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Better Ways To Cope

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Better Ways to Cope (BWTC) is a community-centered harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery campaign powered by the Department of Health and Human Services. This multi-faceted movement uses media platforms to promote services, regrants funds to community organizations, shares resources with community members and equips everyone with the skills to cope in a better way.


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Building Communities . Touching Lives . Healing Together.

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The Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is extending its Better Ways to Cope campaign to now include regranting of Opioid Settlement Fund dollars. Since 2021, Better Ways to Cope has regranted substance abuse prevention funds to local community-based programs. We are pleased to build upon the values and track record of Better Ways to Cope to meet the serious challenge presented by our county's opioid crisis.


Milwaukee County invites nonprofit and for-profit agencies to join the Better Ways to Cope Campaign by proposing prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery initiatives that focus on increasing access to information and resources for reducing opioid-related overdose deaths, preventing substance misuse disorder and increasing healthy coping choices.

Important Dates

Application Launch

March 25, 2024

The public will gain access to the application via the Better Ways to Cope website.
They must download the Information Packet (PDF), Application (Word Document), and Budget Template (Excel) to apply.

Information Session

April 10, 2024

Interested parties will learn how to complete the application and have an opportunity to ask questions.

Application Due Date

May 17, 2024

Applications and important documents should be emailed to Wendy Weckler, Hope House Executive Director at [email protected].

Selection Announcement

June 28, 2024

An independent review panel will rank each application using objective criteria and announce which agencies are receiving awards. Awardees will be notified via email.

In-Person Kick-Off Meeting

July 11, 2024

Applicants, project partners and community members will celebrate the start of each project.

Application Questions and Answers

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  What are the funding categories? Can we apply for more than one category?

Applicants can apply for multiple categories. They must submit one application for each category. If the project includes multiple categories, applicants are encouraged to reference their other applications when needed. Submitting multiple applications does not guarantee that any of them will be funded.


Prevention The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines prevention as activities that work to educate and support individuals and communities to prevent the use and misuse of drugs and the development of substance use disorders. Applicants should propose initiatives that incorporate education, alternative activities, referrals, environmental, community-based processes and information dissemination. Page 18 in the Information Guide
Harm Reduction SAMHSA defines harm reduction as a practical and transformative approach that incorporates community-driven public health strategies — including prevention, risk reduction, and health promotion — to empower People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) and their families with the choice to live healthier, self-directed, and purpose-filled lives. Harm reduction is especially important for underserved communities and those who find traditional treatment approaches ineffective. Incremental change can be made through risk reduction, allowing space for a person's own goals and motivations. Page 21 in the Information Guide
Treatment  According to SAMHSA, there are many different types of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Some treat specific conditions, while others work for many different conditions. The goal of most treatments is to change thoughts and behaviors and manage physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. There is often a need for more than one type of treatment in combination with medication and therapy. Page 23 in the Information Guide
Recovery According to SAMHSA, recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Page 24 in the Information Guide


  How long will the funding last? Is there a maximum and minimum amount of funding to request?

Funding for all categories start 7/1/2024 and ends 12/2/2025 (18 Months)

Funding Amount Per Category:

Prevention: $200,000.00

Harm Reduction: $200,000.00

Treatment: $200,000.00

Recovery: $150,000.00


Page 6 in the Information Packet

  How many awards will be given?

There are a total of 15 awards available. 

Prevention: 4 Awards

Harm Reduction: 4 Awards

Treatment: 4 Awards

Recovery: 3 Awards


Page 6 in the Information Packet

  Who was funded in previous years?

Previously funded organizations focused on increasing positive coping behaviors and implementing prevention strategies. In 2024 Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is extending its Better Ways to Cope campaign to now include regranting of Opioid Settlement Fund dollars (OSF). OSF dollars require agencies funded 2024 - 2025 agencies focus on preventing overdoses via prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery efforts.


2021 - 2022 Awardees 2022 - 2023 Awardees 2023 - 2024 Awardees
5 Points Neighborhood Association Community Advocates Public Policy Institute Mack Theatre Group
All 4 Kids Fresh Start Inpower Inc.
Neu Life Community Development MERA CARES Changing Hands 
Running Rebels Neu Life Community Development SAMAD's House
Social Development Commission SAMAD's House Black Space
Trans Center True Skool Wisconsin Community Services
True Skool    
  Can we focus on drugs besides opioids?

We recognize Milwaukee County residents are using and becoming dependent on opioids and other drugs. We encourage applicants to propose solutions to problems that impact specific demographics and nonopioid drug use. If an applicant wants to focus on nonopioid drug use, they must explain how doing so will address the opioid crisis. If you are working with a population that is not primarily focused on opioids, it’s important to describe the intersection with opioids.  For example, preventing deaths from crack cocaine overdoses because there was fentanyl in the crack cocaine. It must contribute to the reduction of deaths from opioids. For this reason, we encourage applicants to

  1. Identify the problem your proposed project seeks to address related to the opioid crisis.
  2. Describe any relevant trends related to the problem
  3. Describe the demographics and unique characteristics of your proposed target population and/or geographic area.
  4.  Explain how the opioid crisis has impacted the target population and geographic area.

Page 6 of the BWTC Application

  Is it acceptable to use multiple approaches in designing a proposal, such as outreach, preventive services, etc.?

Yes, you can approach an issue from multiple perspectives.  In the application, pick one category, but use as many strategies as you need to do the work.

  Who can we contact for questions?

For programmatic questions, contact Jeremy Triblett, Prevention Integration Manager at [email protected]

For administrative and funding questions, contact Wendy Weckler, Executive Director at [email protected]

Their email addresses are on page 5 of the Information Packet.

  Can we apply as a group or in partnership? Do all partner representatives need to be present for all important award dates?

Yes, applicants can apply as a group. No, a representative from each partner does not need to attend each meeting as long as a rep of the lead agency is present.

We ask that collectives, action teams, coalitions and groups apply via a single representative. We ask that your application answers include the following:

Describe your existing collaborations relevant to the proposed project as well as any new collaborations that will be established as part of this project.

Page 13 in the Information Packet


  How do we determine which category to apply to?

Review the application categories on pages 17-25 in the information packet. Apply for the category that defines your initiatives and the activities that you will implement. If you need assistance with better understanding the categories, you should email Jeremy Triblett at [email protected].

  What is the community input analysis? Why is it important?

DHHS hosted virtual community listening sessions with public, private, and nonprofit organizations on February 21 and 23. A total of 118 groups and individuals registered for the event, 80 participants attended both days, representing 8 municipalities, 33 zip codes, and 26 agencies.

The meeting feedback was used to draft the BWTC application with Opioid Settlement Dollars. To ensure their voices are heard, we ask applicants to identify how their program incorporates ideas and strategies outlined in the Community Conversations Summary Document 

Find the Community Conversations Summary Document link on page 13 of the Information Packet.

  Can faith-based organizations apply?

Faith-based organizations are welcome to submit an application. As with most grant opportunities, while faith-based organizations are fully eligible, the services provided using the grant funds should be secular in nature.

  Who will score applications? How will they determine which applicants to award if have the same score?

The Better Ways to Cope team developed a scoring rubric. Twelve panelists, three in each category, will score the applications. The panelists focus on those with lived experience and/or work within the substance use field.  In the event of a tie, we may invite applicants to participate in the sharing of additional information or an interview with panelists. 

  Have you worked with Veteran Organizations in the past? Is their application process the same?

The process for application and scoring is the same for Veterans. Each grantee is encouraged to identify a population they will be working with and to use strategies/science that work best with that population.

  Assuming applications meet all requirements, what makes some proposals stand out?

There will be an unbiased panel for each category. Based on page 2 of the Information Packet, creativity is encouraged to look for new solutions to old problems.  It is also important to keep in mind that opioid settlement dollars are spending money to save lives. 

  Are grantees with headquarters outside Milwaukee eligible to apply?

An entity could have headquarters outside of Milwaukee County, but the organization would need to have an established presence in Milwaukee County and do all its work exclusively in Milwaukee County. 

  Would an acceptable use of funds include paying stipends to peer mentors?

Yes, you can pay stipends to people providing a service.

Department of Health and Human Services | Jeremy Triblett, Prevention Integration Manager | [email protected]

Hope House of Milwaukee, Inc. | Wendy Weckler, Executive Director | [email protected]



1220 W. Vliet St.

Suite 301

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53205

Our Vision

Together, creating healthy communities.

Our Mission

Empowering safe, healthy, meaningful lives.

Our Values

Partnership, Respect, Integrity, 

Diversity, Excellence

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