Information for Applicants

New Applicant Workshops

Potential applicants, those applying for the first time (Year One), current grantees applying for a second cycle of five years of funding (Year Six), or former grantees who experienced a lapse in funding during a five-year cycle, are encouraged to attend one of the following new applicant workshops.

To register for a New Applicant Workshop in a location listed below, go to: Once you register, you will receive a confirmation with hotel information so that you may make reservations.

Washington, DC, Friday, February 7, 2014 (near Washington, DC)
Denver, CO, Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Atlanta, GA, Thursday, February 13, 2014

These workshops are not mandatory in order to apply for this grant. These workshops provide technical assistance to help applicants complete their applications. They are not general technical assistance workshops for coalitions. Attendees must read this RFA in advance and come prepared to ask questions related to the completion of an application. After each workshop, a question and answer session will be held to specifically address applicants working with American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

For any applicant who was unable to attend one of the workshops listed above, a "virtual workshop" video series will be available soon. Please continue to check this website for updates.

System for Award Management

Every DFC applicant must have an active registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) at the time of application. SAM replaces the former Central Contractor Registry (CCR). Go to to register your organization today. Please note registration can take up to 72 hours to become active.

Grant Cycle and Timeline

The DFC program operates on the same timeline each year.  ONDCP and SAMHSA post a Request for Applications (RFA) each year in January.  Applications are due 60 days after the RFA posting date (March).  During the open season, the RFA can be found at,, and this website. 

Once applications are received, they go through two screening processes.  The first is related to formatting and other requirements for grants from SAMHSA. The second screening process is to ensure that each applicant is eligible to receive DFC funding.  The statutory eligibility requirements are checked by both ONDCP and SAMHSA.  If an application passes both screening processes, it goes to peer review.  If it does not, the applicant will receive a letter indicating they were screened out by SAMHSA in the first review for not meeting formatting or other requirements (i.e., past the deadline, exceeded Project Narrative page limits, etc.).  If an applicant does not meet all of the statutory eligibility requirements, the second level of review, a letter will be sent via express delivery indicating which requirements were not met.  All correspondence for applications will be sent to the individual listed as the Business Official on the application. 

The DFC program’s peer review pool is comprised of current and former DFC grantees.  Each application is assigned to a panel of three peer reviewers for scoring.  The composite of the three scores becomes the application’s final score.  These final scores are ranked from the highest to the lowest and sent to ONDCP for review.  Upon full completion of all screening processes and review of final scores, ONDCP begins funding with the highest scoring grant until all funds are exhausted.

ONDCP and SAMHSA begin seeking peer reviewers in February of each year.  Peer reviewers are recruited in two ways: a workshop at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) National Leadership Forum and through webinars (information will be posted to this website when recruitment is live).  All peer reviewers are trained and chosen by mid-May of each year.

In late August, the DFC program announces grant awards in two ways.  The first is through Congressional leaders.  ONDCP provides notice to members of Congress 48 hours prior to public posting of grantees on this website.  Then, the names of the grantees are posted to this website and grantees can check to see if their name is listed.

Once new awards are announced, grantees should contact CADCA’s National Coalition Institute (800-542-2322, ext 225) to enroll in the National Coalition Academy.  A mandatory New Grantee Meeting is always held in Washington, DC in the first half of December to acquaint new grantees with their Federal support and with the program’s expectations.

Statutory Eligibility Requirements

All DFC applications will be jointly screened by ONDCP and SAMHSA to determine whether each applicant meets all the DFC program’s statutory eligibility requirements. In addition, the status of the grantee organization will be verified along with its ability to fiscally manage Federal funds. Applications submitted by eligible coalitions that meet all requirements will then be scored through a peer review process according to the evaluation criteria described in the Request for Applications.   Each year of funding, DFC grantees must demonstrate compliance with all of the statutory eligibility requirements to be considered for continued funding. 

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.


Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 1: 12 Sectors Evidence Required:
The coalition must consist of one or more representatives from each of the following required 12 sectors:
  • Youth (18 or younger)
  • Parent
  • Business
  • Media
  • School
  • Youth-serving organization
  • Law enforcement
  • Religious/Fraternal organization
  • Civic/Volunteer groups (i.e., local organizations committed to volunteering, not a coalition member designated as a “volunteer”)
  • Healthcare professional
  • State, local, or tribal governmental agency with expertise in the field of substance abuse (including, if applicable, the State agency with primary authority for substance abuse)
  • Other organization involved in reducing substance abuse

(21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(2)(A))

  1. Each of the required 12 sectors listed in a Sector Table;
  2. Only one person for each sector (the individual involved in the coalition who has the most influence with others in that sector);
  3. The agency/organization each person represents; and
  4. The specific, unique contribution of each individual toward the coalition’s work.

Note: Neither paid staff (current or proposed), nor the person signing the Coalition Involvement Agreement(CIA) on behalf of the coalition (e.g., coalition chair), can serve as a sector representative. Individual sector members may not serve as sector representatives for more than one DFC- funded coalition at a time.

An individual who is a member of the coalition may serve on the coalition as a representative of not more than one sector category. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(2)(C)) Applicants must attach a matching Coalition Involvement Agreement (CIA) from each person listed in the Sector Member Table. A total of 12 CIAs are required. Including more than 12 will not increase the applicant’s score. CIAs cannot be more than 12 months old at the time of application. The name on the CIA, or the name of the person indicated as the sector representative by the person signing the CIA, must match the name in the Sector Member Table. Two signatures are required on each CIA. One signature must be that of the individual listed in the Sector Member Table, and the other must be the signature of someone who represents the coalition. All signatures must be hand written and dated.


Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 2: Six Month Existence Evidence Required:
The coalition must demonstrate that members have worked together on substance abuse reduction initiatives for a period of not less than six months at the time of the application, acting through entities such as task forces, subcommittees, or community boards. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(3)(A)) Applicants must submit two sets of the coalition’s meeting minutes within the time period described below (or in the current posted RFA if one is current published and applications are open). Additional sets of minutes will not increase the applicant’s score. Both sets of meeting minutes must show that the coalition has been actively involved in working to reduce youth substance use in the community and must demonstrate substantial participation from volunteer leaders.
The coalition must also demonstrate substantial participation from volunteer leaders in the community. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(3)(B)) For applicants applying in FY2013 (season opens January 2013-March 2013), one set of minutes must be from a coalition meeting that took place between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2012. The second set of minutes must be from a coalition meeting that took place between October 1, 2012 and the deadline for submission of this application (March 2013). These specific timeframes are used to determine the coalition’s length of existence and current activities. Both sets of minutes must:
  • Represent the coalition’s meetings and not those of an outside agent applying on behalf of a coalition;
  • Include the month, date, and year of the coalition meeting;
  • Indicate that the coalition has been involved in reducing community youth substance use;
  • Demonstrate coalition membership involvement, including, but not limited to, the 12 required sectors (all 12 sectors do not have to be present at all meetings); and
  • Include a list of attendees, noting the sector that each attendee represents.





















Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 3: Mission Statement Evidence Required:
The coalition must have as its principal mission the reduction of substance abuse, which, at a minimum, includes the use and) abuse of drugs in a comprehensive and long-term manner, with a primary focus on youth in the community. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(3)(B)(4)(A) Applicants must provide a copy of the coalition’s mission statement. The statement cannot be that of an outside agent being used as the grantee for a coalition. It must be clear during the eligibility screening process that the mission statement belongs to the applicant coalition and that the principal mission of the coalition is youth substance use reduction and/or prevention.






















Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 4: Multiple Drugs of Abuse Evidence Required:
The coalition must have developed a Strategic/Action Plan to reduce substance use among youth which targets multiple drugs of abuse. Substances may include, but are not limited to, narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, inhalants, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco, where their use is prohibited by Federal, state, or local law. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(4)(D)) Applicants must identify strategies that target, at a minimum, two specific drugs of use. Each drug must be named specifically and individually. For example, a coalition may choose to address alcohol and prescription drugs. This must be specifically outlined and these drugs must be named in the Action Plan. Do not use the following terminology in the application when naming the drugs the coalition will address:
  • ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs)
  • Substances or Substance Use/Abuse
  • Drugs or Drug Use/Abuse

NOTE: The term “prescription drugs” is allowable as a specific targeted substance. However, if desired, you may specify by type or category which prescription drugs the coalition is addressing, if any (e.g., pain killers, stimulants).


Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 5: DFC National Evaluation Requirements Evidence Required:
The coalition must establish a system to measure and report outcomes, established and approved by the DFC Administrator, to the Federal Government. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(5)(A)) Applicants must demonstrate an ability to comply with the National Evaluation requirements for the DFC program.  The following measures have been approved by the DFC Administrator and must be collected by each DFC grantee every two years, on three substances (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drugs) in three grades (6th-12th):
  1. Past 30 day use
  2. Perception of risk or harm
  3. Perception of parental disapproval of use
  4. Perception of peer disapproval of use

Each applicant must provide  the following information:

  1. The name of the survey(s) utilized to collect the data required in the four core measures listed above.
  2. How often/when will the survey(s) be administered for core measure data collection?
  3. What, if any, supplemental survey(s)/data will be used to meet the requirements of the DFC National Cross-Site Evaluation?





















Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 6: Entity Eligible to Receive Federal Grants Evidence Required:
The applicant must demonstrate that the coalition is an ongoing concern by demonstrating that the coalition is a nonprofit organization or has made arrangements with a legal entity that is eligible to receive Federal grants. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(5)(A)) A coalition that is eligible to receive Federal grant funds on its own should simply state that it is a legally eligible entity. If a coalition is not eligible to receive Federal grant funds on its own, it must make arrangements with a legal entity that will apply for the grant on behalf of the coalition and serve as the legal applicant for the grant. In this case, the legal applicant is the recipient of the award, and the entity legally responsible for satisfying the grant requirements, including Terms and Conditions of award. This includes conformance with HHS grantee financial management requirements, fulfilling audit requirements, and reporting financial status, progress, and other related documents. For a coalition not acting as its own grantee, the application must include a completed and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the coalition and the legal entity that will serve as the grantee if awarded the grant. 
Organizations eligible to receive Federal funds as applicants must be legally recognized domestic public or private nonprofit entities. For example, State and local governments; Federally recognized tribes; State recognized tribes; urban Indian organizations (as defined in P.L. 94-437, as amended); public or private universities and colleges; professional associations, voluntary organizations, self-help groups, consumer and provider services-oriented constituency groups; community- and faith-based organizations; and tribal organizations. (HHS Grants Policy Statement, January 1, 2007:  Eligibility, page I-11)
Grantee Financial Management Requirements: Federal regulations governing SAMHSA grants (45 CFR Part 74 and 45 CFR Part 92) provide standards for financial management systems of grantee organizations. To determine whether grantees have financial management systems that conform to those standards, SAMHSA’s Financial Advisory Services Officers (FASO) perform Financial Capability Reviews of new or prospective grantees. Based on a recent report on an audit performed in accordance with OMB Circular A-133, or a combination of financial statements together with accounting and personnel policies & procedures (P&P), FASO will make a determination of the organization’s ability to adequately administer Federal awards. If needed, FASO will request that the grantee take necessary corrective action to conform to the financial management standards. For more information, go to  






















Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 7: Substantial Support from Non-Federal Sources Evidence Required:
The coalition must have a strategy to solicit substantial financial support from non-Federal sources to ensure that the coalition is self-sustaining. (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (a)(5)(C)) & (21 U.S.C 1531 §1032 (b)(1)(A)(i)) Applicants must show at least dollar-for-dollar (1:1) matching funds in their Budget and Budget Narrative. These matching funds must come from non-Federal sources. Matching funds can be in-kind or donations, but must be compliant with Federal regulations regarding allowable expenses.

Applicants must itemize the matching funds separately in the Budget (SF-424A found within the PHS 5161-1) and explain the matching funds separately in the Budget Narrative.  

Note:  Federal funds appropriated for substance abuse activities of a coalition that includes a representative of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service, or a tribal government agency with expertise in the field of substance abuse may be counted as match.






















Eligibility Requirement Item: Evidence Required and Where to Document
Requirement 8: Federal Request Evidence Required:
The applicant must not request more than $125,000 in Federal funds per year (PL 109-469 §803) The budget may not show a request for Federal funds exceeding $125,000/year, excluding Federal match from Requirement 6 above.






















Environmental Prevention Strategies





















Environmental strategies are based on evidence that substance abuse is a product of multiple environmental conditions and circumstances. Environmental strategies incorporate prevention efforts aimed at changing or influencing community conditions, standards, institutions, structures, systems, and policies. More specifically, environmental strategies seek to: (1) limit access to substances; (2) change the culture and context within which decisions about substance use are made; and/or (3) shift the consequences associated with youth substance use. Examples can be found in the table below. 

Today, ample evidence exists that well-conceived and implemented policies—local, state, and national—can reduce community-level alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems. Environmentally-based approaches reach entire populations and reduce collective risk, making them cost effective prevention strategies. Applicants should be mindful that the DFC program requires the planning and implementation of environmental strategies as part of their comprehensive efforts to reduce youth substance use.

Environmental Strategy Description
Enhance Access/Reduce Barriers Improving systems/processes to increase the ease, ability, and opportunity to utilize those systems and services (e.g., assuring transportation, housing, education, safety, and cultural sensitivity) in prevention initiatives.
Reduce Access/Enhance Barriers Improving systems/processes to decrease the ease, ability, and opportunity for youth to access substances (e.g., raising the price of single-serve cans of alcohol, implementing retail alcohol/tobacco compliance checks).
Change Consequences (Incentives/Disincentives) Increasing or decreasing the probability of a behavior by altering the consequences for performing that behavior (e.g., increasing taxes, citations, and fines; revocation/loss of driver’s license).
Physical Design Changing the physical design of the environment to reduce risk or enhance protection (e.g., re-routing foot/car traffic, adjusting park hours, alcohol/tobacco outlet density). Note: DFC Federal funds cannot support landscape and lighting projects. As such, costs for these projects cannot be used as match.
Modify/Change Policies Formal change in written procedures, by-laws, proclamations, rules, or laws (e.g., workplace initiatives, law enforcement procedures and practices, public policy actions, systems change). Note: Lobbying with Federal dollars is not permitted. As such, costs for lobbying cannot be used as match.





















For more information on environmental strategies, please see Although this publication lists Seven Strategies for Community Change on page 19, only Strategies 4-7 are considered environmental prevention strategies.





















How to Apply for a DFC Grant

The DFC program posts the Request for Applications (RFA) in January of each year.  Potential applicants can find the DFC RFA at, and on the ONDCP website.  It is imperative that applicants use the correct RFA when applying.  RFAs can look similar, but the DFC RFA changes each year, so check the cover page to ensure that you are using the correct RFA.  We do not recommend reading or using previously submitted and/or funded applications, as this can confuse RFA versions. 

In addition to the RFA, ONDCP posts multiple technical assistance aids for the RFA to include videos and Frequently Asked Questions to assist potential applications in completing their application.  Listed within the RFA will also be the sites for live workshops on the RFA, but what is available online is the exact product in the live workshops (without the Question and Answer sessions, but we take the most frequently asked questions in the workshops and post that to the website).

Applicants must follow the RFA as it is written and in its entirety.  The RFA is typically comprised of specific parts:  Community Overview (one page, not scored), Project Narrative (scored, has a page limit), Budget/Budget Narrative (scored, has a page limit) and the Attachments (not scored, Statutory Eligibility Requirement evidence).  All parts must be included in your application as outlined in the RFA.

We recommend that applicants use caution when uploading documents to  The system is not customized for the purposes of all the attachments that the DFC RFA requires and there have been instances where DFC applications were deemed ineligible in initial screening because not all of the parts of the application arrived when submitted on  Until a new system is completed which supports the specifics of the DFC RFA, we recommend that applicants submit their application using the paper method.

Get your application in on time.  You can begin to collect the Statutory eligibility requirements today.  Do not depend on overnight delivery of your application.  Send it about a week in advance of the posted due date.  If it is late, it will be deemed ineligible.

Within 30 days of submitting your application, the individual listed as the Business Official will receive notification from SAMSHA that your application has been received.  If you do not receive this notification, contact Cynthia Riddick at