Strategic Grantmaking, Part 3: Responding to Substance Use Disorder

The third and final installment in our conversation about the Community Foundation’s current strategic grantmaking focuses on responding to substance use disorder (SUD). As noted in our last two columns, the 2018 Frederick County Human Needs Assessment provided the data needed for the Community Foundation to realign its grantmaking priorities to support Frederick County’s most urgent needs.

The key findings from the 2018 Needs Assessment included that Frederick County, like the nation and comparable counties, is coping with SUD, including alcohol abuse. Alcohol is a much more widely accepted and less visible form of SUD; many people mistakenly assume that SUD is only related to pharmaceuticals. SUD often co-occurs with mental health challenges, and transportation issues prevent access to treatments in all these areas. Additionally, residential treatment and detox facilities in Frederick County are limited, and few SUD practitioners accept Medicaid.

Based on these key findings, our Grants Committee established criteria for applicants (local nonprofits, local government agencies) for identifying project or service outcomes that address continuing or increasing 1) access to timely and qualified treatment and recovery options; 2) SUD-related education and prevention programs; 3) the collection and analyzing of data related to people impacted by SUD and the programs that serve them.

Our recent grantmaking supporting Frederick County’s ability to respond to SUD included programs that provide rehabilitative assistance (Frederick Rescue Mission), an employment program to benefit SUD-affected persons (Justice Jobs of Maryland), an adolescent SUD recovery program (The Phoenix Foundation of Maryland), and the Narcan program (Frederick City Police Department). Grants totaling more than $197,000 supported these programs and more, and funding for similar programs the previous two years brings our total grantmaking in this area to just over $320,000.

Where does the grant money come from? Community Foundation funds are established by people and businesses. Some of the funds have specific criteria that direct the money to programs and services that support families with children, and some funds allow our Grants Committee to direct the money to where it is most needed. In addition, our recently established Forever Frederick County Fund, an unrestricted endowment created to address our community’s most pressing needs, is now contributing monies to each strategic area. Finally, Strategic Funding Partners (donors who wish to directly support one or more strategic areas) made generous gifts.

Frederick County is fortunate to have nonprofits and government agencies that care about helping people cope with substance use disorder. It is an illness that destroys not only a person’s life, but the lives of those around them. With expanded treatment options and integrative services available, more people and their families will lead successful lives and make a positive impact in our community.