In 2022, the Board of Directors for the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County was not only looking at how to get voter approval for permanent and increased funding, they were looking ahead to what could be possible if the measure was approved. How would they prioritize investing nearly $30 million each year into services that improve child mental health across the county? That’s when the board and the full CSF team developed the three Cs of funding: core, capacity, and collaboration. “We wanted to focus on the things that will be most impactful for local kids,” says CEO Rob Whitten.
Core funding in 10 service areas is how the CSF makes the largest investments into the mental health and emotional well-being of Jackson County kids. It’s the primary means of supporting children. The Fund reviews applications and allocates support to partner organizations for a specified enrollment period. The 10 service areas are:
Home & Community Based Intervention
Individual, Group, & Family Counseling
Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment
Outpatient Substance Use Treatment
Services to Teen Parents
“We asked ourselves how else CSF funding could be meaningful,” says Whitten. “For smaller nonprofits, in particular, it can be challenging to invest in ways that help them grow. After programming and staffing, there’s typically not enough money left to devote to what can make them better and stronger.”
These one-time funding opportunities help raise the tide for all CSF-funded partners. They could:
- Support special projects
- Build intellectual capacity through professional training
- Train staff in the newest interventions and technology
- Allow for strategic planning
- Cover accreditation and certification costs
To date, the CSF has only been able to offer small increments in this category, but additional annual revenue will allow funding to scale significantly — to as much as $3 million annually.
“It’s an opportunity to help our partners get better at what they do,” says Whitten, “so their services are as effective as possible.”
As the saying goes, “We’re better together.” Funding for collaboration among community stakeholders can drive large-scale impact — much bigger than individual organizations working on their own.
“A lot of organizations have interest in collaboration,” says Whitten, “but they’re also in an environment that fosters competition — for referrals, donors, and grant dollars. Our hope is that this funding will make it easier for organizations to increase their impact by working together.”
This funding could include investing in meaningful collaboration among several partners, launching long-term pilot projects, or supporting overarching community initiatives.
It’s been happening organically, where three or four partners each contribute their unique services and programs to create something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts. “It’s an exciting opportunity,” says Whitten. “We can envision big collaborations that build a new way to deliver services, and smaller collaborations that grow over time and evolve to make impacts at the community level, and even at the system level.”
The CSF believes it’s important to not only invest in services for children, but to also invest in the organizations that provide those services. That’s why the three Cs of funding are so important. They’ll make it possible for Jackson County organizations to innovate, grow, and collaborate in ways that invest in children and strengthen the community.