Drug Free Communities Support Program

FY 2014 DFC Mentoring Program

FY 2013 DFC Grant Announcement  

ONDCP has announced $19.8 million in new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants to 147 communities and 19 new DFC Mentoring grants across the country. The awards announced today are in addition to the $59.4 million in DFC continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded DFC coalitions and 4 DFC Mentoring continuation coalitions. These grants provide community coalitions needed support to prevent and reduce youth substance use.

Program Overview 

The Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.  Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC program has funded nearly 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. The philosophy behind the DFC program is that local drug problems require local solutions.  With a small Federal investment, the DFC program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use.  Recent evaluation dataindicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower.  Over the life of the DFC program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use. 

FY 2013 Local Press Release

FY 2013 DFC New Grantee Meeting

The DFC New Grantee Meeting will be held December 11-13th in Washington, DC. All DFC Year 1 and 6 grantees must send two representatives to the New Grantee Meeting, one must be the person charged with the daily oversight of the coalition.

DFC Mentoring grant recipients are also required to send two people to the New Grantee Meeting. One must be from the Mentor coalition and one must be from the Mentee coalition. 

Please register for the 2013 DFC New Grantee Meeting by clicking here. Once you have completed your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with more details about the schedule of events, meeting location, and guidance on hotel accommodations.  

National Coalition Academy

Year 1 DFC grantees are expected to budget and send two people to the National Coalition Academy (NCA). One person must be the same all three weeks and should be the person in charge of the daily operations of the coalition. The second person can vary each week.

This requirement does not apply to coalitions that have already attended the NCA, however these coalitions may choose to send additional coalition staff or coalition members.

Mentee coalitions that are being mentored for the full two-year term are required to enroll in the NCA at some point during their Mentoring grant.

It is highly recommended that grantees contact the National Coalition Institute immediately after being awarded a DFC or DFC Mentoring grant by calling at 1-800-54-CADCA ext. 225 or via email nroy@cadca.org. More information on the NCA can also be found by clicking here.

Map of FY 2013 Grantees 

DFC Project Officer & Grants Management Specialist

For assistance with programmatic issues related to your DFC or DFC Mentoring grant, please contact your Government Project Officer (GPO) at SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. For assistance with financial issues related to your DFC grant, contact your Grants Management Specialist (GMS) at SAMHSA's Division of Grants Management.

View the list of contacts.

DFC National Evaluation

In the past eight years that DFC has been evaluated, DFC-funded communities have achieved significant reductions in youth alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.  For middle school youth living in DFC-funded communities, data from the DFC National Evaluation indicate a 16% reduction in alcohol use, 27% reduction in tobacco use, and 23% reduction in marijuana use.  High school-aged youth have reduced their use of alcohol by 9%, tobacco by 16%, and marijuana by 7% in DFC-funded communities.  DFC-funded coalitions are actively engaged in facilitating prescription drug take-back programs in conjunction with local law enforcement, as well as local policy change to effectively address the accessibility and available of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 

2012 DFC National Evaluation Interim Report

2012 DFC National Evaluation Summary

Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate increases in youth prescription drug abuse, as well as marijuana, ecstasy, and methamphetamine use.  Now, more than ever, the DFC program is needed in communities across the country to help prevent drug use and reduce its consequences.  Drug problems manifest in local communities and show up in our schools, churches, health centers, and in our homes.  The DFC program helps local leaders organize to identify the youth drug issues unique to their communities and develop the infrastructures necessary to effectively prevent and respond to the disease of addiction. 

Community-based coalitions that meet all of the statutory eligibility requirements can respond to the annual Request for Applications (RFA).  The DFC RFA is usually released to the public in mid-January, with applications due in mid-March.  DFC grantees are chosen using a peer review process comprised of current and former DFC grantees. 

For additional information, contact ONDCP's DFC staff.

The Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 and the Formation of the DFC Program

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) receives funding for the DFC program from Congress through the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-20) to provide support to community-based coalitions that have formed to address local youth substance use and its related consequences.  The DFC program was reauthorized through ONDCP’s Reauthorization Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-469).  The latest reauthorization extends the program until 2012.  Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded over 1,750 DFC grants. Grants have been awarded to communities from every region in the nation and include rural, urban, suburban, and tribal communities.

The DFC program is overseen by ONDCP, with day-to-day management conducted by Project Officers (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/CSAP) and Grants Management Specialists (Division of Grants Management/DGM) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The DFC program operates on a yearly grant cycle that starts with a Request for Applications (RFA) being posted in January of each year.  The RFA, when open, is posted on Grants.gov and SAMSHA.gov and this website.  Community coalitions meeting all of the statutory eligibility requirements can apply during the open period for funding.  DFC grants are awarded for five years with a maximum of 10 years.  Coalitions can ask for up to $125,000 per year and must provide at least a one-to-one match (cash, in-kind, donations, but no Federal funds) each year, with increases in Years 8-10.

Purpose of the DFC Program

The primary purpose of the DFC program is to: strengthen collaboration among community entities; and reduce substance use among youth. DFC grantees are required to work toward these two goals as the primary focus of their Federally-funded effort.  Grants awarded through the DFC program are intended to support established community-based coalitions capable of effecting community-level change. For the purposes of the DFC program, a coalition is defined as a community-based formal arrangement for cooperation and collaboration among groups or sectors of a community in which each group retains its identity, but all agree to work together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug-free community. Coalitions receiving DFC funds are expected to work with leaders within their communities to identify and address local youth substance use problems and create sustainable community-level change through environmental strategies.

What DFC Funds

The DFC program funds one thing: community coalitions that have formed to address youth substance use.  Communities often understand that local stakeholders and citizens hold the key to solving local problems.  In realizing this, community-based coalitions are created every day in this country.  A typical DFC budget submission includes the salary and benefits of an individual that ensures effective day-to-day operations of the coalition, training and technical assistance for the coalition, travel, and prevention efforts that place emphasis on environmental strategies .  DFC funding can be considered the financial support required to further leverage funding to support the various strategies a community needs in order to solves its youth substance use problems.

 DFC does not fund programs.  DFC does not fund the following (not a fully exhaustive list):

  • Afterschool programs

  • Mentoring programs
  • Sports programs
  • Treatment services/programs/facilities
  • Drug Courts
  • Construction
  • Landscaping/Neighborhood Revitalization Projects 

Current DFC Grantees

Each year, ONDCP funds four types of DFC grants: New, Continuation, Mentoring, and Mentoring Continuation. New grants represent those openly competing for their first or sixth years of DFC funding, while Continuation grants represent "in-cycle" grants in years 2-5 or 7-10 of DFC funding. DFC Mentoring grants are the first of a two-year grant awarded to existing DFC grantees to support their work to create new DFC coalitions. DFC Continuation Mentoring grants represent the second year of the two-year award.

ONDCP has announced $19.8 million in new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants to 147 communities and 19 new DFC Mentoring grants across the country. The awards announced today are in addition to the $59.4 million in DFC continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded DFC coalitions and 4 DFC Mentoring continuation coalitions. These grants provide community coalitions needed support to prevent and reduce youth substance use.

DFC Statutory Eligibility Requirements

The Drug Free Communities Act of 1997, along with subsequent reauthorizations of the DFC Program, has created statutory eligibility requirements that all DFC applicants and currently funded legal grantees (where applicable) and coalitions must follow and be able to demonstrate their compliance at all times (once funded). 

New applicants:  All DFC applications will be jointly screened by ONDCP and SAMHSA to determine whether each applicant meets all of the statutory eligibility requirements. Applications submitted by eligible applicants will then be scored through a peer review process according to the evaluation criteria described in the Request for Applications.   Statutory eligibility requirements, written into the DFC Act, are inherent in the DFC program. Failure to meet any single eligibility requirement will cause an application to be deemed ineligible and the application will not move forward to peer review. Should your application fail to meet the eligibility requirements, the person listed as the contact person on the Application for Federal Assistance will receive a letter stating why the application was deemed ineligible. Final authority lies with the DFC Administrator to determine the eligibility of an applicant.

Continuation applicants:  During the Continuation Application process for DFC grantees in Years 2-4 and 6-9, the legal grantee (where applicable) and coalition  must demonstrate compliance with reasonable and requested evidence for all of the statutory eligibility requirements to be considered for continued funding.  Currently funded DFC coalitions are expected to be in compliance with all statutory eligibility requirements throughout the entire funding cycle for which they are receiving a DFC grant.

Read additional information for current grantees.

Progressive Discipline and Appeals Process

ONDCP and SAMHSA have developed a progressive discipline and appeals process that proactively identifies DFC grantees with fiscal and/or program deficiencies early and to provide the technical assistance and training necessary to help grantees correct the issues before further action is necessary. ONDCP and SAMHSA meet monthly, and additionally, as needed to review the status of grant recipients currently on high-risk status, or who are deemed to be at risk of being placed on high-risk status, suspended, or terminated.  This process includes information on when a grantee can/cannot appeal disciplinary actions.  All DFC grantees are responsible for ensuring their understanding of the DFC Progressive Discipline and Appeals Process.

Read additional information for current grantees