DUMONT, N.J. -- A golf outing to raise money for Bergen County's oldest mental health provider is coming at a time when competition for grants and government aid is tighter than ever.
New Jersey is changing how it pays for community mental health services and organizations like Vantage Health System, based in Dumont, could end up looking to individual drives to pay for more services.
"The need for funds with fee-for-service is a continued concerned and changes take effect July 1, 2017," said Vicky Sidrow, president/CEO of Vantage Health System. "It’s [fundraising] has been important over the years but now it’s almost survival and fundraising for mental health is not easy."
Despite the increase in campaigns to remove the stain of mental health problems -- Britain's Prince Harry is on the air talking about his depression -- Sidrow said there is still shame and stigma attached.
"People talk about their chemo but not their depression. There’s a lot of research going on with chemicals in the brain but there’s still a lot of shame — even people who donate don’t want their name on it," Sidrow said.
The golf outing is Vantage Health's biggest drive, raising $40,000 to $50,000, according to Dave Griffith, vice president/COO and chair of the event. He's been running it since it started 18 years ago and the popularity has been steady, he said.
This years event, Vantage's 18th Annual Golf Classic, is Monday, Aug. 8 at White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth.
"Vantage is blessed to have grant and state support however those dollars come with strict regulations with how money can be used," Griffith said. "Fundraisers fill gaps, seed programs and help us grow."
Griffith points to a growth area that fundraising supports: housing. Vantage has facilities in 10 communities and a near-flawless relationship with neighbors.
It was others' generosity, not government funds, that paved the way for a 17-unit supportive housing facility in Closter. "We wanted it to be more of a home setting, not institutional," Griffith said, noting the residents previously were homeless. "Now, they live with the dignity and respect they deserve."
Tickets are on sale for the golf outing and sponsorship opportunities are available. "We welcome people getting involved, donate a gift to the raffles," Griffith said. "Building friends is as important as building fund."
For more information about the golf outing, call call Griffith at 201-567-0500 Ext. 3259.
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