News & Event
To see the specific strategies and investment opportunities that will flow from these three pillars, download our 2018 Strategic Framework. We also have prepared answers to Frequently Asked Questions about our new plan.
Please join us for an Open House on Thursday, April 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the foundation's offices, when we will discuss our plans in more detail.
Continuing with our strategic focus on adolescent mental health services, the foundation recently funded a number of local school systems to address the mental health needs of their students.
King Philip Regional School District received a grant of $70,000 to replicate the evidence-based BRYT Program at King Philip Regional High School. BRYT stands for the Brookline Resilient Youth Team, a unique program started at Brookline High School that provides support for students returning to school from a hospitalization due to a behavioral health issue. The BRYT Program provides clinical coordination between students, families and school personnel during a crisis and the re-entry process. With the King Philip grant, the foundation has now supported replication of the BRYT program in seven area school systems.
A new grant to the Mendon-Upton Regional School District is allowing school personnel to be trained in Dialectic Behavioral Therapy or DBT. Staff can use DBT skills, such as mindfulness and distress tolerance, to teach students how to manage specific challenges and events, making it easier for them to remain in the classroom. The foundation funded a similar program within the Millis Public Schools that demonstrated a significant decrease in student counseling referrals for self-harming behaviors.
The foundation is also excited about a new three-year grant we recently made to Wellesley College that will be developing and evaluating a comprehensive program to address youth depression and suicide ideation. The three-year grant will enable researchers at Wellesley to conduct universal telephone depression screening of Natick High School students and make appropriate referrals for prevention and treatment. The program will also refer students to a unique web-based resource that can help students strengthen protective factors and reduce their vulnerability to depressive disorders. For the Natick Public Schools, this project fits within their strategic goal of improving academic achievement by incorporating best practices that address wellness and reduce student stress.
Read more about our work to address adolescent mental health in the initiative section of our website.
In 2015, the foundation awarded planning grants to the Bellingham, Milford and Framingham Public Schools to develop plans for implementing a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) framework within their respective districts. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, and make responsible decisions. Research shows that children with strong social-emotional skills perform better in school, have more positive relationships and better mental health outcomes.
Now with their plans complete, the foundation's board of trustees recently approved three-year, $105,000 implementation grants for each district. The grants are designed to help each school system train personnel in grades K-5 on SEL systems, beliefs and practices leading to improved school culture. In addition to the grants, the foundation will be supporting the districts through a "learning community" where they can share best practices and learn from those systems that have successfully implemented SEL practices.
The MetroWest Health Foundation recently announced the award of $737,512 in funding to 14 area health and human services organizations. These grants follow the foundation’s emphasis on projects that address health equity or seek collaborative solutions to health needs across the region.
Included in this round of funding is a $140,000 grant to Advocates, Inc., a local mental health provider, to develop a unique collaboration with William James College, a leading educator of mental health clinicians, and BRACE, the Brazilian Community Center in Framingham, to jointly develop solutions for meeting the behavioral health needs of Framingham’s immigrant community. Foundation President Martin Cohen said, “It is exactly these types of community collaboratives that hold the potential for real change and improvement in how we address community needs.” Cohen said the foundation’s new strategic plan calls for more funding of such community collaboratives.
At its meeting in December, the foundation's Board of Trustees unanimously elected William Graham as its newest trustee. Bill is a resident of Medfield, and serves as senior vice president for public affairs and government programs at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Wellesley. As a member of Harvard Pilgrim's leadership team, Bill has responsibility for the organization's strategic response to and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He also has oversight of services to the region's growing senior market. Bill has been with Harvard Pilgrim since 1998.
In announcing Mr. Graham's election, Dana Neshe, chair of the foundation's board of trustees said, "Bill brings a great combination of health policy and public affairs experience to the work of the Foundation. We are delighted to have him as our newest trustee."
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