Hello – Thank you for your question!
This sounds like a great endeavor as peer support is a very relevant and well-supported approach for mental health and addictions. Two issues immediately come to mind as places to start: getting 501(c)3 status and using best practices for peer support. However, before addressing either of these, you might want to start by checking out the resources on the Community Tool Box related to developing a strategic plan and organizational structure. You can access this information (chapters 8 – 12) and related tool kits (5 and 15) through the table of contents at http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents.
Re: 501(c)3 status: Obtaining non-profit (501(c)3) status is the way to go if you want to solicit grant funding. There’s a lot involved in gaining non-profit status and it’s typically recommended to consult an attorney that specializes in this process to assist you. If you’re in the US, you can check the IRS website for more information: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations.
Re: best practices for peer support: There are a number of resources that address best practices in mentoring/peer support. Check out the webinar on peer support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at https://knowledge.samhsa.gov/resources/peer-support-and-peer-recovery-coaching. You can also contact Brittany Brest at Wichita State University Center for Applied Research and Evaluation for more resources on best practices for peer support (firstname.lastname@example.org). She can provide a number of articles I can’t upload here.
This is a greatly needed service and I hope the resources provided here can help you get started in making your program a reality. Best wishes in your efforts!
Edit: Here are a few more resources another expert on peer support just provided to me:
From Doors to Wellbeing: https://www.doorstowellbeing.org/copy-of-peer-info-1
From the Center on Integrated Health Care: https://www.center4healthandsdc.org/
BRSS-TACS (another SAMHSA initiative): https://www.samhsa.gov/brss-tacs