The Block Island Times

NAMI-Block Island explores fundraising and grant-writing

By Gloria S. Redlich | Jan 30, 2014

With its telemedicine program going into its second full year, NAMI-Block Island, formerly the Mental Health Task Force, assessed the group’s financial status after a recent fundraising drive, which to date has brought in close to $9,000.

Chair Stephen Hollaway reported at the task force’s Jan. 15 meeting that donations received by mail totaled $2,735 and that Michael Brownstein’s family foundation had contributed $6,000. Hollaway noted, however, that the costs of the two mailings had totaled $1,068.87.

He explained that he had written a grant proposal to the Endowment Committee of the Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, Conn. Noting it was too late to be considered for 2014, Hollaway said he’d been encouraged by his contact who assured him that both the “Endowment Committee chair and the pastor …are looking at it [the grant] favorably.”

The request is for $2,500 and Hollaway expected to “hear something by the end of February.”

Exploring other grant avenues, he planned to meet on Jan. 23 with Stephen Rasmussen and Robert Boland, physicians in charge of the Brown University/Butler Hospital collaboration in the telemedicine program with the island. They will discuss potential grant sources (such as the Rhode Island Foundation).

Treasurer Patrick Tengwall said he’d been investigating eligibility for grants from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services), but had no success to date. Hollaway advised Tengwall to contact Chaz Gross, director of NAMI-RI, for some advice on how to proceed.

Coordinator’s report

Tracy Fredericks, coordinator of the telemedicine program, offered an update on services being provided. She said, “We have a few new clients, with people calling in every week.” Some people are making use of the telemedicine hook-up and others are doing direct counselling with a counselor who comes over on alternate weeks from South Shore Mental Health Center. She felt the program was moving along well.

Fredericks explained that South Shore was being absorbed into Gateway Healthcare, which has begun collaborations with small centers, including a group in Providence.

She also described a class she’s been taking for six hours each Thursday throughout the year during which she reviews different topics, including those concerning co-dependency, new mental health legislation, changes in the latest diagnostic manual and how to help clients navigate applications for Social Security Insurance, and other governmental forms. The class is sponsored by South Shore Mental Health Center.

The board discussed the issue of confidentiality with Fredericks, who said she’d made it a priority in working with clients. She noted that she continues to assure her clients that every effort is made to respect and ensure their privacy.

Elspeth Crawford underscored the notion of “respect,” pointing out it was the fundamental element in assuring confidentiality to patients.

Over the past several months, the task force has been developing its bylaws, a copy of which Hollaway distributed for the board’s perusal. After chipping away at some of the language, the group voted to approve the document and submit it to NAMI-RI.

The next meeting is set for Feb. 5.

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