Together We RIZE Grant Program
Through Together We RIZE, we marked our fifth anniversary milestone by funding bold, community-driven projects and initiatives that have the potential to bend the curve of overdose crisis. RIZE made funding available for six one-year grants of up to $100,000.
We invited grant applicants to share their best ideas to end the stigma associated with addiction, keep people safe from overdose, and ensure that anyone who wants it has access to quality care no matter who they are or where they live. We focused on projects that:
- Catalyze effective interventions
- Generate and disseminate knowledge, and
- Inform and inspire bold partnerships to drive solutions forward
How the funds are being used:
- Berkshire Harm Reduction (Pittsfield) provides services in three brick-and-mortar locations as well as mobile harm reduction across Berkshire County, which has the highest rate of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts. Services include testing and treatment for infectious diseases and STIs, syringe exchange, sharps disposal, overdose education and naloxone distribution. The nonprofit will enhance its model to better serve people who use drugs by purchasing two vehicles to support a low-barrier, peer-driven mobile harm reduction program to reach stigmatized and isolated people who use drugs, across a rural, 946-square-mile service area.
- Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (Brockton) provides culturally and financially accessible healthcare to a patient population of 35,000, the majority of whom are low-income and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The health center will expand its drug checking services and study best practices for use at mobile and fixed clinic sites. With increased capacity for drug checking, and the knowledge of the historic exploitation and marginalization of people who use drugs, they will work to better understand the expectations of BIPOC who use drugs and explore appropriate relationships between drug checking and medical care.
- The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center (Boston) is a national hub for substance use disorder resources, providing treatment and support programs for patients of all backgrounds along with addiction education, policy, advocacy and thought leadership. The center will enhance a 24/7 overdose prevention hotline staffed by peers with lived experience by using “virtual spotting” remote technology that prompts a rescue response if an overdose occurs. More than 2,000 people die of overdose each year in Massachusetts, and the risk of fatal overdose increases exponentially when people use drugs alone.
- North Suffolk Mental Health Association (Chelsea) provides community-based mental health services to individuals and families in Greater Boston, including Hispanic/Latino populations with higher poverty rates and often lacking health insurance. The nonprofit will serve English- and Spanish-speaking parents in recovery by implementing It Takes a Village/Se Necesita un Pueblo, an evidence-based group therapy model co-facilitated by a clinician and a recovery coach. This model has been informed by a diverse Recovery Support Services team to address the impact of substance use disorder, mental illness, and trauma on parent-child relationships.
- St. Francis House (Boston), the largest day shelter in Massachusetts, enables homeless or housing-insecure adults to meet their basic needs for shelter, safety, meals, clean clothes, showers, and access to medical care. It offers drop-in services, workforce development programs, affordable housing search and housing stabilization services, and clinical and case management services. St. Francis House will launch an intensive outpatient treatment clinic for people experiencing substance use disorder and homelessness – the first-of-its-kind embedded within a day shelter with harm reduction services. The clinic will meet a crucial need by serving guests on-site when they are ready to accept treatment.
- South Shore Health (Weymouth) is the largest independent health system in southeastern Massachusetts, serving 800,000 residents across 32 communities. It provides hospital-based addiction services through the Grayken Center for Treatment, as well as outpatient, office-based, and mobile addiction treatment services. South Shore Health will increase hospital initiation of methadone – which has been proven to reduce illicit opioid use and risk of overdose – and connection to treatment. The model calls for peers following up with patients to ensure early retention in the program when the risk of dropout is high.