United Way Suncoast provides $4k in emergency assistance

Manatee/Sarasota, Fla. (April 15, 2020) – First Step of Sarasota, Inc. is committed to ensuring that our outpatient clients in Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties have access to mental health services. First Step of Sarasota, Inc. is pleased to announce that United Way Suncoast, is providing the nonprofit $4,000 in emergency assistance. The funds are part of more than $1 million of COVID-19 emergency assistance from the United Way Suncoast’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund being distributed to human services agencies across the Suncoast to support housing/shelter, food, childcare, financial stability and mental health services.

“We are deeply grateful to United Way Suncoast Rapid Response Fund for awarding us a grant to fund our telehealth platform. This grant will allow us to provide telemedicine services to our outpatient clients of all ages,” stated First Step of Sarasota, Inc.’s CEO, Gwen MacKenzie. “It is extremely important that we continue to provide crucial mental health and addiction services through individual and group therapy as well as psychiatric services and medication-assisted therapy in a safe manner.”

First Step of Sarasota, Inc. will use the funds to offer outpatient services that are usually treated one-on-one by providing telehealth services for their outpatient clients for a period of 2 months. First Step of Sarasota, Inc. treats the underserved individuals and families that cannot afford insurance, and those that are below the federal poverty guidelines.

“It is our job to raise funds, awareness of need, and mobilize volunteers for the critical services needed during this crisis. United Way Suncoast is proud to partner with First Step of Sarasota, Inc. This funding is immediately being put to work to support individuals and families needing mental health treatment in our community” says Jessica Muroff, CEO United Way Suncoast.

#LiveUnited #UnitedWaySuncoast #UnitedInGoodNews

First Step receives more than $37,000 in Grants

First Step of Sarasota, Inc. received two grants totaling more than $37,000 from the COVID-19 Response Initiative.

“We are deeply grateful to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation COVID-19 Response Initiative for their commitment to addressing our community’s mental health needs by funding laptops for our telehealth services and the deep cleaning of our clinical therapeutic facilities with EPA-certified chemicals that kill the coronavirus,” said Gwen MacKenzie, CEO of First Step of Sarasota.

“We appreciate all that you are doing for our community — especially the most vulnerable among us — during this time of crisis.”

Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation donates $15k

The Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation has contributed $15,000 to First Step of Sarasota, Inc. / Coastal Behavioral Healthcare in order to extend telehealth services for high-risk and under-served populations, three area foundations have contributed funds for laptops and telehealth accounts so that therapists from First Step of Sarasota / Coastal Behavioral Healthcare can continue serving clients in the face of the #coronavirus crisis.

“For more than 15 years, my parents – Lee and Bob Peterson – worked to raise funds for and awareness of mental health causes and issues,” added Jeffrey Peterson, president of the Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation. “In times of crisis, those with mental health and addiction disorders are even more at risk. Through this investment in hardware and access to telehealth platforms, First Step and Coastal Behavioral Healthcare will be able to continue their critical, lifesaving work, even when they can’t serve clients in person.”