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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024

Fund Gifts Largest Grant in Its History

NONPROFITS: Century-old Organization Shares $1M With SD Center for Children

Two of San Diego’s most venerable nonprofits that focus on helping the region’s most vulnerable population – children, especially those from underserved communities – are partnering in a major way.

Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund recently awarded $1 million to San Diego Center for Children to provide needed care for youths struggling with mental and behavioral health needs.

The award is the largest major grant given by Rest Haven, an organization which started in 1909 as a convalescent facility dedicated to helping children with tuberculosis. While it was initially founded to help with children suffering from TB, Rest Haven in 1953 expanded and established an endowment fund to help San Diego County children with health problems where no other sources of funding, public or private, were available; it was later expanded to include children in Imperial County.

The funding is also the largest private grant ever received by San Diego Center for Children, San Diego County’s oldest children-based nonprofit, which was founded in 1887.

Moisés Barón
President & CEO
San Diego Center for Children

“The need for timely access to mental health care has never been greater,” said Moisés Barón, president and CEO of SDCC. “These funds will allow us not only to expand the scope of our current services, but to also develop much needed new intensive clinical services to meet the need of the community.”

“Our board was resoundingly in favor of supporting a local nonprofit that we believed would help bring mental and behavioral health services to so many underserved children in San Diego,” said Chris Bryant Nelissen, chair of the board of directors for Rest Haven. “Several deserving organizations applied for this grant, making it a difficult decision on our part. Ultimately, however, we believed this partnership with SDCC would significantly improve the state of access to services for our area’s most at-risk youth.”

Barón said an already challenging pediatric mental health crisis was magnified by the pandemic. He said that current data indicates that more than 25% of all youths may experience singularly or any combination of mental, emotional or behavioral disorders.

Additionally, Barón said, there has been a significant increase in the severity of symptoms and conditions being experienced by young people.

“The number of psychiatric emergencies seen at Rady’s Children’s Hospital emergency department has increased by more than 1,800% in the last 10 years, and suicide is now the second leading cause of death in children and youth across the nation,” he said. “Early identification and intervention, coupled with access to the appropriate level of care, are key to effectively respond to the mental health needs of youth in our community.”

Barón said the funding would primarily be used as part of the SDCC’s strategically planned continuum of care.

New Program First of its Kind in the Region

The care includes the creation at the SDCC’s main campus of a new mental health access program that is not in existence today in the county, he said.

Barón said the new program will allow families to access timely consultations and screenings to identify their child’s needs, receive recommendations about the appropriate level of care, access to the SDCC’s continuum of services and links to community-based services. Families will have access to services online, by phone or in-person, regardless of ability to pay.

It also includes increasing access to outpatient services by adding two clinicians at SDCC’s Family Wellness Center. The clinicians will  provide a full range of mental health services in person as well as online.

Barón also said a priority for the Rest Haven funding also includes the development of a “Partial Hospitalization Program” – the first integrated PHP in San Diego County to serve MediCal-funded youth and foster youth who otherwise would not have access to that level of care, as well as serve youths with commercial insurance plans.

Chris Bryant Nelissen
Board Chair
Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund

Nelissen said that SDCC provided Rest Haven with the most comprehensive and best proposal to address the crucial needs for mental health services for children and families, with a dedicated plan seeing it play out well into the future.

“They serve a broad population and will be able to significantly increase the number of youth that will be served because of our grant and depth of services,” she said. “One hundred percent of our contribution will be used for direct services – and they have a comprehensive plan for sustainability.”

Rest Haven began its grant selection process more than one year ago when its board of directors saw that access to mental health care services was in a state of crisis. They wanted to be at the forefront of providing funding to address the issue, Nelissen said.

Nelissen said Rest Haven was compelled to support the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association about the challenges in addressing children’s mental health needs.

San Diego Center for Children

HEADQUARTERS: San Diego County main campus Linda Vista and seven other facilities
BUSINESS: Nonprofit
REVENUE: $24M (2022)
WEBSITE: centerforchildren.org
CONTACT: 858-277-9550
SOCIAL IMPACT: San Diego Center for Children touches the lives of about 1,000 individuals each day.
NOTABLE: SDCFC has developed the most comprehensive continuum of services in the county.

Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund

BUSINESS:  Nonprofit
WEBSITE: resthavenchf.org
CONTACT:  858-576-0590
SOCIAL IMPACT:  Rest Haven provides funds for health-related services for individual children in San Diego and Imperial counties when no other funds are available; funding is also provided to agencies and organizations serving at-risk children that share the group’s mission and vision.
NOTABLE:  Rest Haven works directly with social workers in the field to address immediate needs of underserved children.


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