RIZE Awards Nearly $2m to Improve Connections to Substance Use Services

June 6, 2024


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Greg Turner, Ball Consulting Group, LLC
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RIZE Massachusetts Awards Nearly $2M in Grants to Improve Connections to Substance Use Services

BOSTON, Mass. (June 6, 2024) – RIZE Massachusetts Foundation (RIZE), an independent nonprofit foundation solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis in Massachusetts, today announced nearly $2 million in grant funding for eight nonprofit organizations that will strengthen connections to substance use treatment, harm reduction and recovery services for individuals during hospital visits and after discharge to the community.

The Linkages to Care (LinC) grant program supports community-based organizations that are considered central to positive recovery results and reduced rehospitalizations. Research funded by RIZE shows that individuals who survive an overdose have a higher risk of future overdose, and linking them to ongoing services following a hospital discharge is likely to save lives.

“Since our founding, we have always believed that it will require systems change to end the overdose epidemic, and a key part of this approach is to create connections where gaps exist,” said RIZE President and CEO Julie Burns. “Our Linkages to Care grant program will help strengthen collaboration between the inpatient care system and the range of substance use services that are available to support individuals in the community.”

The goals of the LinC program are to support individuals who use substances and those seeking treatment by building connections across care systems and disciplines, and to reduce overdose deaths by increasing coordination during points of transition. RIZE invited applications from nonprofit community-based treatment, harm reduction and recovery programs located across the state and awarded the following:

  • $247,566 to AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, which will further develop its post-overdose support team in partnership with Gosnold, a behavioral health services provider, and the Duffy Health Center in Hyannis.
  • $250,000 to Community Health Connections, which will expand its patient assessment and referral services by linking with UMass Memorial Health’s Athol Hospital, HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital and Heywood Hospital in Gardner.
  • $250,000 to Lowell House Inc., which will collaborate with Tufts Medicine’s Lowell General Hospital to support individuals after inpatient stays and emergency department visits.
  • $250,000 to Metro Boston Alive, which will enhance its community supports for individuals of color by guiding patients discharged from Massachusetts General Hospital through treatment plans and challenges related to social determinants of health.
  • $249,956 to North Shore Community Health, which will embed substance use disorder treatment navigators to support patients at Mass General Brigham’s Salem Hospital.
  • $250,000 to Somerville Homeless Coalition, which will collaborate with Cambridge Health Alliance on a program involving street outreach and emergency shelters that will link inpatient care for substance use disorders with outpatient follow-up and referrals.
  • $247,832 to The Pettengill House, a nonprofit social service agency in Amesbury that will enhance its Behavioral Event and Substance Support Taskforce (BESST) along with its lead partner, Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport.
  • $250,000 to Whose Corner Is It Anyway, a Holyoke organization that is developing a peer-driven approach to build trust between hospital clinicians and people who use drugs, with linkages to Springfield-based Baystate Health.

“Harm reduction services are key to ending the overdose crisis that impacts our communities. Our organization is honored to once again partner with RIZE Massachusetts to ensure our harm reduction services are available to all,” said Dan Gates, President & CEO of AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. “The RIZE grant will allow our team to expand these vitally important harm reduction services in towns across the Cape & Islands, ensuring our communities have access to the tools and supports needed to help those most at risk of death by overdose.”

“We’re deeply grateful to RIZE Massachusetts for their generous support of the Pettengill House and our Behavioral Event and Substance Support Team (BESST) initiative,” said Tiffany Nigro, Executive Director of the Pettengill House. “This exciting partnership will serve to strengthen and build upon efforts to break down barriers, foster collaborative community relationships, and provide person-centered services to support and empower individuals struggling with substance misuse and behavioral health challenges.”

“At Somerville Homeless Coalition, we understand the importance of continuity of care, especially for our clients seeking treatment or transitioning out of treatment and hospitalizations,” said Hannah O’Halloran, Director of Homeless Services at the Somerville Homeless Coalition. “With the RIZE grant, we can continue our partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance’s Healthcare for the Homeless Program, operating a medical clinic within our day drop-in center and on-the-street medical support for the unhoused and vulnerable population. These important linkages to specialized health care for our clients will allow them to be treated in an environment where they feel comfortable, dignified, and respected.”

RIZE also recently made a second substantial investment in its two-year grant program, Taking Action to Improve Access and Equity in Opioid Use Disorder Care, which supports initiatives that lead to measurable improvements in opioid use disorder or polysubstance use services for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC). The grantees are:

  • Baystate Medical Center, to implement culturally appropriate harm reduction services that better meet the needs of BIPOC individuals who smoke or snort stimulants, opioids and other drugs.
  • Casa Esperanza, to provide an acute treatment and clinical stabilization services (ATS/CSS) model that supports Latine patients who suffer from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Metro Boston Alive and Mass General Physicians Organization, to enhance a partnership between Metro Boston Alive and the Massachusetts General Hospital Bridge Clinic to provide comprehensive addiction treatment and recovery services to Black Bostonians while bridging the recovery-clinical divide.
  • Women’s Lunch Place, to facilitate office-based opioid treatment to support unhoused BIPOC women with opioid use disorder.

RIZE also awarded nearly $400,000 in grant funding to continue its Harm Reduction Training (HaRT) Scholars program in the 2024-2025 academic year at Boston College, Bridgewater State University, Simmons University and Westfield State University. Created in 2021, the program was the nation’s first specialized internship to develop a pipeline of social workers trained in harm reduction.

Each school receives funding for up to five paid internships and support to run the program and provide shared learning opportunities for the HaRT Scholars. In turn, harm reduction training sites receive increased clinical presence and financial support to offset time for intern supervision. To date, the program has awarded internships to over 50 HaRT Scholars across the four schools.

About RIZE Massachusetts

RIZE Massachusetts is solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis.  Guided by those with lived experience and unafraid of new ideas, RIZE is building networks, designing programming, and supporting community partners who are using novel approaches to preventing overdose and increasing access to treatment. Learn more at rizema.org.