Categorized | Volunteering

Drug coalition federal grant at risk

Youth participants Hoku Pagan, Viviana Mehau, Matt Horne, Makanani Akau and Alissa Mullin, at a recent presentation for North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition. Pagan and Akau (and Kynan Kawai, not shown) attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s Mid-Year Conference in Nashville this summer and brought back action plans for use in their communities. (Photo courtesy of North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition)

MEDIA RELEASE

North Hawaii will lose $125,000 in federal funds unless $30,000 needed for matching operational funding can be secured by the end of the month, according to North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition (NHDFC), a project of Five Mountains Hawaii.

This 10th and final year grant is scheduled to begin Sept. 30.

NHDFC was recently notified that Five Mountains Hawaii was not able to secure sufficient funds needed to continue operations through the entire grant cycle, required by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“It would be such a shame to have it all come to an end — especially for our youth,” said Coalition member Holly Algood of North Kohala. “The money is used for many things, including capacity-building, which this island really needs. For example, when the Coalition sponsors North Hawaii youth to attend national training, they learn to identify key issues and develop strategic, targeted plans to address those issues in their own communities. They come home with a plan of action.”

“With $30,000 in community support by the end of September, we’ll be able to accept the award for more than four times that amount in federal funds,” said Five Mountains Executive Director Robin Mullin. “Of the $187,500 of matching funds required, we are able to secure the majority from in-kind donations and volunteer activities and provide partial operational cash, but we are currently $30,000 short even after revising the budget.”

Prior to 2003, four task forces in North Kohala, Waikoloa, Waimea and Hamakua were working hard on grass roots efforts to address the impact of Crystal Methamphetamine (ICE) in their communities.

In 2003, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded NHDFC $125,000 per year for ten years through its Drug Free Communities Continuation Grant program.

With federal funding, the four core groups joined forces and became North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition in order to increase capacity — which has proved very successful.

“In the past nine years, we have sponsored over $1 million of SAMHSA funding into the drug free coalition initiative in North Hawaii and always raised needed matching funds, but unfortunately that is just not the case this year,” Mullin said. “And even though NHDFC was awarded the year ten grant, we may lose this $125,000 for its final year unless we move quickly.”

Without community support this month, NHDFC will have to decline SAMHSA’s 10th year grant – losing a primary funding vehicle for drug and alcohol-free preventive messaging in the North Hawaii communities.

Affiliate/partner programs include:

* Arc of Kona

* Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC)

* Children’s Research Triangle

* Hamakua Youth Foundation Inc.

* Ka Hana Noeau

* Lokahi Treatment Centers

* Lifeplan Institute Hawaii

* Mama’s House Thrift Store

* Roots Advocates for Youth

* Waikoloa Skate Park

“We have secured in-kind support as required by the grant,” Mullin said. “And we have reached out to numerous community stakeholders and our political leader for support and any assistance possible and have received a couple of small pledges already. But with only two weeks until the end of the grant year, we felt it was important to give the community a chance to step forward and help us continue our work.”

Those who wish to help may make a pledge for a tax-deductible donation by Sept. 29 and if the $30,000 goal is met, pledged funding will be requested by Oct. 30.

Find a pledge form template at: fivemountains.org/

Forms can be mailed to: Five Mountains Hawaii, P.O. Box 437200, Kamuela, Hawaii 96743 or dropped off at the Five Mountains office at the Carter Professional Building (across from Waimea Elementary School), 65-1230 Mamalahoa Highway, #D20a.

For further information, contact Mullin at 887-1284 or Deanna Kackley at 887-0756, dkackley@fivemountains.org.

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