Advocacy Grants Program

2018/2019 Cycle

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) offers two grants programs. The Promoting Policy Change fund supports cutting edge drug policy reform organizations, mostly working on the local level. The Special Opportunities fund primarily supports time-sensitive drug policy reform opportunities that crop up in the United States.

For both funds, all applicants should be aware that the Drug Policy Alliance Advocacy Grants Program seeks to advance drug policy reform at the local, state, and national levels. While the program supports a range of drug policy reform work, we currently prioritize efforts that offer groundbreaking or far-reaching results in these areas:

  1. Eliminating or reducing criminal penalties for drug possession, and reducing the role of the criminal justice system as a response to drug use.
  2. Promoting a health-based approach to drug use through innovative harm reduction projects – particularly overdose prevention and programs similar to those in Canada and parts of Europe.
  3. Advancing marijuana policy reform, including, marijuana decriminalization, regulation to allow adults legal access to marijuana for personal use, and medical marijuana.
  4. Informing and shaping public opinion across the political spectrum by utilizing cutting edge strategies to call attention to the failure of the drug war, provoke debate about the its role in the “New Jim Crow,” promote sensible alternatives, and/or give voice to drug policy reform advocates not traditionally heard from in the drug policy debate.
  5. Organizing with groups who are affected by the drug war – including formerly incarcerated people, people of color, young people, women, LGBTQ people, low-income people and immigrants.

The Advocacy Grants Program is steered by two staff and a grants review committee. Please see below for the details about applying for either of the two funds offered by DPA.

1. Promoting Policy Change

Through this $750,000 fund we seek to build strong, collaborative relationships between DPA and our funded partners. To that extent, we regularly engage grantees via monthly conference calls, an annual partners meeting, and at the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference. For the latter two, additional resources are available to partners.

We require a letter of intent to initiate the process. Within about three weeks of the LOI’s due date, we will notify applicants whether or not to proceed with the proposal process.  If you are invited to proceed, we will send you an application.

This fund is open only to organizations that have submitted a letter of intent and are subsequently invited to apply. The LOI must be emailed to by midnight (Eastern) on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Generally, Promoting Policy Change grants are capped at $50,000, with typical grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000.

Once an organization has been invited to apply, its proposal will go through a rigorous vetting process. Notifications about eligibility to apply will be made on or before June 1, 2018. Proposals will then be due on or before 8 p.m. (Eastern) on June 26, 2018 with final decisions made by the end of September.

Get more information about PPC grants.

See our list of current partners.

2. Special Opportunities

This $400,000 annual funding cycle supports projects that respond to or take advantage of strategic public education efforts and campaigns to block drug war initiatives or advance drug policy reform. Preference is given to those projects that are time-sensitive. Grants are made on an ongoing basis subject to the availability of funds. All organizations are eligible to submit one proposal every six months. Generally, the cap on grants for this fund is $25,000, with the average grant being $5,000 to $10,000. The Advocacy Grants Review Committee reviews application materials and makes final funding recommendations. Proposals are due to the Drug Policy Alliance by 8pm (Eastern) on the first business day of the month via email to

Get the cover sheet and more information here.

Restrictions on Grant Making

  • The Advocacy Grants Program does not support the production of videos or films.
  • The Program does not support fundraising activities and events such as galas.
  • The Program occasionally supports research projects or publications that complement ongoing advocacy efforts, though it generally does not support academic or journalistic projects.
  • The Program does not support capital expenditures.
  • The Program does not support direct service.
  • The Program does not provide support to individuals.
  • The Program does not fund any organizations outside of the United States.
  • In rare exceptions, we will consider proposals from Canada.
  • The Program does not support punitive abstinence-only treatment programs or advocacy for such programs.
  • While modest funds are available through the Special Opportunities fund to support drug policy reform efforts that seek to influence local, state and/or national legislation, requests for such funding are likely to be highly competitive given the limited amount of funds available. Funds are not available through the Promoting Policy Change fund for these efforts.
  • The Special Opportunities fund is intended for project-based efforts, rather than general operating support.