Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder Initiative

Infrastructure and Organizational Capacity
Request for Proposals


The mission of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation (the Foundation) is to improve the health and quality of life in the community through education, research and service consistent with our osteopathic heritage. The Foundation advances this mission through strategic partnerships, multi-year funding commitments, funding collaborations and significant investments in central Ohio and nationally, as it relates to osteopathic medical education and research. In addition, the Foundation pursues opportunities to advance innovative solutions demonstrating long-term impact for vulnerable populations, measurable outcomes and sustainability. Since 1998, the Foundation has approved $230 million in funding awards to improve the health and quality of life in the community.


In its recent report, Franklin County HealthMap 2019, the Central Ohio Hospital Council identified mental health and substance use disorders as top priority health needs in the county. The report found that nearly 22 percent of adults in Franklin County have been diagnosed with depression and the rate of suicide deaths is higher than the Healthy People 2020 goal, set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2018, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office reported 522 people in the county died of drug-related overdoses, with more than 90 percent of these deaths due to opiates. Further, the growing need for emergency psychiatric and addiction services locally has become urgent, straining hospital emergency departments and community behavioral health service providers.

Given the significant impact of these issues in Franklin County, the Foundation engaged in focused learning regarding behavioral health and substance use disorders over the past year. By participating in community conversations, analyzing research and county-level data, undertaking an assessment with community providers and hosting dialogues with state and county leaders, the Foundation sought to better understand strategies, solutions and resource needs to further address behavioral health and substance use disorder issues in the community.

Based on the findings from these efforts, the Foundation has developed a multi-year, Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder Initiative (the Initiative), with an initial focus on the following objective:

To strengthen the behavioral health and substance use disorder infrastructure and organizational capacity of community behavioral health providers in Franklin County, so more vulnerable individuals experience enhanced stability and quality of life.

Strategies to advance Initiative objectives will be implemented in phases, commencing with issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP), as described below, to address infrastructure and organizational capacity among community behavioral health providers.

Purpose and Availability of Funds

In partnership with the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus, the Foundation convened behavioral health leaders in Franklin County to identify priority issues within their agencies, and more broadly, the community’s behavioral health system. Through this process, technology, infrastructure (capital and equipment) and workforce development needs were identified as significant opportunities to strengthen the behavioral health system of care.

Related to technology, community providers noted many agencies lack robust information technology capabilities, which prohibits or delays staff from making timely, data-informed decisions and improvements. Further, funding sources for technology enhancements and implementation are limited, and a gap in information sharing across platforms exists, impacting the continuum of care in the community.

Further, infrastructure (capital and equipment) needs have grown significantly as the demand for behavioral health and substance use disorder services have increased. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported the total number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid in Ohio increased by over 600,000 people, as a result of Medicaid expansion within the state. Of those individuals continuously enrolled, 10 percent were diagnosed with substance use disorders and nearly 25 percent suffered from depression and anxiety disorders, according to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

Finally, community behavioral health providers also noted challenges with workforce development, including increased competition for trained clinicians, social workers and other staff positions supporting the provision of behavioral health services. Additional challenges related to workforce issues include decreased continuity of care and/or longer wait times for patients to receive care due to high rates of staff turnover, which exacerbates an already competitive environment for properly trained clinical and/or administrative behavioral health staff.

In response to these expressed needs by community behavioral health providers, the Foundation is issuing a RFP with the goal of strengthening the behavioral health and substance use disorder continuum of care. Through the RFP, the Foundation will support projects related to infrastructure and organizational capacity, including the following priorities to measurably enhance client outcomes, increase operational capacity and improve employee retention, productivity and engagement:

  1. Technology enhancements, and/or
  2. Infrastructure, including capital projects and equipment, and
  3. Organizational capacity, including workforce initiatives.

Successful proposals will demonstrate results that are sustainable after the investment period and one or more of the following outcomes:

  1. Increased number of people receiving services
  2. Enhanced quality of care to increase client stability and quality of life
  3. Improved service coordination and/or process efficiencies
  4. Leveraged resources or new partnerships
  5. Reduced costs and/or increased revenue

To address technology and infrastructure needs within the behavioral health system, the Foundation will allocate up to $3.55 million to support individual agencies and those working in collaboration to advance the Initiative. The Foundation seeks to support efforts that will have a significant, positive impact in the lives of clients and families served through community behavioral health services, and on the system of care as a whole. Furthermore, the Foundation is interested in understanding organizational plans to strategically and proactively address technology and infrastructure needs to enhance systems, processes and client outcomes.

To address organizational capacity needs, specifically workforce development, the Foundation will engage Mental Health America of Franklin County (MHAFC) to facilitate its Occumetrics workplace wellbeing assessment process with organizations receiving funding from the Foundation through this phase of the Initiative. Occumetrics is designed to improve employee productivity, engagement and retention rates, utilizing a science-based assessment through an in-depth employee survey, follow-up focus groups and data analysis to identify the unique factors contributing to each organization’s workforce concerns. Occumetrics then makes recommendations for improvements to foster an engaged and productive workforce.  Foundation support for workforce development initiatives will include the engagement of MHAFC, agency participation in the Occumetrics program and implementation of select recommended changes, which are prioritized for action over a 12-18 month period following the assessment.

Eligible Applicants

To be considered for a funding award through the RFP, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a 501(c)3 tax exempt entity as defined by the Internal Revenue Service or an instrumentality of the state
  2. Submit a proposal serving Franklin County residents
  3. Reflect alignment with the purpose of the Initiative and mission of the Foundation
  4. Demonstrate additional funds are committed to project costs
  5. Willingness to participate in the Occumetrics program, including an initial assessment, implementation plan and post-plan assessment (costs to participate supported by the Foundation)
  6. Willingness to convene with other organizations supported through the RFP, at the Foundation's invitation

Note: Collaborative proposals (agencies jointly seeking funds) should identify a lead agency to serve as the project administrator, primary contact and fiscal organization.

Application and Review Process

Applications will be available through the Foundation’s online grantmaking system beginning July 25, 2019.
Completed applications must be submitted by 12:00 p.m. on September 4, 2019.

To apply, first review the Foundation’s Applicant Instructions for Online Grantmaking at:

To initiate a new application, please use the following link:

Once saved, you can return to your application through the Foundation’s grantmaking portal You may wish to bookmark this link.

In order to complete application submission, you will be required to attach the following:

  1. Project Budget Form (instructions and template contained within the application)
  2. Budget Narrative Form (instructions and template contained within the application)
  3. Organization Operating Budget Form (instructions and template contained within the application)
  4. Audited financials and Form 990
  5. IRS Letter of Determination or Governmental Information Letter
  6.  Form W9, signed in the current year
  7. Board of Directors list
  8. Letter of commitment signed by the board chairperson
  9. Letters of support: required if a collaborative funding request is submitted, otherwise optional
  10. Current strategic plan, if available

Foundation staff will review each submitted application for completeness and accuracy, requesting clarification or revision, if necessary, from the applicant organization. Site visits may be scheduled with applicant organizations as part of the review process.

Funding award notifications will be made in December 2019. Organizations funded through the Initiative will be required to document and report outcomes as detailed in a funding agreement.

Questions can be addressed to Erin Prescott, Program Administrator, at or (614) 737-4367.

RFP Briefing 

The Foundation will host an informational meeting for organizations interested in submitting an application through the Initiative. The briefing will be held August 12, 2019 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at the Columbus Medical Association (1390 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215) and will include an introduction to the Foundation, overview of the Initiative and guidance on using the online application system. Attendance is not required, but encouraged. Please register to attend here. Your registration confirmation will include information on how to attend the workshop remotely, if you are unable to attend in person. 


July 25, 2019
Application forms available online 

August 12, 2019
RFP Briefing at 3:00 p.m.

September 4, 2019
Applications due by 12:00 p.m.

September-October, 2019
Foundation review and site visits

December 2019
Anticipated funding award notifications