Funding Opportunity: Youth Mental and Behavioral Health

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Mental health is an essential component for healthy youth development. When young people have good mental health - and the supports they need to foster healthy relationships and social connections - they are better equipped to thrive in both youth and adulthood. The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the mental health challenges of children and youth in our country, with rates of some mood disorders doubling, severity of mood disorders worsening, and access to mental health services decreasing. But U.S. children and teens have been suffering for far longer. Contributing factors include environmental structural factors, social media usage/online bullying, increased exposure to mass violence, and earlier puberty development. Nationally, North Carolina ranks 24th in youth mental health with youth having higher prevalence of mental health challenges and lower rates of access to care.

We know that children and teens who have access to early intervention and resources are more likely to be able to successfully navigate mental and behavioral health challenges. While much attention is paid to shortages of clinical providers, there are a variety of others who regularly work with or on behalf of youth that can be trained to identify, understand, and respond to the signs/symptoms of distress, trauma, mental health changes, or substance use and provide initial support and connection to resources for youth. This includes trusted adults, guardians, peers, and health or other professionals. Increasing accessibility to the variety of those trained can lead to greater prevention, earlier intervention, connections to treatment and resources, and supporting youth to successfully navigate mental and behavioral health challenges.


Available Funding
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is issuing grants ranging from $75,000 to $500,000 per year for up to three years to expand access to mental and behavioral health services and resources for youth through models that are effective in the short term (1-3 years), and which leverage a trained workforce that goes beyond specialty trained behavioral health care clinical and professional roles. Funding may support, among other things, strengthening organizational capacity or infrastructure, connecting care across settings, increasing access to training opportunities, and/or increasing access to culturally and linguistically relevant resources and materials for youth mental and behavioral health.



Organization Size

  • There are no limitations or minimum requirements with regard to an entities’ operating budget. Organizations of all sizes are eligible to apply.


Organization Type

  • Nonprofit: An organization that is exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a).

- OR-

  • Fiscally sponsored program: A group or project with a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization acting as a fiscal sponsor. Please note that the fiscal sponsor is considered the grantee and is responsible for all legal aspects of the project including reporting and financial management.

- OR-

  • Government entity or public instrumentality: This can include schools, tribal governments, etc.

- OR-

  • Coalitions: Applications involving more than one group or organization are welcome; however, one organization will be the recipient of the grant and must meet any of the criteria above. If a coalition applicant is invited for a finalist conversation, all coalition partners are expected to participate in the interview. Letters of support are not required for application submission. Organizations and coalitions of any size are eligible to apply if the other eligibility criteria have been met.

Please note: Current and past Blue Cross NC Foundation grantees are welcome to apply.



Activity Date(s)
Funding opportunity released and online application form opens May 23, 2024
Applications due By July 9, 2024
Finalist decision notifications By August 14, 2024
Finalist conversations (virtual) Between August 28 and September 11, 2024
Grantees selected and notified By September 30, 2024
Grant start date By November 1, 2024
Grant end date By November 30, 2027


NOTE: Proposals will be reviewed by Foundation staff and external reviewers with related experience. The above timeline anticipates a high number of applications and accounts for the engagement of internal and external reviewers.

Pre-Submission Inquiries
Organizations were invited to submit questions by June 7, 2024. The resulting Q&A is available to download.

Learn More and Apply

  • Download the full funding opportunity.