Get Involved

Become a Thought Partner

Partner with us to produce thought leadership that moves the needle on behavioral healthcare.

Other options to get invovled

Thank you!

We received your information and will be in contact soon!

More Think Work

Get Involved

Engage Us as Consultants

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.

Other options to get invovled

Thank you!

We reiceived your information and will be in contact soon!

More Think Work

Get Involved

Seeking Support

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

Other options to get invovled

Grantmaking

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

Policy Meets Practice

We support local grassroots organizations that are working to advance recommendations outlined in the Think Bigger Do Good Policy Series.

Community Fund for Wellness

Our participatory grantmaking alters the traditional process of philanthropic giving by empowering service providers and community-based organizations to define the strategy around a specific issue area or population.

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.

Get Involved

Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Consultant

Add some text here

Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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

Samantha Matlin, PhD
Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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
President

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

Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
Graduate Student

Add some text here

Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Consultant

Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Consultant

Add some text here

The Stigma Free Zones of New Jersey

Bergen County Division of Mental Health Services

The Stigma Free Zones of New Jersey Logo

Program Website
Year:
2017
State:
New Jersey
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Awareness
Target Population:
Community
Setting:
Community

Program Description

A Stigma Free Zone (SFZ) is an educational initiative widely adopted in Bergen County, NJ. Any group (municipality, school) can join. Just create a task force pledging to “Do something about mental Illness”. The group picks the project. Started by NAMI Hudson, it flourished after Mary Ann Uzzi involved Paramus, NJ officials. Her mayor put up road signs, they held events and recruited others, including the County Executive. The signs caught attention. Car magnets bearing a lime green logo went on every police car. SFZ town groups held Roundtables and marched in parades. The NJ Division of Mental Health created a downloadable SFZ Toolkit with resources. Schools joined. A dance troupe represented the SFZ at Disney World. Participants won awards for fighting stigma. Churches, colleges and rotaries joined. We sponsor CIT and Mental Health First Aid training for police. We have a newsletter. Assemblyman Tim Eustace wrote NJ AR236, asking every state municipality to adopt the SFZ. The movement spread to other counties, and 47 of 70 Bergen municipalities, plus uncounted groups are now SFZ. This grassroots movement is project-based, flexible, easy to implement. It shows no signs of slowing. Bergen County is proud to be a Stigma Free Zone!

Creativity

The motto of the Stigma Free Zone (SFZ) is “Anyone can educate about mental health”. This breeds originality and taps the ingenuity and resourcefulness of volunteers who create task forces and pledge to “Do something about mental illness”. No restrictions! Every SFZ has different ideas and aim to address stigma where they work, learn or live. For example,the faith community who joined SFZ produced an Interfaith Roundtable of 100 temples, mosques, churches, and organizations who wanted to learn and do more for this cause. The outcome usually becomes a ripple effect. Truly grassroots. Municipal SFZ groups tend to focus on educating legislators,law enforcement and health providers. The school groups draw on their internal resources; counselors, nurses and social workers to create age-appropriate mental health education. Kids love us ! The SFZ recognizes that people still need permission to talk about mental illness. We give people this permission by involving them.

Leadership

The Stigma Free Zone was designed to be emulated. “Anyone can educate about mental health” is a pretty approachable idea. With no rules, it grows because people do it on their terms. NJ Assembly Resolution AR236 provides detailed instruction on how and why to establish a SFZ: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/AR/236_I1.HTM Bergen County Division of Mental Health Services designed a logo and created a free downloadable Toolkit on their website inviting anyone to use it and join. SFZ leadership created this specifically to share easy ideas for groups to replicate. Other counties/towns have already used the Toolkit: http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/index.aspx?NID=1242 We also hold a yearly county-wide symposium. The SFZ News of NJ newsletter by the Demarest SFZ Ambassador is read state-wide. She created a Constant Contact database of 1200+ ( health departments, legislators, volunteers, organizations, first responders, librarians, etc) emailing stories about different SFZs and links to state mental health/addiction news to spread awareness.

Sustainability

The Stigma Free Zone (SFZ) is a grassroots educational initiative, has wide volunteer and bipartisan political support. We decided not to establish a 501c3 organization. We have existed in some form since 2011 and are growing. We don’t fundraise and pay no salaries. We can and do accept donations. Donations are held in trust by a Paramus,NJ mental health provider under the auspice of our largest SFZ; The Paramus SFZ. Bergen County government donated $10,000 in 2016. CarePlus NJ provides us a free website. Rotaries, churches and colleges have held fundraisers for us. Bergen Regional Medical Center provides our printing, gratis. All SFZ events are sponsored by individual SFZ groups and volunteers. These independent groups operate locally and fund their own events. Individual groups buy their own road signs, tee shirts, and desired promotional items. Our only expenses are for our newsletter and any mental health training we support.

Replicability

The Stigma Free Zone was designed to be emulated. “Anyone can educate about mental health” is an approachable idea. With no rules, it grows because people contribute on their terms. NJ Assembly Resolution AR236 provides detailed instruction on how and why to establish a SFZ: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/AR/236_I1.HTM Bergen County Division of Mental Health Services designed a logo and created a free downloadable Toolkit on their website inviting anyone to use it and join. SFZ leadership created this specifically to share ideas for groups to replicate. Other NJ counties/towns have used the Toolkit: http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/index.aspx?NID=1242 The SFZ News of NJ newsletter is read state-wide. It’s in a Constant Contact database of 1200+ ( NJ health departments, legislators, volunteers, organizations, first responders, librarians, etc.). It contains stories about different SFZs and links to state mental health/addiction news to spread program awareness. Our social media invites others to replicate us: Twitter @cynchazen, various Facebook pages.

Results/Outcomes

Being Grassroots, outcomes are difficult to track and count. Every SFZ created produces at least 1 event that educates the general public about mental illness. Many SFZ now produce more annually in participation with health departments and health officials. Known SFZ groups: 47 Bergen towns have become Stigma Free Zones, plus 3 other NJ Counties. The exact number of NJ SFZ municipalities grows every month. Estimate 60+ state-wide. Other SFZ are supported by health departments, politicians, social service departments, rotaries, school districts, libraries, firefighters, law firms, businesses, churches and citizen volunteers. Our email database has 1251 (and growing) contacts; businesses, faith and mental health organizations, police departments,as well as individual volunteers, in addition to the above-named groups. SFZ have held 2 Annual County-Wide Symposiums to date. We have sponsored at least 15 Mental Health First Aid and CIT Crisis Intervention Team Trainings. We estimate 3000+ volunteers and 50 yearly events.