North Tahoe-Truckee Receives Significant Grant for Behavioral Health Services

In this season of gratitude and giving, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) is happy to share some wonderful news for our community. TTCF has received a significant grant contribution from Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, New York Times best selling author and founder of Elana’s Pantry.

The funding, a total of $160,500 is part of the Katz Amsterdam Foundation’s second annual distribution of behavioral health grants to mountain communities. In North Tahoe-Truckee, the funding will help:

  • build a community data collection process around mental health and well-being;
  • complete a community-wide mental health strategic plan; and
  • align services across Placer and Nevada Counties.

“Rob and Elana’s investment into mental health services in the North-Tahoe Truckee region will help address one of our longest-standing and complex challenges. As a rural region, we lack many fundamental mental health services. We will now be able to provide critical suicide prevention education and access services through Sierra Community House, while also supporting a community-wide behavioral health survey, so we can best understand and work to meet the needs of our residents.”  Alison Schwedner, Director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT), a program of TTCF

While many see this beautiful place as paradise, the truth is that our full-time residents experience higher than normal rates of substance abuse and growing mental health issues. 57% of adults experienced symptoms of depression in the past 30 days when surveyed for the Tahoe Forest Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment in 2018. 34% of 11th graders in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) reported experiencing chronic sadness and hopelessness (California Healthy Kids Survey).

Making mental health more accessible by aligning county health services is extremely helpful for residents of a region like ours- with community members living, working, and attending school across permeable county borders. The sub-grant to Sierra Community House will provide on-going behavioral and mental health services in multiple regional locations.

Prior to the 2019 grant, the Katz Amsterdam Family has given more than $300,000 to North Tahoe-Truckee for mental health programming. This year’s grant is part of a total of more than $2.8 million for mountain communities. Grantmaking is focused on reducing the stigma of mental illness, improving access to mental and behavioral health services, and supporting collaboration within and among mountain communities.

Alison Schwedner also attended a May 2019 convening facilitated by the Katz Amsterdam Foundation for mountain communities. Together, leaders from these communities shared learnings in the areas of: social dynamics; mental health attitudes and knowledge; provider capacity; and affordability and accessibility of care. TTCF has committed alongside our sister-communities to track data as well as collaborate and compare our findings.

The KACT grants are in addition to the annual EpicPromise grants from Vail Resorts, which support more than 350 non-profits across the company’s mountain communities. EpicPromise grants for 2019/20 are being announced by Vail Resorts in December 2019 and January 2020.