Funding Opportunity: Diverting to Care

Request for Applications from Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH)

This request for applications invites organizations in our service region to apply for funds to plan and develop, or implement a community-based, multisector, collaborative program that aims to minimize the use of law enforcement in situations involving individuals with mental health and substance use disorders.   

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Applications must be received by noon on August 31, 2021.


In Missouri, like other states across the nation, law enforcement has become the default first responder for nearly all social issues from mental health to substance use. This is both ineffective and has cascading negative effects on our communities.

The criminal justice system is ill-equipped to treat behavioral health disorders, and in many cases, incarceration exacerbates them leading to long-term, multigenerational health impacts for individuals, their families, and our communities. But by taking very practical steps, we can fix this. This means dedicating resources to preventive resources and infrastructure that supports diversion.

For this work to be successful, it requires bridging new collaborations across sectors, shifting away from police-led responses, and implementing different approaches. 

MFH has a long history of working at the intersection of criminal justice and behavioral health. This includes addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, reducing recidivism, and efforts aimed at improving local behavioral health crisis response systems.

As a next step in this area, MFH is focusing on diverting people with mental health and substance use disorders from jail through community-based grants in two priority areas: partnership and planning, and strategic implementation. By joining together, MFH hopes to ensure all people have the support they need to lead healthy lives and avoid unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system.