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Need help building capacity within your organization to drive transformational change in behavioral health? Contact us to learn more about our services available on a sliding fee scale.

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Select from one of the funding opportunities below to learn more or apply.

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We fund organizations and projects which disrupt our current behavioral health space and create impact at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.

Participatory Funds

Our participatory funds alter traditional grantmaking by shifting power
to impacted communities to direct resources and make funding decisions.

Special Grant Programs

We build public and private partnerships to administer grant dollars toward targeted programs.

Program Related Investments

We provide funds at below-market interest rates that can be particularly useful to start, grow, or sustain a program, or when results cannot be achieved with grant dollars alone.

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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

Contact Alyson about grantmaking, program related investments, and the paper series.

Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Nicholas Mathews, MSEd
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Senior Learning & Community Impact Consultant

Contact Samantha about program planning and evaluation consulting services.

Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

Contact Caitlin about the Community Fund for Immigrant Wellness, the Annual Innovation Award, and trauma-informed programming.

Joe Pyle, MA

Contact Joe about partnership opportunities, thought leadership, and the Foundation’s property.

Nadia Ward, MEd, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Bridget Talone, MFA
Grants Manager for Learning and Community Impact

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Poetry for Personal Power

Poetry for Personal Power

Poetry for Personal Power Logo

Program Website
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Training and Skill Building
Target Population:
Providers and Caregivers

Program Description

Poetry for Personal Power teaches artists and advocates how to become health care messengers, entrepreneurs, and community health workers. We are building sustainable peer support businesses. 1. We teach simple ideas to artists and advocates. 2. We support their business development and listen to their needs for growth. 3. Then we work with our artists and advocates to keep adding peer support principles or lay person behavioral health interventions into their arts programs. Art IS health care, and we teach artists how to tap into the health care funding stream. Our model is simple and easy to expand, so we are already working statewide in Colorado, Missouri and Kansas. All it takes is smooth coordination of the arts, advocacy, and funding communities. We are a co-op that provides sustainable revenue to people who are already busy in the community providing recovery supports.


Poetry for Personal Power’s main innovation is a training system or co-op that pools artists’ ability to deliver health care interventions: 1. We teach artists how to use outcome reporting systems. 2. We teach documentation patterns to connect with the health care funders. 3. We use text, email, phone calls, meetings, conference calls, Facebook groups, and other skill development techniques. These are all two way communications so listen to what artists need or want to support recovery. Poetry for Personal Power’s business model represents 65 sponsored artists and ex/ patient-advocates. We represent the following communities:: 74% people with a disability or mental health label, 61% African-American, 12% Hispanic, 39% young adults under age 25, 35% LGBT / Queer / Non-binary gender, 19% whose parents have a high school education or less. All of Poetry for Personal Power’s communities need more representation in the recovery movement. Our business system works!


How do we create sustainable business models to support ex/patient advocates? Our answer is self-paced skills development. We work one on one with communities we represent: African-Americans, youth and young adults, and LGBTQ people. Our artist/advocate co-op creates regional earning teams. We support our teams with software, documentation reminders, peer support program coaching, and constant links to funding and entrepreneurial opportunities. Many other businesses or coalitions could follow this model, but few do. In 2016, we had 88 artists active in our program, and 48 earned event funding. Our 20 most active artists averaged over $2,000 each. Our peer supporters build other peer support programs in a way that is simple, repeatable, and spreadable. This is a human to human spread of skills. This is “Health care promotion as a revenue stream.” We are a grant spreading and entrepreneurial co-op for people in the community providing recovery supports.


Poetry for Personal Power is sustainable because we are building entrepreneurial approaches in from the beginning. We are working on multiple novel revenue streams to provide economic support for prevention: 1. We are building capacity to bill Medicaid and insurance companies for peer support. 2. We provide value based funding from the Excellence in Mental Health care act. 3. We are working with on disproportionate minority contact and alternatives to detention in the juvenile justice system reform efforts. 4. We are working with the State Targeted Response grants for the opoid epidemic. We are working on multiple novel revenue streams to provide economic support for prevention. P3 is “mental illness prevention as a cost saving measure.” We are harnessing a powerful community demand for alternatives. We are completely rewriting the economics of peer support and lay interventions. Poetry for Personal Power is a business solution to behavioral health care shortages.


Can Poetry for Personal become a big thing? Of course, because it already IS a big thing. We are active in in 3 states with teams ramping up in 4 more. It only takes a few people in each region to nucleate our process. Our framework supports help build local artist and advocate businesses, who already in place and are eager for the work. We are like Uber for peer specialists. The demand for our structure is huge – and implementation is simple. There are poets, recovery movement advocates, and value based health care funders in every small town and city. We are the first organization to ever receive two SAMHSA grants in the same year for Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale. We’ve already succeeded over and over in new locations. Our system doesn’t just create one business, we have already created 65 mental health peer support businesses.


Healthcare Messaging Event Outcomes: Last year Poetry for Personal Power completed 149 healthcare messaging events, with 3,015 artists sharing stories about overcoming adversity, with 6,049 audience members. Of these events, 125 were Resilience messaging events which showed an aggregate 20% increase in resilience on pre-post tests according to a modifed Connor Resilience Scale. On Resilience subdomains, we measured a 17% improvement in discrimination/prejudice, a 20% increase in meaning and purpose, and 22% increase in social inclusion/community integration. Artist/Advocate Entrepreneurship outcomes: Increased median income from $250 per year to $2500 per year. Artist/advocates showed 10-15% increase in artist marketing tools, and 10-20% increase in business related financial management tools. Our sponsored artist/advocates showed 58% increase in use of documentation at events, and 37% had written or received new grants. Most importantly, 67% of sponsored artists had further developed their OWN business idea.