USRA Coalition Announces Continuation Grant Award 2022

National Night Out 2019

It is with great pleasure that the USRA Coalition, a joint coalition of Upper Saddle River and Allendale, announce the award of a $125,000 Drug-Free Community (DFC) continuation grant from the White House Drug Policy Office. This is the third year the USRA has been awarded funding. Originally established in 2017, the USRA Coalition originally
was awarded a Drug-Free Community Mentor grant, working under the leadership of Mahwah. In 2019, the USRA was awarded a Drug-Free Community (DFC) grant in the amount of $125,000 annually for five years, or a total of $625,000. At the completion of the five years, an additional five-year grant is possible in order to continue the programming.

The USRA’s Chairperson, Upper Saddle River’s Mayor Joanne Minichetti, explained, “The USRA Coalition’s mission, working to educate our communities to help prevent substance and alcohol abuse, while also addressing related mental health issues, has never been more vital. Both substance abuse and health issues such as anxiety and depression have risen significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic – now moving into a third year. The collaboration of our many dedicated board members, the schools, governing bodies, police departments and community members make our efforts cohesive and effective.”

Joanne Minichetti added, “Each year, the Coalition must identify its efforts and progress. It is a testament to our strong collaboration that we have been successful in earning a continuation grant once again. That success rightfully belongs to everyone in our communities. We are all working towards the same goal – helping our youth navigate serious challenges while providing the support necessary to become healthy adults.”

DFC-funded coalitions encourage the engagement of multiple sectors of the community. The USRA is comprised of community leaders, parents, student members, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, healthcare and business professionals, law enforcement and media.

Some of the projects the USRA has helped to fund in 2021 at Northern Highlands include the Chris Herren Heroin Awareness program for students and parents, the Signs of Suicide curriculum, an annual stipend for the Yoga and Wellness Club advisors and training for the Boomerang Mentorship advisors. The PRIDE survey, taken by students at Northern Highlands to help identify community issues, was funded by the USRA as well. The USRA helped fund, through Upper Saddle River’s Parent Wellness Academy, the Mykee Fowlin and Community Based Panel Discussions with Sabrina Coppola. The USRA Coalition spread their message at the Bike Rodeo, Friday Night Lights and Oktoberfest and provided a community wide Narcan Training program. The USRA also helps the community be aware of important available resources and targets mission-related messaging via Facebook and Instagram and its ongoing original podcast series, Let’s Talk About It.

“The partnership between Upper Saddle River and Allendale is a true win since we share our high school and student/parent community. The USRA makes the programming we provide at the regional level through the DFC funds inclusive of Ho-Ho-Kus and Saddle River students.

Our goal is to make our communities safe and drug-free,” said Joanne Minichetti.  “Awareness and education are powerful tools to counteract substance and alcohol abuse in our communities. We use this funding to help our young people make healthy choices and to feel comfortable in speaking out when in need of help. We look forward to continuing our work.”

Learn more at and at USRA Coalition on Facebook and Instagram.

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