Local nonprofit wins Health Equity Grant from Inova

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Arm & Arm board member Portia Clark (l.) and lead facilitator Sandra Carr (r.) accept the Inova grant check with Arm & Arm founder Kelvin Manurs (Photo Credit: Arm & Arm).

Arm & Arm, an organization that provides peer-to-peer behavioral health services to individuals rebuilding their lives after traumatic experiences, was one of 23 Northern Virginia nonprofits to win a Health Equity Grant from the Inova Health System.

Based out of Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church on Russell Road, Arm & Arm has provided peer support, training and mentoring to community members, including veterans and individuals re-entering society after incarceration, since its founding in 2016. With the nonprofit's new $50,000 check from Inova — the organization's largest grant received to-date according to founder Kelvin Manurs — Arm & Arm will be able to conduct more "boots on the ground outreach" and provide more peers to work with individuals who are overcoming life obstacles.



"We go to where the pain is," said Manurs, noting that while the organization has its Peer Institute at Rising Hope, they also "meet individuals where they are," including on the streets. Describing Arm & Arm as "innovative and unconventional," he said that people who have successfully overcome life crises use their first-hand experience to help out others who may be experiencing barriers to community re-entry, such as mental health challenges, substance use disorders or homelessness. This peer-to-peer approach provides a sense of accountability, said Manurs.

"If I've made it through, so can you," he said.

Arm & Arm's grant proposal was one of 90 received by the Inova Health System under its 2022 Health Equity Grant program. Inova awarded a record $1 million in grants this year and refocused the program around local health equity needs.  In 2021, Inova awarded $240,000 to 14 Northern Virginia nonprofit organizations through the (then-named) Community Health Fund, according to an Inova news release.

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