In May, BACH’s Community Investment Committee released a Request for Proposal to engage trauma organizations in an effort to move forward with Strategic Issues #3 identified in the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP) Health Planning Report. BACH distributed $60,000 to trauma response and resilience building efforts through funding support from Determination of Need Community Health Initiatives of Boston hospitals, which are required and overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Six recipients were selected for three specific funding areas:
- Charlestown Against Substance Abuse and Mothers for Justice and Equality each received $7,500 to support distribution of stipends for trained community trauma responders
- Foundation for Boston Centers for Youth and Families ($5,000), Louis D. Brown Peace Institute ($10,000) and Project R.I.G.H.T. ($5,000) received funding for other expenses related to trauma response and community and family support in the aftermath of a traumatic event
- South Boston Collaborative Advisory Network received $25,000 towards a city-wide Trauma and Resilience Community of Practice
Money has been used to support a range of a projects including supporting vigils and funeral services for families of homicide victims by the Louis D. Peace Institute and Project RIGHT, hiring mothers to become peer advocates by Mothers for Justice and Equality, to support community first responders by Charlestown Against Substance Abuse, and to BCYF Streetworkers for youth to attend a summer camping trip with siblings and survivors of gun violence.
While BACH understands this is not a significant amount of money, there is an overwhelming need to fund and support the continuum of care, which includes varying degrees of grassroots efforts often overlooked by other sources. This RFP was designed to help support those aspects of community-based trauma response that arise for faith-based organizations and coalitions.
It is also important to recognize that in order to have a holistic approach to community trauma we have to address the systemic cause as well as meeting the immediate needs of the families impacted. We followed up with our grantees and asked them two important questions regarding creating a well-rounded, trauma informed approach to funding: 1) Why do you think it is important to make more funding available to support families and grassroots activities around trauma? 2) How do you think your work with community (through this funding and/or overall) can be leveraged to improve trauma networks?
Here are some responses:
- Why do you think it is important to make more funding available to support families and grassroots activities around trauma?
- “As a community that not only suffers traumatic experiences with substance use disorders and addiction, overdose, and violence, trauma is perpetuated by generational coping strategies as well as secondary and tertiary exposure. Being able to ensure there is professional support to guide these community members is imperative. Since it is not considered therapy and may not be billable for mental health providers, the funding gives us a little more flexibility and can ensure their commitment. Furthermore, we need to be mindful of community members and regardless of their willingness to do the work, monetary compensation can free them to be more available to participate in organized interventions…Funding is very important to garner ongoing commitment and support consistent work.” – Charlestown Against Substance Abuse
- “Too often funds for violence intervention fund the “big” picture, but experience has shown that its often the small, incidental costs that can create lasting relationships between our Streetworkers and the youth they work with. By being able to take a young person to lunch, buying a family going through a crisis groceries, or even simply handing out water bottles at the site of a trauma, we are able to create connections and foster trust between our staff and the youth and families they work with. These simple acts of kindness allow victims of trauma to know that Streetworkers are available to be called upon in times of need.” – Foundation for Boston Centers for Youth and Families
- “Survivors of homicide victims have specific needs that overlap with and yet are distinct from the broader category of “trauma.” One component of consistent and compassionate homicide responseis to ensure that families’ practical needs are met in the aftermath of their loved one’s murder... Our focus is guiding families through the funeral and burial process using the Survivors Burial and Resource Guide we created. We also manage the Rest in Peace Fund because families should not have to face an insurmountable financial burden on top of the unprecedented and inescapable pain they feel when their loved one is killed. Making a burial fund available to families who otherwise could not afford to lay their loved one to rest is part of effective and equitable homicide response.” – Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
- How do you think your work with community (through this funding and/or overall) can be leveraged to improve trauma networks?
- “The Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition has been engaging with many community groups all over Boston, in Chelsea, and Revere to build networks in this work for the past 3 years… We believe our work, albeit specific for the Charlestown community, has been informed by our connections and they we have also been able to share our experiences to give perspectives to other communities. These ongoing connections are important in this work to streamline approach without limiting our efforts to one single approach.” – Charlestown Against Substance Abuse
- “Our on-the-ground work allows for us to stay in the lives of people affected by trauma, who often wouldn’t otherwise have resources for ongoing care. Streetworkers are often the first point of contact between young people and the network of community services that can improve their lives; our staff refers the youth they work with to social workers, doctors, employment programs, and a variety of other services and resources that offer enrichment and uplift. By introducing the young people we work with to a network of caring adults and resources, we begin to heal the trauma in our community and work toward changing lives.”– Foundation for Boston Centers for Youth and Families
- “The Peace Institute coordinates and convenes the Serving Survivors of Homicide Victims Providers Network with more than forty agencies represented [which meets the third Tuesday of every month from 10am-Noon at the Grove Hall Library]. The purpose of this Network is to foster trust, build skills, and improve service coordination amongst providers. The Peace Institute is also advocating for a city-wide homicide response protocol so that all families are treated with dignity and compassion in the aftermath of murder. Since we serve more than 90% of murder victims’ families in the city of Boston, we want to use our experience and expertise to push for protocols that are coordinated, consistent, and compassionate.” – Louis D. Brown Peace Institute