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Education Fund

Supporting career growth for those interested in becoming a licensed behavioral health provider

The Summit County Behavioral Health Education Fund

The Goal 

The Summit County Behavioral Health Education Fund promotes behavioral health equity and staff development and retention by supporting career growth for those interested in becoming a licensed behavioral health provider and/or help the community to retain existing behavioral health professionals. Through educational awards we have the potential to reduce a major gap in the behavioral health service spectrum – by increasing the number of licensed therapists and case workers in Summit County, therefore also filling gaps in available resources within the community.

Policies and Procedures

Application and Review Process: The Summit County Behavioral Health Education Fund Committee will manage the application and approval process. The application is an online application and is open year-round. Applications will be reviewed each quarter and awards will be granted each August, December, March, and June. Applicants will need to secure a nomination or recommendation to be considered for the program. Priority will be given to applications that will help to reduce gaps in mental health services in Summit County (bilingual providers, etc.) and priority status can change as community needs change.

Application Includes:

  • Contact information
  • Demographic information
  • Proof of acceptance in the educational program or certification
  • Documentation of the training requested
  • The need and why you are a good candidate
  • Financial Information (invoice and institution payment process)
  • Request amount with annual budget of full costs of education/need
  • Letter of reference/ nomination
  • Resume/ CSV

Behavioral Health Education Fund Committee: Committee will be responsible for reviewing and approving award applications each quarter, and will approve applicants based on priority point (see Qualifications). Committee will include mental health professionals from FIRC, Building Hope, and the Summit Community Care Clinic.

Outreach: FIRC and Building Hope will develop an initial outreach strategy (i.e., radio, summit daily, flyers, newsletters) and may partner with the Summit Foundation to create a broader reach. Ongoing outreach will be tasked to the Committee. Partner organizations can nominate staff to participate in the Behavioral Health Education Fund. Though a nomination is not required to apply, applicants without a nomination must secure a letter of recommendation.

Qualifications: This opportunity will be open to aspiring mental health professionals who live or work in Summit County and who currently work at a non-profit or mental health organization (i.e., admin staff, peers, therapists), with priority given to fill gaps in community mental health services (i.e. bilingual/bicultural providers, providers seeking training in needed specialties). Eligibility qualifications include:

  • A Resident of Summit County
  • Current employment/ internship at a non-profit or mental health organization
  • Commitment to remain working as a mental health professional within Summit County for 2 yrs post-educational pathway completion
  • Complete 2 progress check-ins with mentor per year
  • Complete 2 written reports per year
  • Serve as a mentor for 1 year to a future applicant

Please reach out to the program administrator (contact below) if you are unsure if you meet the program requirements or for resources on internship/ volunteer opportunities in the community.

Failure to meet the 2 year employment commitment will result in repayment of funds. To verify employment commitment, recipients will be required to submit a short employment verification report each year. Applications will be prioritized using the following grading rubric (please note this rubric will shift to align with changing community needs)

Priority points given to (0-4):

      • Bilingual (+1)
      • Bicultural (+1)
      • Serves specialty population or fills gap in mental health services in Summit County (+1)-  LGBTQ+
        –  Children (0-12 yrs)
        –  Youth (12-20 yrs)
        –  Seniors
      • –  Masters level applicants closer to graduation (+1)

Financial Support will range between $2,001-$10,000 per year. Applicants will need to provide an invoice to verify the expense. Invoice must be submitted to finance@buildinghopesummit.org and EducationFund@buildinghopesummit.org  at least 30 days prior to payment due date. Funds may be used to work towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in the mental health field or in some cases to hone skills, or to focus on training to meet a particular populations’ needs (i.e., LGBTQ+, Children, Youth, Senior, Immigrant/Spanish Speaking populations). Applicants will apply per semester or quarter.

Awardee is responsible for satisfying all tax and other government imposed responsibilities including but not limited to, payment of state, federal and social security taxes. No federal, state or local taxes of any kind shall be withheld or paid by Building Hope.

Administrative: Award recipients will complete a contract agreement that outlines the requirements to receive funds and are responsible for providing all back up documentation including, but not limited to, financial information, letter of recommendation, and progress reports. Failure to complete the agreement, progress reports, or to provide requested documentation will result in disqualification from receiving funding.

Capacity Development & Commitment: Receiving funding will not guarantee or match participants with employment opportunities in Summit County. It is the responsibility of the recipient to pursue and maintain employment to fulfill the Contract Agreement.


  • Payment to institution: Award funds will be sent directly to the higher education institution or to the provider of training or certificate programs. Funds cannot be paid directly to award recipients as reimbursement. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide all required information to ensure payment can be sent timely.
  • Applications will be reviewed quarterly, it is the responsibility of the applicant to apply timely to ensure that approval is determined prior to the start of training or certification program or to the start of the school semester.

Program Updates: The Summit County Behavioral Health Education Fund is a new program in its pilot phase. The program, program requirements, eligibility requirements, awards amounts, and more, may change as the program develops to best fit the needs of the community and its applicants.


Application & Reference or Nomination Forms

Please reachout to the program administrator for questions: educationfund@buildinghopesummit.org

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