The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA) is a state corporation that administers the Alaska Mental Health Trust, a perpetual trust, to improve the lives of beneficiaries. The Trust operates much like a foundation, using its resources to ensure that Alaska has a comprehensive integrated mental health program.
The Trust awards mini grants to beneficiaries, with a limit of one grant per fiscal year, of up to $2,500, depending upon need. These grants are intended to fund items related to a beneficiary’s diagnosis, that there might not be conventional funding opportunities for. Mini grants are awarded to an agency on behalf of a beneficiary. The Trust has three mini grant programs for the state of Alaska, and Information Insights administers two of them: Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Behavioral Health mini grants are open to individuals with mental illness, chronic alcoholism and/or substance related disorders, and those with a traumatic head injury resulting in permanent brain injury. Development Disability mini grants are open to individuals with developmental disabilities but also youth enrolled in early intervention or infant learning programs. More information about these mini grant programs can be found on the Trust webpage.
Clear and documented systems, decision making criteria, consistency, transparency, and communication are key to the management and administration of AMHTA’s mini grant programs, for all involved. Information Insights’ role is to ensure all of these pieces are in place and that they work smoothly together to maximize the grants’ impact.
Information Insights’ role is to continuously provide the Trust with clear accounting of how their funds are spent, while simultaneously keeping open dialog with the agencies that apply and receive the grants on behalf of beneficiaries.
Information Insights worked closely with AMHTA to create and implement an overall grants administration system, which is now the operational backbone and is periodically revisited and updated as necessary. Key parts of this system include:
- Compilation, review, and summary of grants applications for review by AMHTA,
- Facilitation of a small AMHTA committee to evaluate applications on a monthly basis,
- A communication protocol for grant applicants,
- Clear guidance for grant acceptance and reporting, and
- Grant administration, accounting, and due diligence on grantees’ fund expenditure.