How to Apply for Federal Grants for Your Coalition

Pride Surveys How to Apply for Federal Grants
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At Pride Surveys, our mission is driven by our commitment to work with our community partners and education coalitions to provide data, research, and resources surrounding and focusing on the issues affecting students. Federal grants are a large part of the funding for community coalitions. 

This month, we’re focusing on funding coalitions and how to apply for government grants and assistance. This topic comes in light of the fact that it has been recently reported that drug use among 8th graders went up 61 percent between 2016 and 2020, prompting an announcement in July of 2022 by the White House that the government would provide nearly $81 million in funding for 645 community coalitions working to prevent youth substance use as part of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Continuation Grant Awards. 

DFC-funded coalitions interact within multiple community sectors and adopt a variety of strategies to address local substance use and abuse challenges. DFCs involve local communities in finding solutions and helping youth at risk for substance use. DFC funding can also be used for the following sectors: youth, parents, business, media, schools, youth-serving organizations, healthcare professionals, volunteer organizations, religious organizations, law enforcement, and state and local government.

When it comes to eligibility for coalitions applying for DFC funding, there are several eligibility factors. The first is proof or demonstration that members have worked together on substance abuse reduction initiatives for at least six months at the time of application submission, acting through entities such as task forces, subcommittees, or community boards. Other additional requirements center around creating a 12-month action plan that addresses multiple substances, support from 12+ sector representatives, a mission statement related to youth substance use prevention, participation in the DFC national cross-site evaluation, a request for no more than $125k/year, and no more than a certain amount of years of funding. To see all 2023 DFC funding requirements, please read here

Once someone has determined their coalition’s eligibility to apply for federal grants, the question comes down to how one writes a grant for the funding. 

Various strategies include:

Locate and visit local universities or community colleges. There will be specialized people within those institutions familiar with writing grants and the best ways to position your coalition for funding. One can ask for their advice and have them help as part of your coalition later on, should they want to participate.

Find another coalition with the funding already and ask them to see their grant application and use that as a template for your application. No need to reinvent the wheel or do it all on your own. When building a coalition, partnerships are the key to success, especially if you are all in the same field and working towards similar goals. 

Search online; there are many helpful tools if you look for them. and are two websites you should look into for assistance when applying for federal grants. SAMHSA, or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It posts updated funding opportunities on a dedicated page on its website, 

Reach out to CADCA for help. They are an organization that helps train coalitions like yours. CADCA is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe, healthy, and drug-free communities globally, and they have built nearly 300 coalitions in over 30 countries worldwide. You can find their research page here.

There are admittedly many hoops to navigate when applying for funding. Still, you will be hard-pressed to find someone that disagrees that it’s well worth the effort, as having access to federal grants presents significant funding opportunities for community coalitions. Networking is also vital, as well as reaching out to private donors, especially those who have been directly affected by substance abuse or the topic of your coalition and you know are actively involved in the community. 

If you would like more information on applying for federal grants for your coalition or information on general behavioral stress, depression, addiction, or other mental health-related issues in your communities, Pride Surveys is here to help. We offer many options to fit community coalitions’ various needs. If your community or school requires data collection, please reach out to the Pride Surveys team.


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