Two local nonprofits among groups sharing $1.3million for opioid recovery and support services 



WOONSOCKET, RI – Two local
nonprofits are receiving grants to bring relief to people struggling with the
challenges of coping with the opioid crisis.


The Rhode Island Foundation, in
partnership with the McKee Administration’s Executive Office of Health and
Human Services, announced that the Community Care Alliance and Thundermist
Health Center are among the organizations that will share $1.3 million in funding.


Community Care Alliance will use its grant to support
individuals and families who are impacted by substance use/opioid use or at
risk of an overdose by providing funding to meet basic needs such as food,
personal hygiene products, clothing and bus passes or other transportation
options, including emergency financial assistance such as car repairs. The
organization expects to serve at least 2,000 eligible individuals and 1,000
households with the funding. 


“Our vision for success is that people will be kept alive
and that they will not succumb to the negative impact we see on individuals
facing the intersection of opioid/polysubstance use and homelessness. Those we
encounter will know that they are cared for because they will receive the basic
comfort items that so many of us take for granted,” said Ben Lessing, president
and CEO.  


“With these funds, we will ensure that the people we serve
will be adequately nourished, dressed appropriately for the weather and will
have access to financial supports that can allow them to connect with
employment, housing, and other resources to improve not only their quality of
life, but their ability to live,” Lessing added. 


Thundermist will use its grant to
provide multiple therapeutic trauma supports focused on emotional and mental
recovery for frontline health care providers serving patients with substance
use disorder in northern Rhode Island. These providers experience high levels
of stress and trauma as their patients recover, relapse or even succumb to


“We will help them connect to
trauma support treatments in a way that is meaningful to them and serves them
as individuals and is the most comfortable for them and best serves their
needs,” said Dr. Cara Zimmerman, medical director for primary care-based substance
use disorder at Thundermist.


Therapeutic supports include
removing barriers to receiving behavioral health care, including eliminating
insurance co-pays, providing bi-annual, trauma-informed team retreats and
expanding attendance at Thundermist’s annual overdose awareness event.


 “These opportunities will
provide an engagement point for these frontline health care workers to connect
to trauma support treatments in a way that is meaningful to them and serves
them as individuals. It will also connect with others who have shared
experience working with this community through trauma-informed therapeutic
group activities to process the greater impact of this epidemic as a member of
the community,” said Zimmerman.


The grants are fully funded with
proceeds from the state’s Opioid Settlement Agreement.


“As we tackle the overdose
crisis, we remain united in our efforts to save and enhance lives,” said
Governor Dan McKee.
We are grateful to the Rhode Island Foundation for their
partnership as we work together to better the lives of those impacted by this


The Foundation received 44
applications for grants. The proposals from CCA and Thundermist are among 20
that received funding.


“People who are living with the
consequences of this tragic epidemic on a daily basis are under tremendous
psychological, financial and emotional stress,” said David N. Cicilline, the
Foundation’s President and CEO. “As the state’s community foundation, we are
pleased to be a partner in ensuring that this crucial funding is put to work
getting Rhode Islanders the help they need to lead healthy lives.”


“Rhode Island’s priorities are to
prevent overdoses, overdose deaths and opioid misuse by identifying, developing
and evaluating multi-level strategies and interventions,” said EOHHS Secretary
Richard Charest. “As such, EOHHS is pleased to partner with the Rhode Island
Foundation to award these grants in three categories: Basic Needs Support,
Family Support and Trauma Support.”


The funding comes from the
settlements secured by Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.


“While no amount of money can
undo the harm caused by opioid manufacturers, distributors, and consultants to
Rhode Islanders and their families, I am thrilled that the funds my Office has
recovered will continue to be put to good use through these local nonprofits,”
said Neronha. “Decades later, opioid addiction continues to wreak havoc on our
state, and I commend these nonprofits for their commitment towards treatment,
prevention, and recovery efforts.”


This is the second round of
grants funded by the proceeds of the settlements. Last year, the Foundation
awarded $3.25 million to 15 nonprofit organizations to address opioid use,
treatment and prevention.


Pursuant to the various
settlement agreements, all the funds are required to be directed to opioid
abatement – including expanding access to opioid use disorder prevention,
intervention, treatment and recovery.


Under state law, the Executive
Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) serves as “the principal agency of
the executive branch of state government” (R.I.G.L. §42-7.2-2) responsible for
managing the departments of: Health (RIDOH); Human Services (DHS); Office of
Healthy Aging (OHA); Office of Veterans Services (VETS); Children, Youth and
Families (DCYF); and Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and
Hospitals (BHDDH). EOHHS is also designated as the single State agency to
administer the Medicaid program in Rhode Island. Last year, these agencies
provided direct services to nearly 306,000 Rhode Islanders as well as an array
of regulatory, protective and health promotion services to our communities.
Health and human services benefits represent $3.1 billion spending per year, or
over 40 percent of the entire state budget.


The Rhode Island Foundation is
the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode
Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities,
often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is
improving the lives of all Rhode Islanders. For more information, visit [] 



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