Advocacy Grants Program: Special Opportunities Fund Proposal Guidelines

Proposals are due on the first business day of the month by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern).

What is the Special Opportunities Fund?

Special Opportunities is a revolving fund that supports cutting-edge drug policy reform projects that arise throughout the year. These projects should have detailed measurable short- and long-term outcomes focused specifically on policy or advocacy work. 

Please review the list of restrictions prior to starting your application.

Below are examples of projects funded by the Special Opportunities program in 2019:

Black Futurists Group (Atlanta, GA)
The Black Futurists Group was funded to support the development, launch, and initial implementation of the Black Futurists Group’s Harvest Initiative.

Goal of the project: To organize and equip diverse stakeholders within the Black community with the tools to develop and advance policies that increase minority participation and ownership within Georgia soon-to-be established legal medical marijuana industry.

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (Washington, DC)
Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) was funded to support their work to decrease the number of people entering the detention-deportation pipeline as a result of charges or convictions related to drug offenses through impact litigation.

Goals of the project:

  • To increase their capacity to provide information about immigration consequences related to drug offenses among immigrants and defense counsel.
  • To expand community know your rights presentations and consultations, trainings, and legal resources for the criminal bar.

Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition (Cedar Rapids, IA)
Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition (IHRC) was funded to center drug policy reform and criminal justice reform within the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate race.

Goals of the project:

  • To provide Iowans with education about drug policy and the candidates’ related policy positions through four strategies.
  • To capitalize on the interest of Iowans in the caucus in order to engage new community members in drug policy, criminal justice, and harm reduction advocacy, and thus build their base of advocates who are organizing to drive Iowa state-level policy change.

Philadelphia Drug Users’ Union (Philadelphia, PA)
Philadelphia Drug Users’ Union (PDUU) was funded to support the planning of several demonstrations/exhibits about overdose prevention sites across Philadelphia.

Goals of the project:

  • To increase general knowledge about the concept of overdose prevention sites.
  • To develop harm reduction-based educational material specific to the needs of Philadelphians for distribution.

Texas Harm Reduction Alliance (Austin, TX)
Texas Harm Reduction Alliance (THRA) was funded to advance harm reduction and drug policy legislation during Texas’ 86th Legislative session.

Goals of the project:

  • To formalize a statewide harm reduction coalition, the first of its kind in Texas.
  • To organize harm reduction groups across the state to strategize together and build power to legalize syringe exchange in 2021.
  • To further develop their statewide policy priorities, build their base of supporters, and train harm reduction experts to be effective legislative advocates.

Urban Survivors Union (National)
Urban Survivors Union (USU), the only national drug user union, was funded to host a drug user planning meeting prior to the DPA Reform Conference in St. Louis. 

Goals of the project:

  • To bring a minimum of 30 drug user representatives, including at least 8 sex worker representatives.
  • To finalize the union’s constitution and determine their voting and leadership structure.
  • To develop an advocacy and mobilization plan.

How Do I Apply?

Step One – Prepare Your Proposal

Special Opportunities is a revolving fund that supports cutting-edge drug policy reform projects that arise throughout the year. Grants are made on a monthly basis.

Organizations are eligible to submit one proposal every six months. The cap on grants for this fund is $25,000, with the average grant being $5,000 to $10,000. 

Organizations may only submit one proposal within a six month period and may only be awarded one Special Opportunities grant within 12 months. Additionally, organizations that receive Promoting Policy Change funds will be subject to an even higher level of review.

Please review the list of restrictions prior to starting your application.

Step Two – Submit Your Proposal

Start the application now.

Deadline – 11:59 PM (EASTERN), FIRST BUSINESS DAY OF THE MONTH

If you have any questions, please email the Grants & Partnerships team at grants@drugpolicy.org.