The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin has announced grants totaling $4.5 million in support of six organizations taking a collaborative approach to well-being in the state's rural communities.
Five organizations — Bastrop County Cares, Community Action Corporation of South Texas, Northeast Texas Community College, Stephen F. Austin University, and the Victoria County Public Health Department — were awarded $410,000 each to create or build on existing community collaborations comprising key stakeholders from the public, private, and business sectors, including people who historically have been excluded from community decision-making processes and who are developing and/or delivering strategies designed to move their communities toward overall wellness. A sixth organization, Alliance for Greater Works, will receive nearly $2.5 million to coordinate the initiative.
Projects receiving support are designed to ensure the participation of historically excluded groups in rural communities at every stage of their development and implementation. While individual grantees will have considerable flexibility in developing their approaches, they must demonstrate a commitment to shared learning, provide detailed plans for community inclusion and participation, and address the need for inclusive leadership that does not reproduce existing inequities.
The initiative is an outgrowth of the foundation's new strategic direction, which will see the foundation shift its primary focus from individual mental illness to the root causes of poor mental health at the community and systems level.
"We're not just excited about the grantees' plans, but also the opportunity to pilot new approaches to collaboration, shared learning, and technical assistance across all of the different projects," said Tammy Heinz, program officer at the Hogg Foundation and project lead. "The beauty of this is that as each grantee succeeds, we all raise our game."