants with a history of substance misuse, as well as a multilingual substance misuse and abuse community education campaign with 300 community partners.
Housing Plus: To support justice-involved women in an alternative-to-detention program that provides community-based housing and comprehensive services to help them overcome poverty, homelessness, and the effects of incarceration, and build stable lives. The program also seeks to reunite and reconnect parents and caregivers with children in foster care, and to prevent separation in as many families as possible.
Lantern Community Services: To provide comprehensive harm reduction services to improve the overall quality of life for clients, including at two supportive housing sites in Brooklyn that serve formerly unhoused residents living with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and/or diagnosed mental health conditions. Staff also provide Naloxone training and kits and overdose prevention education to residents.
New York Therapeutic Communities - Stay’n Out: To support substance misuse treatment for adults in the criminal legal system through licensed community-based residential and outpatient programs that use a therapeutic community model, as well as to add more peer recovery advocates to connect persons using substances with needed services
The Family Center: To support programs that provide comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and family-focused behavioral health treatment and recovery services for adults, children, and families with significant levels of trauma, chronic disease, extreme poverty, and barriers to care, as well as free childcare for parents and caregivers who are living with addiction, substance use challenges, and recovery while they are receiving treatment and health services.
VOCAL-NY: To support the growth of outreach and testing programs for people who use drugs, increased operating hours for syringe services programs, expansion of service delivery teams by transitioning part-time peer outreach workers and Hepatitis C care coordinators to full-time salaried positions, and hiring additional peer outreach workers.
CAPACITY BUILDING & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
In addition to general operating support, the Foundation provides capacity building support to grantees and community partners in areas including racial justice, fundraising, strategic communications, board development, executive transition, financial management, advocacy, direct action, community organization, and leadership development.