C.A.R.E. (Community Awareness Recovery Effort) is a community-based substance use coalition dedicated to reducing substance abuse and misuse in Transylvania County. Started in 2010 by a small group of healthcare professionals concerned about rising numbers of overdoses, the coalition now has over 60 members and two staff members. Over time, C.A.R.E. moved their practices toward prevention where they utilize federal funding under the Drug-Free Communities Program to fund their prevention initiatives. However, they also continued to see a need for services in the areas of harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.
It’s in this area that C.A.R.E. found an ideal partnership with Dogwood Health Trust via the Leverage Fund that pairs expert grant writers with organizations needing funds. C.A.R.E. identified the Rural Communities Opioid Response – Planning grant available from the Health Resource and Services Administration. C.A.R.E. realized they would be an ideal fit, especially since they had already formed a committee and had the necessary data at the ready. The missing piece? Experienced and knowledgeable grant writers who could turn the data into dollars.
The Leverage Fund grant writers and C.A.R.E. collaborated for success, resulting in a $200,000 grant awarded in September 2020. Program Director Kristen Gentry says, “The grant energized us. The Leverage Fund was able to connect us with grant writers who were very knowledgeable about this program and who took a very investigative perspective on the strengths we had coming into this to make a successful, strong application.”
The grant is geared towards planning that entails gap and needs assessment, strategic action planning, and coalition development. While the grant does not provide money for direct service delivery, it does prepare the coalition to get a cross-section of community members to the table to determine needs and priorities for what the community is going to do to address the issue. Gentry notes, “We are in the process of meeting with people directly impacted by substance use disorder, including those in recovery as well as family and friends of those with substance use issues to understand what they think are the biggest needs and barriers to getting help.”
In 2020, the Leverage Fund was able to pair over 70 grant writers with organizations. And although there are still 25+ grants pending award notification, $38 million has been brought to Western North Carolina via the Leverage Fund’s partnership with area organizations.
“The grant energized us. The Leverage Fund was able to connect us with grant writers who were very knowledgeable about this program and who took a very investigative perspective on the strengths we had coming into this to make a successful, strong application.”
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Dogwood 2020 Funding: