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Mayor's Fund To Advance New York City And Corporation For National And Community Service Announce $30 Million Partnership To Support Mental Health Services

July 30, 2015

Federal grant will support program to integrate mental health services into community-based organizations

Program will be implemented in collaboration with the Center for Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

NEW YORK— The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Corporation for National and Community Service today announced a $30 million public-private partnership to advance the City’s vision of transforming the delivery of mental health care services. The partnership will support the implementation of the new Connections to Care program in collaboration with the Center for Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which will help integrate mental health services into programs already serving low-income communities.

The Mayor’s Fund, in partnership with CEO and DOHMH, have been awarded a five-year grant of an initial $6 million from the Social Innovation Fund of CNCS, and will be eligible for an additional $4 million in funding for the fourth and fifth years. This grant, to be matched by an additional $20 million from other funding sources – including selected service partners and the Mayor’s Fund – represents the largest public-private partnership engaged by this Administration in the past year and a half. The Chapman Perelman Foundation and Benificus Foundation are early funding partners. This partnership follows the launch of the Mental Health Roadmap effort, led by Mayor’s Fund Chair Chirlane McCray and DOHMH, to envision and implement reforms in mental health care delivery.

“I have talked with concerned New Yorkers in every borough and they have been loud and clear about the intensity of our mental health care crisis. Over and over, people told me how tough it was to travel outside of their communities and how much they would prefer to receive services from those who understand their culture. Trust and familiarity matter a great deal with a sensitive, complicated issue like mental health. The Connections to Care program is a new approach to fixing an old problem. It shows we are listening and so are our friends in Washington,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “With this grant, we can bring mental health services to New Yorkers in places where they already feel comfortable. Thank you to CNCS for giving us the opportunity to put this $30 million public-private partnership to work for New Yorkers.”

“Obtaining necessary mental health services remains a struggle for far too many New Yorkers,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This has been an issue that First Lady Chirlane McCray has been a fierce advocate on for many years, and thanks to this public-private partnership, more low-income New Yorkers than ever will have access to these vital services. I thank the de Blasio Administration for their continued partnership with the City Council on the important issue of mental health services in our city.”

“We are thrilled to award the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City this Social Innovation Fund grant that will ensure more New Yorkers gain access to the mental health services they need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers the Social Innovation Fund. “I am proud that CNCS is supporting this project, which will take an inventive approach to one of today’s most pressing social problems – an accessible mental health system. I extend my congratulations and gratitude to First Lady McCray and the de Blasio Administration, and the private sector partners who have joined them, in making a commitment to help more New Yorkers lead healthier, happier lives.”

“In New York City, we know that working with the private sector is key to finding creative solutions to many of the public’s most challenging and unaddressed problems – and our new $30 million partnership to expand access to mental health care services proves exactly that,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Vice-Chair of the Mayor’s Fund. “Working with our federal counterparts and the private sector, this grant will lead to meaningful change in the lives of New Yorkers, and it is our hope that the results of Connections to Care can serve as a model for the nation.”

“The Connections to Care grant targets populations that have substantial mental health needs, but may not know about the availability of  essential services or how to access them,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Today’s efforts, combined with the forthcoming Mental Health Roadmap, will help the many people who now fall through the cracks gain access to mental health services.”

“Cities are laboratories of innovation,” said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Connections to Care will foster and evaluate new models of delivering mental health services, which has the potential to shape social services citywide. We’re grateful to the Corporation for National and Community Service for supporting this effort.”

Dr. Anna Chapman, of the Chapman Perelman Foundation, said, “The Chapman Perelman Foundation is pleased to support the Social Innovation Fund and join this coalition of extraordinary partners. This important initiative gives us a unique opportunity to leverage our support of quality mental health care for all New Yorkers through the development and implementation of innovative mental health policy.”

“Exploring and evaluating new models to expand mental health services and supports across our city had been a key area of focus for the Mayor’s Fund,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Corporation for National and Community Service as we look to create meaningful change in the lives of countless New Yorkers while also providing valuable information and a learning network for other cities, states and agencies confronting many of these same challenges.”

“New Yorkers in poverty disproportionately lack access to mental health services, and so we are proud to partner with the Mayor’s Fund and DOHMH in this effort to make treatment more equitable throughout the city,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity.  “We are very pleased that the Social Innovation Fund, which, like the Center for Economic Opportunity, is committed to advancing evidence-based policymaking, is recognizing Connections to Care as one of the most promising new approaches in the country.”

“We’ve made important strides in increasing our understanding of mental health issues and developing treatment methods, but the crucial issue is access,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When more than five percent of our population experiences serious psychological distress each month, the greatest challenge is ensuring that the New Yorkers who need it can get help. This public-private partnership is a step in the right direction, and will increase access to mental health services in some of the communities that need it most.”

Representative Nydia M. Velázquez said, “Ensuring access to mental health services can strengthen our communities, assist those in need and potentially save lives. To that end, mental health assistance should be a basic right, just like other health care, and I’m pleased to see these resources deployed toward that goal.”

“Bringing mental health services to under-served and at-risk people who need them – where they are – seems like a no-brainer, but in fact this is a new model,” said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Health. “Congratulations to First Lady Chirlane McCray for working on this important initiative and getting the funding to get the Connections to Care program started.  I hope it will be expanded to serve an even wider population.”

Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick said, “Access to comprehensive metal health services has long been lacking. This partnership is a great step towards increasing culturally competent mental health providers, as well as increasing access points for mental health services for our most needed communities. I hope that with continued advancement of programs like these, we can reduce the stigma associated with mental health services and ensure that all people are able to receive the help they deserve. I applaud the work of New York City’s own First Lady, Chirlane McCray, Mayor de Blasio, and the Mayor’s Fund for continuing to raise awareness about this significant issue.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates that each month 340,000 adult New Yorkers – or 5.3 percent of the population – experience serious psychological distress, with higher prevalence among low income individuals, the uninsured, and those receiving public insurance. In 2013, about 23 percent of New Yorkers with serious psychological distress reported a time in the prior year when they needed mental health treatment but did not receive it.

With this new $30 million partnership, the City will launch the Connections to Care program to specifically target these low-income and at-risk populations that struggle with unmet mental health needs. Connections to Care aims to expand access by integrating evidence-based mental health services into other programs that are already providing services to communities in need. Research suggests that many evidence-based interventions for common mental health conditions can be performed by non-mental health workers. Connections to Care will give staff with access to at-risk populations the training to provide this support, including screenings for common mental health and substance use disorders, motivational interviewing, mental health first aid, and psycho-education.

The partnership will fund a study to better understand the impact of the Connection to Care program on those who will receive services. It will also track the experience of the service provider organizations in order to promote real-time information sharing and best practices, and assess the sustainability of the program.

As part of this new initiative, the Mayor's Fund will competitively select service providers to implement Connections to Care. A Request for Proposals will be released in the fall.

To learn more about the Connections to Care initiative, contact the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City at or by calling 212-788-7794.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, chaired by First Lady Chirlane McCray, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to promoting partnerships between the City and the private sector in support of high-impact public programs. The Mayor’s Fund is focused on serving as a vehicle for the generous business and philanthropic communities to contribute to City programs and enhance the lives of New Yorkers in areas ranging from mental health, to youth workforce development to immigration and citizenship. To learn more about the Mayor’s Fund, visit

About the Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity works to reduce poverty and advance evidence-based policy in New York City through research, program design, monitoring and evaluation. Part of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, CEO manages a dedicated annual Innovation Fund and works collaboratively with City agencies and other partners to create, implement, and oversee a range of anti-poverty programs, policies, and research projects. CEO’s in-house evaluation team works with nationally recognized, independent evaluation firms and City agencies to rigorously measure program impacts and provide objective evidence to inform decisions of whether to replicate, eliminate, or scale up programs. CEO oversaw implementation and evaluation of New York City’s 2010 SIF grant.

About the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

The mission of DOHMH is to protect and promote the health of all New Yorkers. DOHMH has the overall responsibility for the health of the residents of New York City. It also acts as an oversight agency to monitor various healthcare related operations within NYC.


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