VAN receives funding from the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation for Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative

VAN was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation to advance work on the newly formed Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative in Washington County.

The Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative was born from a convening in March 2022, when VAN gathered nearly 90 key stakeholders in healthcare, workforce development, faith, government, and the nonprofit sector to explore innovative ways to strengthen the workforce in response to the behavioral health crisis in Washington County.

“Since convening the Behavioral Health Workforce Summit VAN has responded to the immediate and urgent need of Washington County’s largest service providers to increase their staffing levels,” shared VAN’s Executive Director Glenn Montgomery. “The award from Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation is vital to our role as a convener and facilitator of collaborative, creative problem solving.”

With Marie Lamfrom’s support, as well as investments from LifeWorks NW, New Narrative, and Sequoia Mental Health Services, and contributions from Worksystems, Inc., VAN is now guiding collaborative work on the first phase of the Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative. Phase One aims to develop a recruitment and training plan for residential support staff, which providers identified as the most urgent workforce need.

Within the past year, mental health and addiction services provider Lifeworks NW was forced to close two residential facilities due to staffing shortages.

“The impact on the community is huge,” said Julie Ibrahim, CEO of New Narrative Integrative Mental Health, “If we have to close these houses, these residents have to go somewhere, and often it’s shelters, motels, and unfortunately sometimes the street.”

This phase of the initiative’s work is expected to result in a universal recruitment and training plan for residential support staff that can be used by all three providers. This will then serve as the model for the broader behavioral health workforce recruitment and training plan expected to be developed in Phase Two of the initiative.

“Partnerships and collaboration are integral to our success as a community building organization,” says Ally Parzych, VAN’s Director of Development and Community Partnerships. “We feel very appreciative of the generosity of the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation and see our partnership with them as an opportunity to not only thrive but dream big. It is a win-win for the Washington County community.”

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The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation prioritizes support in service to education, mentorship, arts, creativity, health, and well-being in Oregon and Washington State. Their aim is to support and empower nonprofits financially, creatively, strategically; facilitate and nurture human connection, learning, healing, and joy; pursue partnerships that value and empower those involved; to yield ongoing positive outcomes, alleviate human suffering, and promote thriving communities. Learn more at