Press Release: Gov. Evers, DVA Announce Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grant Recipients

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers, DVA Announce Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grant Recipients
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Secretary James Bond, announced today that nine nonprofit organizations are receiving Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grant funding to promote positive mental health through activities, programs, and services that enhance the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of Wisconsin veterans.

“From mental health and substance use disorders to challenges with housing and employment, we know that veterans often face unique hurdles when they return to civilian life,” said Gov. Evers. “It’s our duty to ensure that after their time of service, our veterans return to a state that values them and provides them with the support they need to thrive. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done so far to invest in mental and behavioral health services for our veterans, and I’m grateful to our partners at DVA who do great work every day to support these heroes and their families.”

The Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Organization Grants are part of Gov. Evers’ $10 million investment in veterans services, which was funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and based on recommendations released by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity. In 2022, Gov. Evers signed an executive order creating the Commission to develop new, innovative initiatives to support the more than 300,000 veterans who live in Wisconsin. Based on the Commission’s recommendations, Gov. Evers announced a $10 million investment, funded through ARPA, in veteran services across the state. These services included investments to support veterans mental health initiatives, new rental assistance program for homeless veterans, and additional resources for DVA’s Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP), veteran services offices, and more.

Last September, Gov. Evers and DVA Secretary Bond announced nearly $650,000 in Veteran Mental Health Community-Based Grants to 16 nonprofit organizations. Gov. Evers also announced two additional veteran mental health grants for mental health providers to serve veterans with crisis or emergency mental health needs and for licensed providers to administer mental health services to veterans. In November, DVA announced $474,407 in grants to seven organizations for the first round of the two grant programs to directly subsidize mental healthcare for Wisconsin veterans.

Gov. Evers’ 2023-25 executive budget built upon the investments recommended by the Commission, providing ongoing state support for these critical initiatives. While a majority of these provisions were removed by Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislaturethe final 2023-25 budget signed by Gov. Evers still increased funding by 25 percent for county veterans service offices and Tribal veterans service offices and provided $2.5 million annually to support the state’s veterans homes, as needed, to ensure these vital facilities can retain staff, address building and operational needs, and provide top-quality care to veterans.

“I’m thrilled that WDVA is able to partner with this diverse group of nonprofits dedicated to serving veterans in their communities,” said DVA Secretary Bond. “These organizations provide a holistic and thoughtful approach to veteran mental health. I am especially pleased that this round includes groups that specifically work with underserved communities. I’m grateful to Gov. Evers for this direct investment in Wisconsin veterans.”

The nine grant recipients and their planned projects, totaling $600,000, are:

Shield of Sisters received $100,000 to fund a six-step “restoration” workshop that empowers women veterans who have experienced sexual trauma in the military.

MKE Urban Stables received $21,000 to fund an equine-assisted therapy program for veterans in Milwaukee.

Next 18 received a $75,000 grant to expand their four-day camp model to provide the tools and techniques necessary for veterans to improve their mental and physical health by alleviating the symptoms associated with moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

BEAMING Inc. Equine-Assisted Services in Neenah received a $76,337 grant for mental health and therapy services through equine-assisted therapy programs. In addition, the funds will be used to help build bunkhouses for veterans and their families to stay in while attending services.

Hmong American Center received a $100,000 grant to provide mental health programs to underserved Southeast Asian Wisconsin veterans by working with collaborative healthcare providers.

Veterans Equine Alliance received a $43,000 grant to provide various individual and small group experiences through a non-riding equine therapy program.

War Memorial Center received a $50,000 grant to provide programs and services to veterans and their families that focus on reducing veteran suicides and family support.

Coulee Recovery Center received a $57,655 grant to provide holistic mental health services. The center will partner with the La Crosse Area Family YMCA’s Wellness Warriors and other veteran and first responder support agencies across Wisconsin.

Dogs2DogTags received a $77,008 grant to train and place service dogs with veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress or anxiety. There is no cost for veterans to receive a dog.
An online version of this release is available here.