Albequerque, N.M. — OptumHealth is offering grant writing services to help nonprofit mental health organizations in New Mexico secure funds to support their existing programs and expand services.
Funds obtained from grants are an additional source of revenue for organizations that rely on dollars from Medicaid budgets, which are under financial pressure.
Foundations offer grants that help behavioral health organizations sustain and create new programs; however, many nonprofit and consumer-run agencies do not have the resources to apply for the grants. OptumHealth's grant writing program helps these agencies identify grant opportunities, write the necessary application materials and conduct follow-up.
The grant writing program has already helped four New Mexico mental health organizations secure funds, including $11,245 for Valencia Counseling Services; $15,000 for Southwest Horse Power, for its program that incorporates horses into the counseling process; and $25,000 for Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos' youth substance abuse prevention program.
The Interfaith-Leadership for the Empowerment of All People (Interfaith-LEAP) in Rio Arriba County received $5,000 from the Frost Foundation. Interfaith-LEAP provides families access to mental health and crisis intervention counseling, food and clothing.
"Last year, Interfaith-LEAP suffered a devastating financial setback when its federally funded Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) dollars were cut," said Interfaith-LEAP Executive Director Raymond Chavez. "We thought with the loss of TANF dollars we would have to close our doors, but OptumHealth is writing grants for us, and we see funding coming in from other sources. For that, we are very grateful."
With OptumHealth's assistance, Interfaith-LEAP has eight additional grants pending with state and national foundations. Several other grant applications have been submitted to support regional nonprofit programs.
"The commitment of OptumHealth has been essential to Five Sandoval in obtaining grant funding for our prevention department," said state Rep. James Roger Madalena, who is also Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos' executive director. "If Five Sandoval had not received this funding, there would likely have been reductions in prevention staffing and a decrease in the number of youth served. Ultimately, this would have translated into more alcohol and substance abuse by Native American youth."
"OptumHealth's grant writing assistance program helps secure funds for organizations so they can maintain and enhance services as Medicaid dollars decrease and communities' behavioral health needs grow," said Mike Evans, CEO of OptumHealth New Mexico. "The grant writing program is part of OptumHealth's commitment to helping New Mexicans get the services they need to support their mental and emotional health."