Advocacy Grants Program: Special Opportunities Fund Proposal Guidelines

Special Opportunities is not awarding funds in May. Please submit your proposal by June 3rd, 2019 for the next round of consideration.

What is the Special Opportunities Fund?

Special Opportunities is a revolving fund that supports cutting-edge drug policy reform opportunities that arise throughout the year.

We are currently interested in efforts that prioritize:

  • Eliminating or reducing criminal penalties for drug possession, and reducing the role of the criminal justice system as a response to drug use and sales.
  • Promoting a health-based approach to drug use through innovative harm reduction projects.
  • Advancing equitable marijuana policy reform, including: decriminalization, medical use, legalization for adult personal use, record sealing and expungement.
  • Developing public education initiatives directed at a wide range of audience that promote responsible, reparative and just solutions to ending the drug war.
  • Promoting leadership and expertise of those directly impacted by the drug war, including individuals associated with drugs and drug usage, individuals incarcerated for association with drugs, and communities of color.
  • Organizing groups most directly affected by the drug war – including formerly incarcerated persons; communities of color; women, trans, and gender–nonconforming individuals; immigrant communities; and under-resourced communities.

We favor public education efforts that speak to: (1) the failures and consequences of drug policies in the U.S. and the potential benefits of alternatives to prohibition; (2) reducing over-reliance on the criminal justice system by raising awareness of the need for alternatives to incarceration and/or health-based approaches to drug use; (3) discrimination in employment, housing, student loans and other benefits against those who use drugs or who have been convicted of drug law violations; (4) the negative consequences of current drug policies on human rights; and (5) efforts that mobilize people around the disproportionate impact of the drug war on communities of color and youth.

How Do I Apply?

Step One – Prepare Your Proposal

Special Opportunities is a revolving fund that supports cutting-edge drug policy reform opportunities 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.

Download the Application & Proposal Guidelines (PDF)

Step Two – Submit Your Proposal


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