Facing Addiction recently received an incredibly rare distinction from arguably the most sought after open grant competition in philanthropic history: Scoring in the Top 200 of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change international competition for a “$100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem.”
We are enormously grateful to the MacArthur Foundation and to the individuals and organizations of our nationwide, collaboration team – with special thanks to our many friends and colleagues in Austin, Texas, who contributed mightily to this effort. Working with experts in prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery, we developed a comprehensive strategic proposal.
While our’s was not the final winning selection—that would have made for a much more celebratory blog post (!)—we are pleased and proud, as you should be too.
Why? Because, like us, you have great interest in ending America’s addiction crisis. You may have lost a child to an overdose, as I did. Maybe you’re in recovery from addiction. Or perhaps you’re an ally who understands that, by turning the tide on this horrific health epidemic, we’ll see changes in so many other social and economic challenges.
A win for Facing Addiction is a win for all of us. Many of you remember the historic day of our launch on October 4, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We told you then that we intended to galvanize the country around making sweeping changes to address the addiction crisis.
Our 100&Change grant proposal specified the urgent need to undertake unparalleled anti-stigma/education campaigns and develop evidenced-informed systems of integrated care that can be scaled nationwide.
After all, addiction to alcohol and other drugs impacts one in three households, claims a life every four minutes, and costs our economy $442 billion annually. Overdose is now the #1 cause of accidental death. Yet, unlike other health issues, addiction has few comprehensive chronic care systems and remains stigmatized in the shadows.
Consequently, 90 percent of those suffering never receive treatment. To end this entirely preventable health crisis, we must: 1) help people understand addiction is a chronic illness, not a matter of moral failing; and 2) develop integrated systems of prevention, intervention, treatment and sustained recovery support.
For Facing Addiction to be catapulted to the Top 200 of more than 1,900 original applications – from all sectors, to solve any major social problem – is a humbling accomplishment, especially considering the massive amount of work that must be done to turn the tide against addiction in this country.
But, in the end, what choice do we have? As we told the MacArthur Foundation:
“Our lives are forever changed by addiction. Addiction stole our children, broke our bones, ruined our careers, forced us onto the streets, incarcerated us, and tore our families apart.
It’s time for a new approach. Communities and families are being held hostage by the same failed strategies that have perpetuated the addiction cycle for decades.
Our quest is to boldly dismantle the barriers to progress that exist across our society, and implement a comprehensive plan to create the understanding, empathy, and infrastructures that will help the millions who are suffering or at risk.
It can be done.
America turned the tide against HIV/AIDS, yet addiction impacts 30 times more people. We must focus ‘the fierce urgency of now’ on addiction…before it’s too late. Technology and science will help, but we know it only really starts with conviction of the heart.”
Thank you for your continued support.