DFC Grant Information

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Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Grant: An Overview

Community-based coalitions can benefit greatly from a Drug-Free Community (DFC) Support Program Grant, but eligibility determination and the application process can initially seem daunting. Keep reading for a wealth of DFC Grant information, including how it can help nonprofits, which coalitions are eligible to apply, and how to get started with the application process.

What is a DFC Grant?

The purpose of the DFC Support Program grant is to “establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.”[1]

In addition, the DFC Support Program grant is also intended to work to “reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.”[2]

The DFC defines youth as those 18 years and younger for the purpose of this grant.[3] In 2014, about 1 in 4 middle school and high school students lived in a community with a Drug-Free Community funded coalition.[4]

How Can a DFC Grant Help My Community?

$8,750,000 in funding is available annually, which is split up into approximately 70 grants, each with a maximum of $125,000 for up to five years. After the first five-year cycle, a coalition may re-apply for a second and final five years of funding.[5]

With this funding, in addition to the non-federal funding that coalitions receive, the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) recommends a five-step framework for addressing substance abuse in a community:

  • 1. Assess Needs: What is the problem, and how can I learn more?
  • 2. Build Capacity: What do I have to work with?
  • 3. Plan: What should I do and how should I do it?
  • 4. Implement: How can I put my plan into action?
  • 5. Evaluate: Is my plan succeeding?[6]


Because the DFC grant is intended for coalitions who are working long-term to reduce substance abuse in several sectors of a community, it does not fund after-school programs, youth mentoring programs, sports programs, treatment services/programs/facilities, drug courts, construction, or landscaping and neighborhood revitalization projects.[7]

Does My Organization Qualify for a DFC Support Program Grant?

This grant is available to coalitions that are addressing youth substance abuse in their communities. Eligible coalitions are ones that have existed for at least six months and have never received a DFC grant (or they have but there was a lapse in funding), or have concluded their first 5-year cycle of funding and are applying for their second 5-year cycle.

Coalitions that meet the following qualifications may apply for a grant:

  • 1. The coalition must include a representative from each of the following sectors, and an individual who is a member of the coalition may serve on the coalition as a representative of only one sector category:
  • a. Youth (18 or younger)
  • b. Parent
  • c. Business
  • d. Media
  • e. School
  • f. Youth-serving organization
  • g. Law enforcement
  • h. Religious/Fraternal organization
  • i. Civic/Volunteer groups (meaning a local organization committed to volunteer efforts, not a designated coalition volunteer)
  • j. Healthcare professional or organization (primary care, hospital)
  • k. State, local, or tribal governmental agency with expertise in the field of substance abuse
  • l. Other organization involved in reducing substance abuse
  • 2. The coalition must be aiming to address multiple drugs of abuse
  • 3. The coalition must have been in operation for at least six months at the time of the submission of the application
  • 4. There must be a cash or in-kind match of funding to the coalition, which will ensure that the coalition is self-sustaining once federal funding is withdrawn. This amount will increase of the course of the two five-year cycles of funding
  • 5. While the DFC Support Program doesn’t make funding decisions based on geographic location, there cannot be multiple DFC recipients within the same zip code unless there is a Letter of Cooperation between the two coalitions applying for funding, explaining how the two coalitions plan on working together


Applications are screened by the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy) in conjunction with the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to ensure that the applicant meets all of the necessary qualifications, which can be found in detail on page 12 of the FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement) here.

How Does the Application Process Work?

DFC grant applications will be due in March 2018. Check the SAMHSA website for the FOA, which will be released in early January of 2018, with funding decisions being announced in August and September.[8] Reading through last year’s requirements is a good way to prepare.

Within 60 days of the application deadline, applicants must also send the PHSIS (Public Health System Impact Statement) to the appropriate state and local health agencies.[9] Applicants must also comply with E.O. 12372 if their state(s) participates, and these are also due no later than 60 days after the application deadline.[10]

How Should My Coalition Prepare?

With the deadline in early 2018, there is a lot of time left for DFC grant preparedness before the FOA is released. One unique aspect of SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework is that the planning process is data-driven. If you are unsure of how to collect the necessary data for your coalition, Pride Surveys can help. We have been helping nonprofits and coalitions collect data to secure and maintain critical funding for over three decades.

For more information, see the surveys we offer. Pride Surveys can help your coalition determine if it is eligible for a DFC Grant, as well as aid ongoing efforts to collect data once you are funded. To learn more, give us a call today at or contact us online.

[1]“Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program.” Retrieved 30 May, 2017 at https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sp-17-001



[4]“Drug Free Communities Support Program.” Retrieved 1 June, 2017 at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp/Drug-Free-Communities-Support-Program

[5]“Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program.” Retrieved 30 May, 2017 at https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sp-17-001

[6]“Applying the Strategic Prevention Framework.” Retrieved 1 June, 2017 at https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/applying-strategic-prevention-framework

[7] “Drug Free Communities Support Program.” Retrieved 1 June, 2017 at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp/Drug-Free-Communities-Support-Program


[9]“Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program.” Retrieved 30 May, 2017 from https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sp-17-001


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