Innovative Project Examples

Click here to download a pdf of the Key Application Requirements.

Click below to download blank pdf of Innovation Grants Application

Click here to read the MHSA definitions of "Serious Emotional Disturbance" and "Serious Mental Illness".

MHSA IconMental Health Services Act (MHSA)
Innovation (INN) Funding

MHSA INN funding is intended to provide the mental health system with an opportunity to learn from innovative approaches. Funding is provided for an 18 month period, with the expectation that a grant recipient will submit a report of findings before the end of that period. The INN funding is not designed to support existing or ongoing programs or services, but to provide our system with innovative demonstration projects that will support system change and improve client/consumer outcomes.

starInnovation Grants Round Three

For this third round, BHCS Leadership identified two target populations with specific needs:

In 2011, in anticipation of potential MHSA Innovation Grants Program funding, BHCS commissioned two consulting projects, to conduct a demographic analysis and provide a summary of the significant behavioral health care needs for these target populations. The purpose of these projects was to provide BHCS with an analysis of the specific needs of each target population, which would inform the development of learning questions for potential inquiry funded by Innovation grants; to recommend outreach and engagement strategies; and to provide other pertinent information regarding the target population.

questionKey Elements of Innovation Grants Learning Questions

With this third round of INN funding, BHCS formulated learning questions. INN Grantees will develop a project to address the learning question(s). The intent of this process is to address system problems, improve the quality of care to that population and produce more positive client/consumer outcomes.

Each desired outcome is designed to produce tangible organizational assets — a program design, set of strategies or training curriculum –— that BHCS can use to change our system and respond to the needs of Isolated Adults and Older Adults living with serious mental illness and LGBTQI2S clients/consumers.

Field testing is required in some learning questions. Field testing is defined as testing a technique or product under conditions of actual operations or use. Field testing will ensure that the outcomes and assets for specific learning questions have been tested and vetted by those who will use them. Field testing may include focus groups, facilitated discussions, curriculum review or other similar activities involving the stakeholders identified in the learning questions.

Priority will be given to proposals that reflect integration and partnership among applicants. Consumer and family organizations; LGBTQI2S providers and organizations; community and faith-based organizations; provider and professional organizations; educational and cultural institutions; County departments and individual content experts are encouraged to partner with local community-based agencies to submit a grant proposal.

Programs, practices and/or approaches that are related to the learning questions and have been implemented in other states may be used as a reference for a proposal. However, BHCS Innovation proposals must identify the out of state program, practice and/or proposal and describe how it will be adapted for use in Alameda County. All proposals must incorporate the principles of ‘innovation’ as set forth in the BHCS MHSA Innovation Grants Program.

requirementsApplication Documentation Requirements

For funding consideration, all grant applications must meet the following criteria and submit the following items by April 30, 2013, the Innovation Grants Round Three application due date:

  • Grant applications will be accepted only from legally incorporated entities. Both non-profit organizations (501(c)3) and for-profit organizations are encouraged to apply. No grants will be made to individuals or informal affiliations or consortia.
  • Each application must include a copy of either:
    • For Non-Profit Organizations:
      • 501(c)3 Articles of Incorporation letter and
      • Current year Board of Directors roster, including the officers and their contact information.
    • For For-Profit Corporations/ Partnerships:
      • Federal Tax ID number / Employee Identification Number
      • If Applicable - Current year Board of Directors roster, including the officers and their contact information.
  • Each proposal must address all domains of a specific learning question and include the following:
    • Primary Applicant (organization) and the person that will serve as contact for the grant
    • Planned methodologies and strategies to produce the desired outcomes and to conduct field testing, where required, with the stakeholders BHCS has identified in the learning question.
    • List and description of any organizations, agencies and/or individuals that are participating in the grant proposal
    • Project timeline that includes proposed start and completion dates and identifies quarterly outcomes
    • A detailed budget itemizing the resources required for each activity, including personnel costs for management of the project
  • If an applicant plans to use a proprietary practice in a new and innovative way in their grant proposal, it is the applicant’s responsibility to receive both permission from the owner/developer/copyright holder and their agreement that the product produced by this grant will be available in the public domain. This information must be included in the grant application.

requirementsBudget Requirements

Proposals require a detailed budget itemizing the resources required for each activity, including personnel costs for management of the project. All personnel costs must be directly related to the proposed Innovations project and any administrative personnel costs, such as Executive or Program Directors, must be proportionate to their role on the project.

BHCS allows a maximum of 15% Administrative Overhead and applicants must identify the costs that have been included.

Innovations funds are not available for any costs not directly related to the proposed project’s activities, including:

  • Expenses related to replacing or supplementing existing programs or services, including personnel, space and facilities, and/or information technology
  • Out-of-state or out-of-area consultants
  • Out-of-state or out-of-area travel for project participants

questionIsolated Adult and Older Adult Consumers

Total Funding Available: $2 million

Introduction

In 2011, in anticipation of potential MHSA Innovations grant funding, Alameda County Department of Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) commissioned a demographic analysis and summary of the significant behavioral health care needs of a target population defined for this report as "adults and older adults with serious mental illness, who are isolated and withdrawn, living with families or in board and care homes or hotels, and their families. These individuals are not actively engaged with family, friends and/or social activities and may or may not be receiving mental health treatment."

The purpose of the project was to provide BHCS with an analysis of the needs of the target population to inform the development of learning questions for potential inquiry funded by MHSA Innovations grants; to recommend outreach and engagement strategies; and to provide other pertinent information regarding the target population.

The resulting report, Findings & Recommendations for Adults and Older Adults Living with Serious Mental Illness – March 2012, includes:

  • a demographic profile of the target population;
  • a brief literature review on the population and community and evidence-based practices to address the population’s behavioral health needs;
  • ten focus groups, including groups with adults, older adults and family members, and including one in every supervisorial district and five targeting underserved ethnic and language populations and inappropriately-served populations; and
  • individual interviews for more in-depth information addressing the specific needs of the target population.

Isolated Adult and Older Adult Consumers Learning Questions

Based on the report, BHCS has identified five ‘Learning Questions’ for further investigation:

1. Can the use of trained peers or family members of consumers for home-based outreach to socially isolated adults and older adults with serious mental illness reduce their isolation through relationship building?

2. Can in-reach efforts that connect residents of board and care homes, single room occupancy (SRO) hotels and unlicensed boarding houses to social and recreational opportunities in and outside of the facility reduce social isolation and improve quality of life for isolated adults and older adults with serious mental illness?

3. Can volunteer opportunities that are interest- and skill-level appropriate with significant peer or professional coaching decrease social isolation and improve self-esteem and quality of life for isolated adults and older adults with serious mental illness?

4. Can a place-based outreach program by trained peers to public locations in the community, such as parks, coffee shops, and libraries where otherwise isolated persons may go, be effective in reducing social isolation and increasing participation in mental health services among isolated adults and older adults with serious mental illness?

5. Can a telephone- or telephone- and internet-based program that provides social interaction and individual support reduce isolation among adults and older adults with serious mental illness and lead to greater in-person social interaction over time?

Intent

After careful consideration, BHCS has determined that these learning questions all present viable approaches to reducing social isolation for adults and older adults with serious mental illness, as defined above. Thus, it is critical that BHCS make some determinations about whether any approach is more effective than another in achieving reductions in isolation, in what ways, by what measures, and/or for any particular subgroups of isolated adults and older adults.

Funding

BHCS is making $2 million in funding available for Innovation grants targeting Isolated Adults and Older Adults with serious mental illness to solicit proposals from qualified applicants that address one or more of the strategies outlined in the five learning questions.

Applicants may apply up to the maximum grant amount of $200,000 per proposal. The following guidelines describe the maximum allowable funding amounts for specific grant applications. These guidelines enable applicants to target their grant proposals towards age groups and/or subpopulations.

If an applicant responds to one learning question for:

  • Both age groups (adults and older adults), the applicant may request funding up to the maximum allowable of $200,000
  • Only one age group (either adults or older adults), the applicant may request funding up to $100,000
  • Only one subpopulation, i.e. a cultural or ethnic community or another defined subpopulation, which includes:
    • Both age groups (adults and older adults) the applicant may request funding up to $100,000
    • Only one age group (either adults or older adults) the applicant may request funding up to $50,000
  • If applicant responds to more than one learning question, applicant may request up to the maximum allowable of $200,000 following the guidelines above. This includes proposals which target subpopulation groups.

Please email ta@acinnovations.org for any questions on allowable funding amounts.

Desired Outcomes

All qualifying proposals for these learning questions must result in a Program Design that includes the following components and specifically describes how the implementation of the selected strategy(ies) could be used by BHCS.

  • A Program Design that includes selected strategies, staffing needs, resource requirements, facilities, collaborative partners, etc.
  • Effectiveness of the strategy(ies) in achieving goal of reducing isolation, including the measures of effectiveness and data sources to be used.
  • Identification of any subpopulation or cohort of isolated adults and older adults for whom the strategy is most likely to be effective and how that will be determined.

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questionLesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Two Spirit (LGBTQI2S) Clients/ Consumers

Total Funding Available: $750,000

In 2011, in anticipation of potential MHSA Innovation Grant Funding, Alameda County Department of Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) commissioned a demographic analysis and summary of the significant behavioral health care needs of a target population defined as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2S) with serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI) and their families.” The purpose of the project was to provide BHCS with an analysis of the needs of this target population to inform the development of learning questions for potential inquiry funded by MHSA Innovation Grants; to recommend outreach and engagement strategies; and to provide other pertinent information regarding the target population.

The resulting report, Making the Invisible Visible - Findings & Recommendations for LGBTQI2S Mental Health Consumers of Alameda County – March 2012, focuses on LGBTQI2S clients/consumers and makes recommendations reflecting the needs of this population. The report includes:

  • a glossary of terms, as the letters “LGBTQI2S” encompass a range of communities composed of individuals of every sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • a demographic profile of the target population;
  • a brief literature review on the population and community practices to address the population’s behavioral health needs;
  • seven focus groups, which were held in each supervisorial district and included LGBTQI2S clients/consumers, organizations and providers, parents and family members;
  • individual interviews with community-based, behavioral health providers that serve LGBTQI2S clients/consumers, to gather more in-depth information on the specific needs of the target population.

LGBTQI2S Learning Questions

Based on the report, BHCS has identified five ‘Learning Questions’ for further investigation:

1. How should the BHCS Welcoming Toolkit strategies be adapted and implemented to promote more positive experiences for LGBTQI2S clients/consumers of behavioral health services, with due consideration of staff capabilities, training, outreach, facilities, and appropriate measures of LGBTQI2S client/consumer satisfaction?

Click here for the BHCS Welcoming Toolkit

Desired Outcome: Set of LGBTQI2S Welcoming Strategies

Total Grant Funding Available: $35,000


2. What training curriculum will best support age-based, culturally responsive provider capabilities regarding the specific needs and issues of LGBTQI2S clients/consumers?

Curriculum should address providers’ understanding of fundamental LGBTQI2S issues and their impact upon the behavioral health, wellness and resiliency of LGBTQI2S clients/consumers and their families.

Proposed projects must adopt, adapt or develop a new stand-alone, non-proprietary training curriculum that specifically targets one of the age groups listed below.

  • Children (up to age 16)
  • Transition Age Youth (16-24)
  • Adult (25-59)
  • Older Adult (60 +)

Desired Outcome: Age-based Provider Training Curriculum

Total Grant Funding Available: $400,000 ($100,000 per age group)
BHCS would like to consider funding more than one project for each age group.

  • Applicants may submit an application for up to $50,000 per age group.
  • Applicants may address more than one age group in their grant application up to a maximum of $200,000 if all four age groups are included.

3. How would BHCS work more effectively with families who have a LGBTQI2S member with a serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness?

Proposals must include a process for arriving at recommendations supported by evidence-based or best practice findings; collaboration with LGBTQI2S stakeholders and a process for stakeholder involvement with BHCS clients/consumers, family members and providers; and be specific regarding program design, components, resource requirements, and pro forma budget.

Desired Outcome: Program Design

Total Grant Funding Available: $120,000


4. How would an effective program of co-training, collaboration and consultation with LGBTQI2S stakeholders, [i.e., Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (www.pflag.org) and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (www.gsanetwork.org)] measurably improve understanding of the issues related to LGBTQI2S clients/consumers’ health, wellness and resiliency and enhance community support for LGBTQI2S clients/consumers?

Proposals must include: Collaboration with LBGTQI2S stakeholders, data to support findings of effectiveness and a process for stakeholder involvement with BHCS clients/consumers, family members and providers. Proposals must also be accompanied by a written report of collaboration targets, methods, required infrastructure, and resource requirements.

Desired Outcome: Program Design

Total Grant Funding Available: $75,000


5. How would an effective, age-based program of culturally responsive strategies, such as peer and family supports, community connections, or other evidence-based, best practice or community-defined strategies that would decrease social isolation among LGBTQI2S Children, Transition Age Youth, Adult, and Older Adult persons with serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness?

Proposals must specifically target one or more of the age groups below; include collaboration with LGBTQI2S stakeholders; be locally field-tested by BHCS clients/consumers, family members and providers; include data to support findings of effectiveness and be accompanied by a written report of collaboration targets, methods, required infrastructure, and resource requirements.

  • Children (up to age 16)
  • Transition Age Youth (16-24)
  • Adult (25-59)
  • Older Adult (60 +)

Desired Outcome: Program Design

Total Grant Funding Available: $120,000
Applicants must address strategies for all four age groups to apply for the maximum funding available.

Funding

BHCS is making $750,000 in funding available for these grants using MHSA Innovation Funding, to solicit proposals from qualified applicants to address one or more of the strategies outlined in the five learning questions above. More than one application may be submitted for each learning question addressing the needs of LGBTQI2S Clients/ Consumers

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For additional clarification feel free to contact our Technical Assistance at TA@acinnovations.org.

last updated 02/11/2013
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Round Four
Innovation Grant RFP:

Available Now:
Mental Health Technology Pilot Projects RFP
(DUE November 3, 2017)
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