Published in the Hartford Courant on December 21, 2018

By Denise Coffey

The Board of Directors of Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse (NECASA) has established an endowed fund at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut to continue its mission of supporting prevention services in northeastern Connecticut.

NECASA closed in June following state funding cuts. It provided substance abuse and suicide prevention information and training since 1990. It’s funding had been provided through the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction services.

For more than 28 years, NECASA provided a local response to the need for information and training about substance abuse, mental health, and suicide prevention for residents in northeastern Connecticut.

Programs included evidence-based health curriculum for local school districts, a drug intervention program for non-violent offenders, conducting school surveys, and distributing substance abuse and warning cards to more than 350,000 students in grades five through 12 over 15 years.

Over the years, NECASA raised funds throughout the community to support the agency’s efforts and supplement grant funding. The grant funding has now been shifted to a new regional entity, and the board has voted to transfer the remaining assets, raised in northeastern Connecticut, to a Field of Interest Fund called the NECASA Fund within the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

Those remaining assets are approximately $98,000, according to John Goodman, communications director with United Services, the regional mental health authority in northeastern Connecticut.

The Community Foundation will manage the endowment and a grant-making process to distribute funding. Funding will support programs that deal with suicide prevention, substance abuse, and mental health services for people in northeastern Connecticut.

Applications for funding from schools, nonprofits, and municipalities in northeastern Connecticut will be considered.

Donations to the NECASA Fund are tax deductible and will expand the reach of prevention services in the Northeast.

A NECASA Legacy Celebration will be held Thursday, Jan. 17, at 5:30 p.m., at Grill 37 in Pomfret. During the event, the fund will be formally transferred to the foundation.

Tickets are $35 per person for a buffet dinner and all proceeds will benefit the NECASA Fund.

For tickets or more information on the event or supporting the NECASA Fund, please contact Lydia Basnight at United Services, at 860-457-4656 or