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$3 Million Anonymous Donation to Help Mothers and Children Affected by Opioids
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tym Rourke, Charitable Foundation director of substance use disorders grantmaking, and chair of the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, addresses the crowd at an announcement about a $3 million anonymous gift.


An anonymous donor has made a $3 million gift to the NH Charitable Foundation to change outcomes for pregnant and newly parenting women and their babies affected by opioid and other substance use disorders.

“This gift has the potential to be transformative in New Hampshire, to dramatically change outcomes for these women and their children,” says Richard Ober, president and CEO of the NH Charitable Foundation. “We are so grateful that this donor saw this need and shared these resources to address it.”

Perinatal drug and alcohol use is an increasingly serious public health concern in NH and nationwide. Perinatal substance use disorders affect an estimated 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies in the United States, and a growing number of infants are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Many pregnant women with substance use disorders may be using more than one substance, and many are struggling with co-occurring mental health issues, trauma, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and more — further complicating care and treatment before and after their infants are born.

An increasing number of babies in New Hampshire are being born exposed to opiates. The majority of those babies suffer the effects of withdrawal, experience lower birth weight and other complications resulting in longer hospital stays, and may face life-long effects from exposure to alcohol and other drugs.

“While the challenges are complex, the good news is that there are steps we can take to help these women and their children get well, and be able to thrive,” says Tym Rourke, Charitable Foundation director of substance use disorders grantmaking and chair of the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. “There is a lot of good work being done around the state, and this generous donation will build on that work and make a real difference for many New Hampshire moms and their kids.”

The Charitable Foundation is the largest private funder in the state addressing the disease of addiction.

The first round of grants has been made from that gift, totaling $629,000. Approximately $1 million per year in grants will be made in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery from this gift in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The grants were made after research and input from medical and other experts to assess needs and strategies for maximum impact.

Funding will advance both on-the-ground work and work that changes systems to be more effective in providing care for this vulnerable population — from providing residential treatment and supports to pregnant women and babies, to creating a go-to resource offering consultation and technical support to medical providers to help them better treat these patients.

A $50,000 grant to Hope on Haven Hill in Rochester will help provide high-quality residential care to pregnant and newly parenting women. Eight women and their children live there now, each with an individual treatment plan and each getting medical care, recovery support, parenting instruction and other services for up to a year.

Courtney Tanner is the Hope on Haven Hill executive director. “At Hope on Haven Hill, our team has the privilege of working with resilient women. We are resources to these brave women working on their recovery and learning to become better mothers,” she says. “Any support like this has the ability to make a difference for a mom who is hopeless to get hope back. It means being able to watch women get stronger and their children thrive.”

A $194,000 grant will help Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, a state and national leader in the work of perinatal addiction treatment, create a Perinatal Addiction Center of Excellence, serving patients and providers statewide. The medical team there will further develop best practice models of care, support multidisciplinary professional education, conduct targeted research, and offer provider-to-provider consultation.

“We feel that one of our obligations is to help other practices in the state care for this population,” says Dr. Julia Frew, a psychiatrist and medical director of the Perinatal Addiction Treatment Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. “We recognize that, particularly in a rural state like New Hampshire, it’s not practical for all women in the state to travel to our program, and feel it is better for them to be cared for in their own communities.”

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