May 25, 2021

Oneida County Mental Health Department Launches Innovation & Improvement Fund

News Photo

$600,000 will be Awarded to Local Groups

The Oneida County Department of Mental Health has launched its 2021 Innovation and Improvement Fund, which will distribute $600,000 in awards to community organizations for innovative and improvement-oriented projects.

“As we embark on this final week of Mental Health Awareness Month, I am pleased to announce the availability of this much-needed funding,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “The pandemic has caused tremendous strain on the overall mental health of our community. It has impacted our friends, families and loved ones and caused staffing shortages within many of our local clinics, hampering their ability to meet the skyrocketing demand for mental health services. I believe this fund will make a positive impact and provide organizations with an opportunity to be creative and collaborative and to work towards a full recovery.”

The Oneida County Innovation and Improvement Fund was established to support projects that:

  • Address needs in the areas of Mental Health, Substance Use and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disability.
  • Improve the system of behavioral healthcare for patients with Medicaid and/or no insurance.
  • Foster cross-sector collaboration between the behavioral health care sector and CBOs and non-traditional partnerships such as the corrections/judicial and school systems.
  • Decrease unnecessary hospital utilization by Medicaid/uninsured patients.
  • Address local priorities, service gaps, needs and outcomes identified in the Oneida County Department of Mental Health’s Local Services Plan.
  • Address social and behavioral determinants of health and community health needs.
  • Increase primary and preventive service utilization by Medicaid/uninsured patients.
  • Promote collaboration and practices that align with the Oneida County Department of Mental Health’s mission, vision and values.

There is no cap on the amount of funds that eligible organizations can request, nor a set limit on the number of proposals they can submit. However, there will be a maximum limit of two successful awards per eligible organization and a preferred maximum proposed amount of $200,000 per proposal.

All proposals will be reviewed and scored by a Technical Review Committee in accordance with the process laid out in the RFP, which can be found here. The County encourages applicants to submit collaborative/joint proposals, as well as proposals for lesser amounts ($5,000, $20,000, etc.), and invites proposals from minority groups.

The County is also encouraging that organizations submit for one of two types of projects. The first type is for Innovative Projects, which are projects that may not have extensive data or research to demonstrate efficacy due to their novelty, yet serve to fill a gap or need that exists within the community. The second type is for Improvement Projects, which are projects that may not be considered innovative, but have data or research to demonstrate their proven efficacy, and serve to fill a gap or need that exists within the community. Proposals can also be a mixture of the two.

“We’ve made the eligibility criteria for this fund as broad and as far-reaching as possible,” said Oneida County Department of Mental Health Commissioner Ashlee Thompson. “Any organization or entity that operates services within Oneida County and serves Oneida County residents—whether it’s a school, a mental health clinic, a cultural organization, or even a small business—is eligible to apply.”

Prospective applicants are required to first submit Letters of Intent, subject to the conditions contained within the formal RFP, to the Oneida County Department of Mental Health no later than 5 p.m. on July 2, 2021. Upon its review of these Letters of Intent, the County will decide whether to invite organizations to submit full proposals for award consideration and selection. Full proposals will be due in mid-September.

A virtual kick-off webinar will also take place on June 10, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to provide organizations and the public with more information about this funding opportunity. Staff from the county Department of Mental Health will provide an overview of the 2021 Innovation & Improvement Fund, review important deadlines, and answer any questions that prospective applicants have. You can register for this webinar here.

Please direct any questions related to this fund to Ashlee Thompson, Commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Mental Health, at or (315) 768-3660.

Oneida County Partners