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Who are the backbones?

The backbone organizations are local community-based organizations that have agreed to support the Animator in varying levels of capacity. To date, FCSS has supported the majority of the Animators, but any organization can step into the role, depending on the best fit for the community. Backbones may also work across multiple communities. If there are multiple communities located in your municipality/region, each community can identify an Animator. In some cases, through networks and expertise, backbones may find interested individuals to take the Training and become Animators, in other instances an Animator may approach a backbone looking for support. Either approach is fine and will depend on the unique circumstances and connections of the community and individual.


Role (Required)

  • Dedicate one organizational contact to the RMH project
  • The contact person should be someone with signing authority, as we will send a Letter of Understanding to each backbone
    • If those with signing authority do not have the capacity to check-in with us and the Animator, another person in the organization can be assigned
  • In discussion with the Animator, choose a funding path
    • Animator Compensation– Training & action team facilitation compensation to Animator(s)
    • Microgrant– Used to support the Animators and Action Team’s success and increase participation
  • Review and sign a Letter of Understanding with CMHA AB that outlines the relationship and accountability pieces between the backbone organization and CMHA AB
  • Build a path to receive funds from CMHA and spend funds based on the arranged pathway
  • Submit a project Summary Report (template will be given) to CMHA at the end of the funding term, reflecting the Animator(s)’ training and facilitation journey


Role (Not required)

  • If available, support action team to submit, manage, and report back on potential micro-grants provided (through CMHA or a third-party) to support the success of community-generated activities and reducing barriers to participation.
  • Support the Animator(s) in their role, as necessary. This will vary but includes:
    • Assisting in connecting chosen Animator(s) with community stakeholders
    • Providing in-kind donations (e.g. meeting space, refreshments, technological support)
    • Relational support to Animator(s) and action team members.
    • Support action team transformational activities throughout implementation
  • Funding of community-led activities


We encourage backbone organizations to provide as much support to the Animator and action team as possible. As connectors and local experts, local community-based organizations can provide valuable backbone support to the Animators and action teams by fostering relationships and amplifying community efforts. Organization characteristics that will support Animators & coalitions include:

  • Maintain a broad view of mentally health, wellness, and mentally healthy communities.
  • Amplify and uphold the coalitions’ visions for a mentally healthy community, roadmaps direction, actions, and activities.
  • Assist in preserving the social infrastructure of the coalition for ongoing community-led discussions.
  • Avoid becoming prescriptive in coalition meetings to ensure equal voices amongst community members and professionals.
  • Encourage the maintenance of roadmaps and connections to the Rural Mental Health Network.
  • Support a culture of respect and collective learning.
  • Build supportive relationships, which will look different across communities but encourage ongoing participation and community-led leadership.
  • Share information on the project to interested stakeholders