22 Mohawks Among Vet Groups Awarded Funds


Above, 22 Mohawks group awarded funding by Elks groups last summer in Franklin.

The statistics are alarming. More veterans die from suicide than combat, and the trend isn't slowing. In fact, on average, more than 22 veterans die by suicide each day. 22 Mohawks, which has been based in the past in Millis, aims to bring that number down through direct support of veterans, particularly training and providing support dogs to those in need.

The Franklin Elks have been big fundraisers in the past for 22 Mohawks leaders, led locally by Stacey Ann and Dave Campisano.

Now, thanks to the Executive Office of Veterans Services (EOVS), funding may be a little less of a concern. Yesterday, the office  announced $2 million in grant funding through the
Veterans Community Initiative (VCI) Grant program for 15 community organizations, including 22 Mohawks. It's small money compared to many other government expenditures but badly needed, say veterans advocates.

Following recommendations from the
Reintegration Advisory Committee (VRAC) report
, this funding will support informal and formal peer support
efforts as well as fund innovative programming to address suicide prevention in the veteran and servicemember community in Massachusetts.

"We are wholeheartedly dedicated to empowering our servicemembers, veterans and their families with comprehensive support across
Massachusetts, said Secretary Jon Santiago. "This funding strengthens the backbone of our veteran community by expanding crucial peer support networks and broadening our suicide prevention efforts, ensuring that we meet the evolving needs of our veterans
with precision and compassion.”

The VCI Grant will benefit 15 organizations that demonstrate innovative approaches to veteran services. The recipients are:


Dollar Amount


22Mohawks Corp


Behavioral healthcare, peer support activities, and facility improvements in Norfolk County

Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation, Inc.


Connecting and supporting veteran peer support efforts through sports and physical activity

Falmouth Together We Can


Connecting and supporting peer support efforts through various outdoor activities

Frost Call Inc


Connecting and supporting veterans through peer support efforts through gaming

Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center


Renovating veteran outreach center rooms

Massachusetts General Hospital


Creation and implementation of lethal means curriculum to prevent suicide among veterans

Massachusetts Veteran Service Officers Association


Training and Veteran Service Officer (VSO) summer conference

Minus 22 Foundation Inc.


Support and scholarship for families of veterans/servicemembers lost to suicide

New England Center and Home for Veterans


Improvements to veteran meeting and training spaces

New England's Wounded Veterans


For Italian American War Veterans and American Legion Post in East Boston

Veterans Association of Bristol County Inc


Social programming and transportation for veterans in Bristol County

Veterans Inc.


Mobile Outreach Centers to support suicide prevention efforts in Central and Western Massachusetts

VFW MA District 5


Veteran community building and programming

Volunteers of America Massachusetts


Enhancements to veteran centers in Somerville and Plymouth to improve programming and peer support

Western MA VSOA


Outreach campaign and social programming in throughout Western Massachusetts

The Veterans Reintegration Advisory Committee (VRAC), established through a
[http://section%2077%20of%20chapter%20177%20of%20the%20acts%20of%202022/]legislative mandate, consists
of private and nonprofit stakeholders addressing veterans' mental health and suicide. In
January 2024, VRAC released the report
, “An Examination of Suicide Among Veterans and Their Reintegration
into Society,” outlining a framework to reduce veteran suicide.

The committee found that in Massachusetts, 1 in 9 suicides involved current or former military personnel, often impacted by
mental health or substance use disorders, and more likely to attempt suicide by lethal means. Key strategies include systematic data collection, rapid access to treatment, investment in peer services, and comprehensive training for healthcare providers in
military culture and suicide prevention. The VCI grants announced today aim to connect and support these efforts.

For more information about the Veterans Community Initiative (VCI) Grant and the projects it supports, please contact (857)-303-6051.

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