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RUSD receives $40,000 to support school-based mental health programming

The Journal Times - 5/2/2022

May 2—RACINE — The Racine Unified School District received a $40,000 challenge grant from the Wisconsin Education Association Member Benefits Foundation to support school-based mental health programming, the district announced this week.

This is an unrestricted, trust-based grant that is part of a statewide pilot project to establish a funding path for philanthropic organizations that want to support school-based mental health programs in communities throughout Wisconsin.

RUSD is one of only four districts across the state chosen for this "trust-based philanthropy" project. The district plans to use the grant to help strengthen its mental health services by increasing access to the district's school-based mental health clinics. The money from the grant can facilitate this by offsetting the costs for families with high-deductible insurance plans.

The district currently has seven school-based mental health clinics and a community clinic at the Community Pathways Campus thanks to several partnerships with local organizations, mainly the Racine Collaborative for Children's Mental Health. The goal is to expand the clinics to more schools.

Studies have shown that about 20% of all K-12 students face serious mental health challenges that affect their academic success. A 2019 study also found that students who receive mental health support in their school tend to achieve better outcomes than those who receive support solely from non-school resources.

"One of the reasons we selected the Racine Unified School District for this pilot is that they already use this approach in their student mental health programming, so we know they'll make good use of the grant," stated Steve Goldberg, Executive Director of the WEA Member Benefits Foundation, in the release.

"We are excited to participate in this pilot project and to receive this funding," stated RUSD Student Services Executive Director Andrea Rittgers. "It will help us serve even more students and families. Since this is a challenge grant, we are challenged to try to double the funds. We invite any local businesses and organizations that are interested in supporting school-based mental health programs to step forward and partner with us!"


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