HFNJ’s $1,559,659 Fourth Quarter Giving Shows Youth Mental Health Focus

December 14, 2023

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ) is pleased to announce that it has awarded $1,559,659 to thirteen New Jersey nonprofit organizations in its fourth quarter grant cycle of 2023.

The total includes renewal funding for six projects that had previously been awarded grants from HFNJ, and first-time funding for seven new projects. In the fourth quarter there was a particular focus on strengthening youth mental health services. This brings the total commitment across HFNJ’s four quarterly grant cycles of 2023 to address mental health in the greater Newark community to $3,079,270.

The largest grant of the fourth quarter is a $300,000 award to the Northwest Essex Community Healthcare Network to help the organization begin offering substance abuse treatment for teens and young adults. This grant will fund the hiring of a community health worker and two licensed clinicians (LCSWs or LPCs) who will provide counseling and collaborative care to young people under age 25 with substance abuse and mental health disorders. As part of the project, the organization will partner with two local public schools to provide students with substance abuse treatment, education, and referrals to other treatment facilities when appropriate.

Main St. Counseling in West Orange will receive $250,000 to add six mental health clinicians to see upwards of 250 new low-income and non-English speaking patients. The new clinicians will be seeing patients both at Main St.’s offices and within Newark Public Schools, where last year the organization served young people at 18 different schools across the city.

Another organization offering counseling within Newark Public Schools is Youth Development Clinic of Newark (YDC), which will receive a $93,361 grant from HFNJ this cycle. YDC offers group and individual counseling to at-risk students, and mental health psychoeducation to parents and teachers through regular teacher consultations and workshops.

A $25,000 grant to Best Buddies will allow this international organization to open new Best Buddies Friendship/Inclusion programs in two public schools in Newark, as well as expand the work of existing programs in two schools in West Orange. Best Buddies pairs individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities with neuro-typical peers to build friendships and improve social skills.

“Schools have become increasingly important nexuses for the delivery of quality healthcare services – especially those focusing on improving one’s mental health,” said Michael Schmidt, Executive Director and CEO of The Healthcare Foundation of NJ. “As schools and students continue to feel the lingering effects of the pandemic including learning loss, isolation, and strained mental health, it is more important than ever to equip our schools with the resources they need to spot the warning signs of distress and provide care to students in crisis. We are proud to be a leader in our community in addressing creative solutions to support our youth.”

In addition to the grants focused on mental health, other projects awarded this quarter will help create a new mutual aid grocery store in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Newark; fund an expansion of a living facility for adults with developmental disabilities; sponsor multi-media programming by Caucus Educational Corporation to raise public awareness on behavioral health topics; and help Newark’s Ironbound Community Corporation build organizational capacity to strengthen the work of this key neighborhood-based institution.

The full list of the grants awarded in the fourth quarter of 2023 is as follows:

NW Essex Community Healthcare Network

Vulnerable Youth, Young Adults and Their Families: Increased Support for Coordinated/Integrated Behavioral Healthcare


Main St. Counseling

Meeting Community Demand (Year 2)


Clinton Hill Community Action

Phase III: Cross Walk From Mutual Aid Grocery Store to Fresh Food Co-op (Year 3)


Our House Foundation

Healthcare Capacity Expansion for Adults with Developmental Disabilities


Planned Parenthood of Metro NJ

Abortion Patient Navigation Prog. (Year 2)


Ironbound Community Corporation

Development Capacity Building


Caucus Educational Corporation

Mental Health and Behavioral Health (Year 2)


Habitat for Humanity

Newark: West and Central Community Resource Hub



School-Based Mental Health for Underserved Schools (Year 2)


Integrity House

Integrity House Creative Arts Initiative



Umatter @ Lifetown (Year 3)


Casa For Children Of Essex County

Trauma-Informed Advocacy for Youth in Foster Care


Best Buddies

Best Buddies in NJ School Friendship/Inclusion Program