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Behavioral Health Partnership Grants

The immediate and downstream impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly increased behavioral health needs for countless youth, families, and individuals. We have seen alarming increases in suicide, substance use admissions and health care provider burnout.

While these data points cause great concern, we have also seen silver linings such as greater collaboration, attempts at integration of services, improved national awareness of these complex challenges and reduction of the stigma that surrounds mental health. 

Because of the great need for behavioral health services and the current landscape of collaboration and innovation, ECCF, and its funding partners –  Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation, Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation, North Shore Community Health Network and other donors – have come together to provide “partnership grants” to better support behavioral health systems in Essex County.

What is a partnership grant?

ECCF believes that when people and organizations work together with common goals and metrics, each doing what they do best, we can change the system for the better.  Sometimes it’s nonprofits working with for-profit providers.  Other times it’s nonprofits working with municipal entities.  And often times, it’s all three working together to pilot a program, launch a tested solution or expand/scale a service or program.  And philanthropy is a part of the system.  The goal of a “partnership grant” is to invest in organizations that work together towards a common goal that has community impact.

Past Examples of Partnership Grants:

  • An organization operating a food/meal program working collaboratively with a food pantry sharing transportation and staffing to produce 30% more elder meals to meet the need of food insecurity in an Essex County community.
  • A regional coalition of food organizations, social service organizations and medical institutions create GIS maps to illustrate supply, demand & need to collectively develop a Regional Food Assessment that will allow for strategy and efficiencies of the food ecosystem.
  • A regional emergency shelter partnership between three municipalities and two nonprofits to support the homeless needing quarantine and isolation during COVID.



Tuesday November 30, 2021 (10AM – 11AM)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 820 6179 2979

Thursday December 9, 2021 (12PM – 1PM)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 861 4029 5166


funding focus

Our intention is to develop, test or scale solutions that can improve the Behavioral Health sector in Essex County by working collectively to identify the root causes that lead to health issues and systemic barriers to care.  The goal of this work is to redistribute and reallocate the assets we have in Essex County; to reimagine and reinvent how we do things; and reskill and rebuild the workforce. This will be an opportunity to collectively co-invest in ideas that address the following from a systems perspective:

  • Greater access to services that are culturally relevant and meet people where they are
  • Reduce barriers to access such as but not limited to transportation, language or stigma
  • Greater integration of behavioral health services in housing, healthcare, and food security
  • An improved or expanded workforce by collaborating with local higher education, medical institutions and advocacy efforts for more sustainable wages and benefits

ECCF understands the data that those most impacted by behavioral health challenges include Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrant populations, youth, elderly, those with physical and intellectual disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and others living in poverty. These populations, due to racial and systemic inequity, stand to suffer disproportionately due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, and therefore proposals that address these populations will receive special consideration.

Applications that include non-traditional partners such as businesses or municipal entities that help serve the most under-resourced populations are welcome in this grant process. It is not required to have a behavioral health provider or as part of your proposal.

  • At least one 501c3 organization must be a part of the partnership applying for funding.  (Our grants are limited to 501c3 nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities or municipalities that can demonstrate charitable purpose.
  • Partnerships must include two or more organizations such as, a for-profit business(es), nonprofit(s), and municipal leader(s). Additional partners may be added if the project is invited to the full application process. All partners must demonstrate a meaningful connection to the project and its objectives. Note: We are aware of the time it can take to establish meaningful collaborations and are expecting to assist and discuss potential partnership ideas with applicants.
  • Funding will only be provided to organizations serving those in Essex County and priority will be given to organizations who are based in Essex County
  • Organizations who received prior COVID-19 Response Fund grants are eligible to apply.
  • These grants are designed to be utilized within an 18-month implementation period.
  • Based upon the charitable structure of the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, grants CANNOT be awarded:
    • To individuals
    • For sectarian or religious purposes.  COVID-19 Response Fund grants to faith-based organizations may only be used for non-conditional relief work and available to all qualified applicants without obligation
    • For political purposes
    • For debt or deficit reduction
    • For capital campaigns for buildings, land acquisition, or endowment
    • To support academic research
priorities for proposals

Given the large number of expected applications, the most competitive proposals will include one or more of the following:

  • The application is grounded in data and can clearly outline the ability to impact people in Essex County (whether in one or more communities in Essex County or County-wide)
  • Prioritize seniors, communities of color, youth, immigrants, individuals with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, substance use disorders or other co-occurring conditions and other vulnerable populations.
    • NOTE: this work, while focused on the most vulnerable, has the intention of being able to work with all communities across Essex County not just the six gateway cities. ECCF recognizes the disparities that are very present is some of our rural communities and other “non-gateway” communities
  • Grant funded proposal addresses multiple social determinants of health such as the impact of race and ethnicity and the impacts on the brain due to poverty and trauma
  • The application can leverage additional resources (private, local/state/federal) that can extend these grant dollars.
  • The application can improve behavioral health while advancing economic and workforce solutions.
request amount

Grants in the amounts of $25,000 – $100,000 will be considered and awarded based on needs and size/scope of application outcomes.

application procedures

Proposals must be submitted through ECCF’s Application Portal.

If you do not yet have a login for our application Portal, please read our Grant Application Process page which will give you access to the Portal.

application review and timeline

ECCF, and its funding partners, enlist the help of grant review volunteers that read, evaluate and prioritize applications based on a rubric to help create fairness and transparency during the application review process.  These community volunteers are recruited based on experience in the behavioral health sector and/or their engagement and experience in our Essex County communities.

The application will follow these parameters:

  • Behavioral Health Partnership Grants Open (online application): May 16
  • Info Sessions hosted by ECCF:
  • Tuesday November 30, 2021 (10AM –11AM)Join Zoom MeetingMeetingID: 820 6179 2979
  • Thursday December 9, 2021 (12PM –1PM)Join Zoom MeetingMeetingID: 861 4029 5166
  • Letter of Intent to apply (by nonprofit lead): due by Friday February 11, 2022 at 5:00pm
  • Invitations to apply (given by ECCF to nonprofit lead) (online application): Friday, May 13
  • Applications due (by nonprofit lead). During this time, team members will meet with candidates as applications are being completed: Friday, June 17
  • Grants notified: Wednesday, July 27
additional information and guidance

Carol Lavoie Schuster, Vice President for Grants, Nonprofit and Donor Services

  • Phone: 978-777-8876 x133 or cell (only during business hours M-F 9 am – 5 PM) 617-308-2722
  • Email: c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org (Include subject: Behavioral Health Partnership Grants)



February 11, 2022 at 5PM


Friday, June 17


Wednesday, July 27


$25,000 – $100,000

get in touch

Carol Lavoie Schuster

Carol Lavoie Schuster

Vice President for Grants, Nonprofit & Donor Services
(978) 777-8876 x133

how can we help?

We would love to hear from you.

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Beverly, Massachusetts 01915