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Caring for Missourians: Mental Health Initiative
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 22, 2013 - Governor Jay Nixon's budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015 will include $20 million in grants for Missouri's public colleges and universities to educate an additional 1,200 students for careers in high-demand mental health care fields through the Governor's Caring for Missourians: Mental Health initiative.

"From teaching a child with autism how to interact with peers, to working with law enforcement to respond to a parent in mental health crisis, these health professionals will build on the work we've already done to strengthen communities and make sure Missourians have access to the care they need," Gov. Nixon said. "With our economy continuing to pick up steam, this strategic investment will help Missourians with mental and developmental challenges live up to their God-given potential, while creating more high-paying jobs in our communities."

The Governor made his announcement during a visit to the University of Missouri - Kansas City's School of Nursing and Health Studies. Under the Governor's Caring for Missourians: Mental Health proposal, UMKC would receive a $4,156,400 grant to train clinical psychologists, child psychiatrists and advanced nurse practitioners. These funds will help the school hire new faculty, expand programs and purchase cutting-edge equipment to train additional mental health professionals.

The Governor said the initiative would help to address a critical shortage of mental health professionals to provide treatment and support to Missourians with developmental disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse disorders. For example, 104 Missouri counties and most of St. Louis City are designated by the federal government as mental health professional shortage areas. Seventy-two counties of Missouri's 114 counties lack a licensed psychiatrist. And while applied behavior analysis is one of the most effective tools for treating autism spectrum disorders, 90 of Missouri's 114 counties do not have a resident licensed analyst to provide this treatment.

"Here at UMKC, we greatly appreciate Gov. Nixon's strong commitment to higher education and to caring for our most vulnerable citizens," said Leo E. Morton, Chancellor of UMKC. "Thanks to support from Gov. Nixon's administration, UMKC's School of Nursing and Health Studies is now able to offer a master's degree with an emphasis in mental health care to help address the need for diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. This latest proposal would help more of our graduates pursue these life-saving careers while strengthening Missouri's mental health care system."


Special Olympics Missouri Will Build State's First-ever Training Facility
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 22, 2013 - The Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) approved a tax-incentive program that will allow area corporations, funders and individuals to use tax credits toward a Special Olympics Missouri building project that will create the first-ever statewide athletic training campus designed especially for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The $1.75 million in tax credits approved by the MDFB will be purchased by area corporations and/or funders to support the development of Special Olympics Missouri's planned Training for Life Campus, a 44,000 sq. ft. facility set on 11 acres between Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri. Special Olympics Missouri will offer year-round training opportunities, health screenings and athletic competitions there for its nearly 17,000 athletes plus their coaches and volunteers from throughout the state.

"The endorsement and major investment by the State of Missouri for this initiative demonstrates the significant impact Special Olympics Missouri continues to have on Missouri communities," said Mark Musso, President and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri. "These tax credits will allow us to engage the civic and business communities and individuals throughout the state to support our efforts to create a dedicated campus for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, while making a significant economic impact here."

The Training for Life Campus will serve current and future generations of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and will be the largest such facility in scope in the United States. For more than 40 years, Special Olympics Missouri athletes, coaches and volunteers have not had their own place to train, compete and learn through the transformative power of sports.

"We are working diligently to plan the Training for Life Campus for the benefit of our athletes, coaches and volunteers," said Gary Wilbers, Co-Chair of the Training for Life Campus capital campaign. "This vote of confidence from the Missouri Development Finance Board will help us keep the momentum we need to reach our goal of building a transformative place that will impact all of Missouri."

Tax credits awarded by the MDFB will help toward the $12.5 million project. Special Olympics Missouri has earned the highest ratings from charity ratings services such as the Charity Navigator Four-Star rating and BBB A+ Charity Accreditation. The organization was also inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.


Wells Fargo UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program Awards $11.4 Million for Neighborhood Improvement Projects
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 22, 2013 - Wells Fargo has announced that 59 nonprofits were awarded grants totaling $11.4 million from the UrbanLIFTSM Community Grant Program to help strengthen neighborhoods in 25 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

"We look forward to seeing how the projects, funded by the UrbanLIFT community grant program, help create safer and sustainable neighborhoods."

"These grants will help advance community stabilization in cities that were significantly impacted by the housing downturn," said JK Huey, senior vice president of asset management and preservation with Wells Fargo Home Lending Servicing. "We look forward to seeing how the projects, funded by the UrbanLIFT community grant program, help create safer and sustainable neighborhoods."

The UrbanLIFTSM community grant program, funded by Wells Fargo and administered by NeighborWorks America®, is designed to provide support to local nonprofits for neighborhood revitalization projects in 25 MSAs with diverse populations that were impacted by foreclosures.

Grant recipients participated in a competitive application process administered by NeighborWorks America. Awards were determined based on the applicant's capacity and demonstrated experience.

Approximately $458,600 is available for each of the 25 communities. Local, regional and national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations will receive grants to support four types of projects: single-family housing rehabilitation, single-family demolition, neighborhood improvement and housing-related site improvements.

Nonprofits awarded grants in Missouri include:
Kansas City, MO - CHWC, Inc. and Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room, Inc.

St. Louis, MO - Beyond Housing; LCMS National Housing Support Coalition; St. Louis ArtWorks; and Unlimited Play, Inc.


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