Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Commits Additional $4.25 Million to Improve Children’s Mental Health

Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Commits Additional $4.25 Million to Improve Children’s Mental Health

For Immediate Release: December 18, 2020

Media Contact: DeRondal Bevly

Program Contact: Amy Starin

Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Invests $4.25 Million in Children’s Mental Health Five Communities to Build Mental Health Systems of Care

(Oak Brook, IL) – December 18, 2020Building upon two successful cycles of its Children’s Mental Health Initiatives (CMHI 1.0 and CMHI 2.0), the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) announces a new round of nearly $4.25 million dollars to five organizations throughout the state of Illinois to improve children’s mental health. The Foundation’s latest grantmaking, CMHI 3.0, comes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact communities throughout Illinois. Implementing children’s mental health systems of care can provide an effective framework to assist communities in responding to the mental health issues associated with and exacerbated by the pandemic.

ILCHF received 15 strong applications for CMHI 2.0 but could only fund five in 2018. Given the strength of the next 10 applications, ILCHF began strategizing about ways to fund additional communities. CMHI 3.0 is unique in that the 10 communities invited to apply were declined funding for CMHI 2.0 and yet continued to work collaboratively to improve the mental health of their children. ILCHF staff continued to communicate with these communities, ultimately inviting them to apply for CMHI 3.0.

“It took an enormous amount of effort to bring key stakeholders together to plan, prepare and submit the CMHI 2.0 systems of care applications. While ILCHF could only fund five sites for CMHI 2.0, we were inspired by both the work the next 10 communities had started in order to apply for CMHI 2.0, and, more importantly, how that application process had served as a catalyst for continued work in these communities,” said Heather Higgins Alderman, ILCHF’s President. “While CMHI 3.0 had been in the works prior to the pandemic, once COVID-19 struck, funding these communities became even more important,” Alderman continued.

“Children’s mental health systems of care effectively decrease stigma, decrease, or eliminate silos between child serving systems by improving the level of systems integration, identify mental health concerns earlier and connect children and families to needed services,” adds Amy Starin, the Foundation’s Senior Program Officer for Mental Health. “The applications submitted by the previously unfunded 2.0 applicant communities, and our continuing relationship with them, are valuable assets to create lasting change. Together, they represent a foundation upon which a fairly complex initiative can be brought to life relatively quickly and without a significant burden upon the applicant organizations,” advises Starin.

“We are committed to this work of improving children’s mental health for the long haul. Every child serving system from schools to park districts to primary care are identifying mental health problems as a priority need for the children they serve, as well as for the professionals tasked with their care,” Alderman added. “These are in essence shovel-ready projects that have the potential over the four-year life of these projects to not only reach thousands of children, but to permanently change how the funded communities approach children’s mental health.”

Grantee organizations, with area(s) serviced in ():

Bridgeway, Inc. – Youth Empowerment Services (YES) System of Care – $850,000 (Knox, Warren & Henderson counties)

Chestnut Health Systems Inc. – St Clair County Systems of Care Coordination Project – $850,000 (St Clair County)

Methodist Medical Center of Illinois-UnityPoint Health – Greater Peoria Youth Mental Health Initiative – $842,206 – (Peoria, Tazewell & Woodford counties)

Rosecrance Inc. – Coming Together for Healthy Children-Building a Youth Mental Health System of Care – $850,000 (Winnebago & Boone counties)

Rush University Medical Center – BRIDGES (Building Resilience-Integrating Data-Generationally Effective Systems) – $850,000 (Chicago’s West Side)

The CMHI 3.0 evaluation is being conducted by Dr. Tamara Fuller at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, School of Social Work, Children & Family Research Center. An ILCHF grantee, Dr. Fuller is also conducting the CMHI 2.0 evaluation.


About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) has a single vision: Every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee partners across the state, the Foundation focuses its grant making on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need. ILCHF is the only statewide private foundation focused solely on improving the health of all children in the State of Illinois. ILCHF was created in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan and an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established the Foundation’s endowment. From 2002 into 2020, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation has awarded nearly $100 million in grants that has been invested in programs aimed at improving children’s overall health in Illinois, with a focus on oral health and mental health. For more information, go to

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