In early 2022, United Way brought together mental health experts to collaborate on solutions for youth mental health within our community. Advice and guidance came from local, state, and national experts, as well as those with lived experience. Together, we launched a new initiative, Empowering Minds.
Empowering Minds provides school-based mental health resources to high schools with a goal of developing Mental Health Schools of Distinction. This means building a school’s toolkit to be ready to anticipate and meet students’ mental wellness needs.
By joining Empowering Minds, schools agree to work to implement a comprehensive school mental health system informed by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s School Mental Health Framework. Schools will receive up to $50,000 per year to support the development of the mental health services infrastructure as well as access to highly trained implementation coaches to advise the day-to-day work. On average, it takes schools anywhere from four to six years to implement the system.
- Applicants may represent public, private, choice, or charter high schools.
- Applicants must be a high school in our four-county service region. (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Southern Ozaukee, and Germantown in Washington County.)
- Schools must have an enrollment of 300 students or higher to apply. We will consider opening the application process to smaller high schools in subsequent years.
- Schools must gain district approval prior to award.
- Schools awarded must sign a partnership agreement where the school and district agree to United Way's non-discrimination policy that states the organization does not discriminate based on social or economic class, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and identification, disability, special health care needs, race or religion. Organizations with a religious affiliation must not refuse services to an applicant based on religion or require attendance at religious services as a condition of assistance.
- February 26, 2024 – Letter of Intent submission period opens
- March 12, 2024 – Letter of Intent is due
- March 20, 2024 – Applicants notified whether they have qualified to complete a full application and receive instructions on how to complete and submit the application via email.
- April 10, 2024 – Application is due
- April 11 – April 24, 2024 – Review period, including meeting with applicants as needed
- April 30, 2024 – Empowering Minds schools are identified, pending approval from United Way Board of Directors
- June 10, 2024 – Signed Partnership Agreements from participating schools due
- July 1, 2024 - Empowering Minds Schools notified of award status.
The letter of intent (LOI) will open on February 26, 2024, and a link to access the electronic LOI will be available on this page. Details shared at the information sessions that will assist schools with their LOI will also be made available on this page on February 26, 2024. Successful applicants will be invited to complete a full application. Additional details on the application will be provided at a later date.