HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, August 27, 2019 – The Women’s Philanthropy Society of the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville is proud to partner with WellStone Behavioral Health to launch Connections Matter, which strengthens children and families with a history of trauma. The program demonstrates how caring interactions develop healthy brains to allow individuals to cope, heal, and thrive. This strategic approach can affect the long-term health of these individuals, as well as their families to grow strong, safe, and successful.
The Women’s Philanthropy Society–established for women by women–wishes to positively impact quality of life in our community for generations to come. To accomplish this goal, the Socieity seeks high-impact grant opportunities to address systemic issues with a long-term, strategic approach. Melissa Thompson, Interim CEO of Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, remarks, “This phenomenal group of women wants to create a legacy of love in our community. They are motivated to seek visionary solutions that create enduring change in the lives of local women, children, and families.”
Each year the Women’s Philanthropy Society chooses a focus area and awards one high-dollar grant to address systemic change that creates a positive and measurable impact for women and their families. The Women’s Philanthropy Society Leadership Council chose mental health as its focus issue for 2019 grantmaking.
To that end, the Community Foundation convened a Community Conversation in February to discuss the challenges faced by women and families in our community in need of mental health services. Ninety participants from 59 different organizations participated in the Community Conversation to identify local mental services, as well as gaps or obstacles to mental health support.
Thereafter, the Women’s Philanthropy Society solicited grant applications to address a strategic approaches to mental help support for women and families. The Community Foundation received nine grant applications for projects totaling $414,758. All of these applications were for worthy projects; therefore, the Grants Committee made its funding decisions only after extensive review and deliberation. Following a rigorous review process, the Grants Committee selected Wellstone’s Connections Matter Project as this year’s grant recipient.
Connections Matter is an evidence-informed program that creates caring and supportive interactions to individuals with ongoing stress or trauma to build positive brain connections that improve mental and physical health and result in enhanced individual and community well-being. This model has proven effective in many communities and will affect a significant number of people in our community including:
- 1,815 faculty/staff trained in the Connection Matter program representing 63% of Madison County and Huntsville City elementary faculty/staff)
- 690-810+ parents will receive training
- 13,462 students will be directly benefitted during the first year of implementation
The goal of the initial implementation of Connections Matter in the Madison County and Huntsville City school districts is to create a training model that will allow the program to continue to grow not only in our area but throughout the state for years to come.
“Connections Matter will change the way our community thinks about mental health. We are so thankful for the foresight and vision brought by this project and are proud to partner with WellStone to strategically improve the lives of local children with these mental health services,” stated Leta DeMaioribus, Chair of the Women’s Philanthropy Society Leadership Council.
“We are thrilled to be able to introduce this program to our community. These intentional connections help all individuals cope and thrive, but are especially critical in a young child’s formative years. This approach will improve the health of children, families, and communities to create an environment for everyone to thrive and succeed,” comments Jeremy Blair, CEO of WellStone.
Melissa Thompson agrees, saying, “We know we cannot solve today’s problems with yesterday’s thinking. That’s why the Community Foundation and the Women’s Philanthropy Society seek solutions that pioneer new approaches to persistent problems and implement intentional strategies to strengthen our community and the people in it.”
About Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville
The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville believes that when we invest in quality of life, that investment benefits all of us. The Community Foundation makes generosity simple and strategic to improve the quality of life through philanthropy. Founded in 2009, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $17 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the region in its first ten years due to the generosity of local individuals, families, and companies. Visit communityfoundationhsv.org for more information.
About the WellStone Behavioral Health
WellStone is a non-profit community organization primarily serving the residents North Alabama from children to older adults. As a comprehensive behavioral healthcare provider, they offer a wide range of services to connect their clients to health and well-being. Visit wellstone.com for more information.