Stronger Together:

Building a More Equitable Behavioral Health System

seeks to resolve behavioral health inequities across the region’s system of care through increased systems alignment, enhanced system quality, and the expansion of access to early intervention and prevention, treatment, support, recovery, and crisis assessment and care.

This opportunity is intended to fund community health centers, community-based organizations (CBOs), education agencies, faith-based organizations, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) serving Cook County.

Over $44 million will be awarded to successful applicants who have the commitment and ability to implement one or more strategies listed in the Menu of Options below within a 26/27-month period, September 2024 – November 30, 2026.

This Open Call is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) package and established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program. The SLFRF program provides support to State, territorial, local, and Tribal governments responding to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19.

Open Call At-a-Glance

Please review all the information below. The Cook County Health Office of Behavioral Health’s Impact Fund and community initiatives are committed to building resilient communities that can adapt, recover, and thrive in the midst of life’s challenges through innovative and integrated solutions that bridge gaps in prevention, treatment, and support for mental health and substance use.

Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, April 17, 2024, no later than 5 PM CT.

Important Information

Proposed projects must take place and impact communities within Cook County. In general, the following are eligible to receive funding as part of this Open Call.

  • Community-based organizations (CBOs), defined as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that have demonstrated service delivery to specific populations and/or community areas
  • 社区卫生中心, including free clinics, FQHC “lookalikes,” Independent Practice Associations (IPAs), mental health centers, and opioid treatment programs (OTPs)
  • Faith-Based Organizations- defined as an organization whose values are based on faith and beliefs, which has a mission based on social values of the particular faith, including Churches, synagogues, temples, monasteries, mosques, and other houses of worship
  • Education agencies, including Regional Offices of Education, K-12 public school districts, K-12 public and private schools, and higher education institutions
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)- federally funded nonprofit health centers or clinics that serve medically underserved areas and populations

It is important to note that eligibility differs by each strategy identified on the Menu of Options.

Award recipients must have the organizational, fiscal, and contracting capacity to conduct the work described in this Open Call and have the accounting and administrative controls necessary to effectively manage a grant. Requirements include financial stability, fiscal solvency, ability to provide separate reporting for use of funds, and staff to oversee the scope of work and comply with the agreement.

    The Menu of Options are described in the 附件文件 and include who is eligible, and an estimated funding amount and number of awards for each strategy.

    Eligible applicants may apply for more than one strategy but will only be eligible to be awarded as a primary grantee on one strategy.

    Information Session

    The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health conducted virtual Information Sessions on March 8 and 13. Both sessions presented the same information.

    Frequently Asked Questions and Information Deck

    Optional Capacity Building Workshops

    The Office of Behavioral Health partner, Guidehouse, will conduct optional virtual capacity-building workshops covering grant application (March 20 and March 22), program design (March 27 and March 29), and monitoring, reporting & legal agreements (April 3 and April 5).

    The schedule to upcoming sessions, as well as links to the slides and video of completed sessions are below.

    Proposal Requirements and Review Process

    The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health intends to award funding to eligible applicants to support activities described in this Open Call. Completed proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, April 17, 2024, no later than 5 PM CT. Proposals submitted beyond this deadline will not be considered.

    A complete proposal comprises of:

    Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

    To submit the application, visit our grants submission page.  After completing the Application and uploading the application form, work plan, 和 budget and budget narrative, applicants will receive a confirmatory email from acknowledging submission of the Application Form. Please note that the application is not complete until all required application components and documents are also completed and submitted.

    General Instructions

    1. Access Stronger Together application materials.
    2. Download and complete the required application attachments using templates available in Appendix A, Appendix B, 和 Appendix C.
    3. Once complete, click 这里 and submit your application and the appendixes.
    4. Once the application is submitted, you will receive an email acknowledging submission from
    5. The completed application and required application documents must be submitted by Wednesday, April 17, 2024, no later than 5 pm CT.

      There are five sections in the application form and 2 required additional attachments (1. work plan, and 2. budget and budget narrative) Each is very important. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

      Section I: Applicant Criteria (5 Points Total)

      • Organization contact information (CEO/Executive Director and Program Director/Manager)
      • Organization type
      • Organization description
      • Previous funding from Cook County Health
      • Previous funding from another government entity
      • Organization equity focus
      Section II: Organizational Capacity and Key Application Priorities (55 Points Total)
      • Description of organizational strengths, experience, and partnerships
      • Organization’s fiscal and contracting capacity
      • Rationale for funding proposal including description of community need and benefit using data and published literature
      • Identification of selected strategies by funding source as part of the Menu of Options
      • Populations and communities to be reached

      Section III: Work Plan (25 Points Total)

      • Submit work plan(s) by strategy. If applying for funding for more than 1 strategy included in the Menu of Options provide a work plan for each under a separate application. Templates available in Appendix B.

      Section IV: Budget (15 Points Total)

      • Submit budgets(s) by strategy. If applying for funding for more than 1 strategy included in the Menu of Options provide a budget for each Preparation Guidelines and Budget Worksheets available in Appendix C.

      Section V: Priority Communities Reached (3 Points Total)

      • Select communities your proposal will prioritize and reach and the percent time effort your proposed project will spend in those communities.

      Proposals should speak to the following questions and issues, as each proposal will be evaluated in the context of the larger goals of the Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health.

      • How the proposed activities address equity issues within your broader community
      • The assets and degree of need of the communities and populations identified in the proposal supported by data and published literature.
      • The reach of the strategy and related activities (e.g., total number of people reached).
      • How your proposal builds upon or utilizes existing and new partnerships and utilizes direct community involvement/input.
      • The degree to which the proposal is tailored to meet the unique needs of the community.
      • The ability of your organization and its partners to start your activities rapidly and complete your work within the grant period.

      Review Process & Application Selection Criteria


      The review process will consist of the following steps:

      The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health will screen proposals for eligibility, completeness, and technical requirements.

      The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health panels will review proposals, score them based on quality, and recommend full, partial or no funding. Proposals will be reviewed for consistency with prevailing public sector and relevant professional body ethics and conflict of interest codes of practice. Reviewers with potential conflicts of interest will not participate in scoring or selecting the affected proposals.

      The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health committee will recommend a set of proposals for funding. The selection will be based on scoring, as well as achieving an effective and integrated mix of strategies, geographic distribution across Cook County, and inclusion of priority communities and populations disproportionately affected by racial and health inequities.

      The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health will notify each applicant of the decision about its proposal. The Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health may determine that the recommended proposals for funding do not fully address the goals of the Stronger Together: Building a More Equitable Behavioral Health System in Cook County Initiative and may try to fill any gaps by requesting changes to be submitted.

      Cook County Health will authorize the agreements to award recipients.

      Selection Criteria Information

      Award Information

      Benefits to Award Recipients

      Award recipients may be awarded funding between $500,000 – $1,000,000 over a 26/27-month period between September 2024 – November 30, 2026 (unless otherwise stated) to advance proposed strategies. Over $44 million is available.

      During the Grant Period

      • Technical Assistance
      Award recipients will have the opportunity to receive tailored technical assistance (TA) from the Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health staff who can help plan and implement strategies.

      • Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Data
      Award recipients will be tracking and submitting monthly information on their respective activities and outputs. This data can be used in real-time for quality improvement, to broaden and deepen impact, and to showcase success stories to garner more support and resources.

      Beyond the Grant Period

      • Increased organizational capacity to sustain or expand community health

      • New partnerships to collaborate on future projects and funding

      • An ongoing, bi-directional relationship with the Office of Behavioral Health at Cook County Health.

      Overall, the goal of this funding opportunity is to continue to resolve behavioral health inequities across the region’s system of care through increased systems alignment, enhanced system quality, and the expansion of access to early intervention and prevention, treatment, support, recovery, and crisis assessment and care.

      Total Funding and Award Amounts

      Over $44 million is available for community agreements. Eligible organizations can apply for funding between $500,000 and $1,000,000 over a 26/27-month period. 

      If selected, the agreement will be made at an amount that aligns with the scope of work and reach. Each organization may receive an advancement of 25% to 50% of the approved fiscal year budget upon execution of the agreement and establishment of a P.O, and approval from the Cook County Government. The advancement and determination, as well as the exact amount will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

      Size of Funding Amount

      Funding amounts will vary based on several factors including, but not limited to:

      • Demonstrated need in the defined project area
      • Scope of work, including the number of priority populations or communities reached, resources being offered, partners involved and related activities to implement the programs or services
      • Total number of people impacted by the work
      Use of Funds

      In general, budgets must reflect the scope of work proposed and justified. Funding must be used to implement strategies identified in the Menu of Options. Funding may be used for:

      • Salary & Wages: Include staff time supporting program This may include percent time of existing staff or salaries of new staff.
      • Fringe Benefits: Include costs of leave, employee insurance, pensions, unemployment benefit plans, etc. Should be based on actual costs or an established formula.
      • Consultant Costs: Include costs related to hiring an individual who will give professional advice or services (e.g., training, expert consultant, ) for a fee. This individual is not and cannot be an employee of the organization.
      • Equipment: Include costs of any item of property that has a per unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and has an expected service life of more than one year.
      • 补给品: Include costs for supplies that support program activities (e.g., computers, printers, computer software and applications, educational materials, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and general office supplies).
      • Local Travel: Include costs for local travel during project period if this is applicable to your respective strategy. Travel mileage reimbursement rate is $.625 per mile.
      • 其他: Include costs associated with your activities not covered in other categories (i.e., stipends and incentives).
      • Contractual Costs: Include costs for: 1) work performed by an independent contractor requiring specialized knowledge, experience, expertise, or similar capabilities. 2) purchase of a product or service to be procured by contract and an estimate of cost.
      • Indirect costs: May not exceed 10% of applicant’s federally-approved indirect cost rate, if applicable.
      Guidelines and budget worksheets for each funding source are available in Appendix C to support budget preparation. A budget will need to be developed for each funding source in which strategies are selected.


      Funding Restrictions

      Funds may not be used as matching funds for any other grant program, or for:

      • Political or religious purposes
      • Contributions or donations
      • Fundraising or legislative lobbying expenses
      • Conference registration fees
      • Payment of bad or non-program related debts, fines, or penalties
      • Contribution to a contingency fund or provision for unforeseen events
      • Food or beverages, including alcoholic beverages
      • Membership fees, interest or financial payments, or other fines or penalties
      • Purpose or improvement of land or purchase, improvement, or construction of a building
      • Expenditures that may create conflict of interest or the perception of impropriety
      • Exhibit fees of any kind
      • Airfare
      • Out of state travel costs
      • Bonus pay
      • Cash assistance
      • 研究
      • Reimbursement for pre-award costs

      Use of funds for prohibited purposes may result in loss of community contract and/or place the community contractor at risk for recouping those funds used for the prohibited purposes.


      You may ask questions via email to from the time that the Open Call is released until Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12 PM CT. Questions and responses will be added to a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

      Questions received by: Updated FAQ posted by:
      Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 12 PM CT
      Friday, March 15, 2024, 5 PM CT
      Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 12 PM CT
      Friday, March 22, 2024, 5 PM CT
      Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 12 PM CT
      Friday, March 29, 2024, 5 PM CT
      Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 12 PM CT
      Friday, April 5, 2024, 5 PM CT
      Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12 PM CT
      Friday, April 12, 2024, 5 PM CT