Community Foundation extends grant to provide $2.5 million for children’s mental health services

A grant that has provided more than $2 million for mental health services for children in four high-needs Alachua County public schools will be expanded to include all elementary schools effective immediately.

The Community Foundation of North Central Florida (CFNCF) has announced that it is extending its commitment of

$500,000 a year for a minimum of two years to pay for mental health counselors and expanding the school network to include all Alachua County public elementary schools. Based on the results of the next two years, CFNCF may approve up to an additional three years of funding resulting in $2.5 million for mental health services.

For the past four years, the CFNCF’s Mental Wellness Fund has provided more than $2 million in funding for mental health counselors and social workers at Rawlings, Idylwild, Lake Forest and Metcalfe elementary schools.

Barzella Papa, CFNCF’s president and CEO, says the organization recognizes that mental health is the most important aspect of any child’s overall development, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for services will likely increase with school reopening.

“Our goal is to identify those children at a young age and provide the necessary services to help them,” she said.

“We want to be proactive and do all we can for those children to address their mental health issues in a positive way.”

“Students do much better in school when their mental health needs are met,” said Superintendent of Schools Karen Clarke. “We are so grateful for the support of the Foundation, which will help us ensure that we have the resources to address those needs.”

The mission of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida is to promote and sustain philanthropy among the communities of North Central Florida. Established in 1998, the Community Foundation serves as a center for education on philanthropy to help broaden the base of philanthropic giving in North Central Florida. The Foundation provides flexible and cost-effective strategies for donors to benefit their community today and for generations to come by building and preserving endowments, facilitating partnerships among nonprofit organizations and making measurable community improvement through strategic grant making to benefit all areas of interest.

To learn more about The Amazing Give, go here. To follow CFNCF on Facebook, go hereFor more details, visit the CFNCF website.

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