Appleton, Wis.– Leaders of the N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, United Way Fox Cities, People of Progression, NEW Hmong Professionals, and Partnership Community Health Center are pleased to announce their collaboration was selected to receive a 3-year, $1 million grant from the Wisconsin Community Safety Fund (WCSF) to aid in reducing violence stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant is funding the DRIVE Health Project, which creates a culturally specific model to improve community wellbeing by addressing unmet mental/emotional needs and suicide risk factors in the Hmong and Black communities, with Community Health Workers, a dedicated peer support phoneline, building equitable pathways into healthcare and mental health literacy/anti-stigma education campaigns.

“We are thrilled to bring this funding into Northeast Wisconsin, to invest in the mental health of our Black and Hmong communities, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Beth Clay, Executive Director of the N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, and author of the collaboration’s grant project proposal.

The Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) recently announced the 10 communities and organizations from across Wisconsin that will receive a total of $10.4 million in grant funding from the WCSF. The WCSF was created to support local, evidence-based activities that enhance the safety and wellbeing of children, youth, and families.

“The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced disparities confirming what we know to be true — that violence is a public health problem. Implementing innovative approaches that foster community safety and prevent violence to others and oneself is possible with the right investment of resources,” said Reggie Moore, director of violence prevention at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “That the Wisconsin Community Safety Fund can provide these much-needed dollars and support will further help to build communities across the state that are healthy and safe for everyone.”

With the goal of increasing community capacity for violence prevention, Gov. Tony Evers allocated a portion of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars received by the state of Wisconsin to fund these grants. State and local governments were encouraged to invest ARPA funds in addressing increased levels of gun violence, suicide, and intimate partner violence since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to creating a platform where the grantees can collaborate to share ideas and best practices, all 10 funded partners will receive support from the Comprehensive Injury Center at MCW to assist with data, evaluation, and training in public health approaches to violence prevention.

Collaborating agency contacts:
N.E.W. Mental Health Connection – Beth Clay, Executive Director –
United Way Fox Cities – Wendy Krieger, Vice President –
People of Progression – Kristen Gondek, Executive Director –
NEW Hmong Professionals – Long Vue, Executive Director –

About N.E.W. Mental Health Connection

The Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection is a nonprofit membership organization that exists to improve the mental health system of care in Northeast Wisconsin. Using a framework of collective impact, The Connection works to bring cross-sector organizations together to focus on a common agenda that results in long-lasting change. For more information, visit

About the Medical College of Wisconsin

With a history dating back to 1893, The Medical College of Wisconsin is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research, and community engagement.  More than 1,400 students are enrolled in MCW’s medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Central Wisconsin in. MCW’s School of Pharmacy opened in 2017. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In the last 10 years, faculty received more than $1.5 billion in external support for research, teaching, training, and related purposes. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, MCW faculty direct or collaborate on more than 3,100 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,600 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 2.8 million patients annually.