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Grant Writing Workshop

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  1. Grant WritingWorkshop David Shillcutt, J.D. 240-276-1020

  2. SAMHSA’s Funding Priorities • SAMHSA’s grant programs are focused on improving the quality and availability of mental health services and substance abuse prevention and treatment services nationwide • For an overview of SAMHSA’s eight Strategic Initiatives, please see our strategic plan, “Leading Change,” available at

  3. Center for Mental Health Services • Expand the availability and accessibility of high-quality, community-based services for adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances • Mental Health Services Block Grant • Discretionary grant programs

  4. Center for Mental Health Services • System of Care Expansion Implementation Cooperative Agreements • National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative - Category II: Treatment and Service Adaptation Centers

  5. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention • Improve the quality of substance abuse prevention practices in communities nationwide • Discretionary grant programs provide States, communities, organizations, and families with tools to promote protective factors and to reduce risk factors for substance abuse

  6. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention • Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success II • Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act Grants (STOP Act) • Drug Free Communities

  7. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment • Promote the quality and availability of community-based substance abuse treatment services for individuals and families • Substance Abuse Treatment (SABG) Block Grant Program • Discretionary grant programs • or 1-800-662-HELP

  8. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment • FY 2012 Supplements for Rapid HIV Testing • Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity In Adult and Family Drug Courts • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers

  9. Availability and Timing • Some grants are available each year for several years • Other Requests for Applications (RFAs) are posted only in fiscal years when Congress appropriates funds for the program • Follow the development of the federal budget, and watch for increases or cuts to line items that are relevant to your work

  10. Availability and Timing • Some grants are awarded for a multiple year period • Funds for subsequent years are distributed on an annual basis as non-competing Continuation Awards

  11. Availability and Timing • RFAs are posted throughout the fiscal year • Deadlines vary, but are usually 30-60 days from posting. Application receipt dates are included in every RFA.

  12. Availability and Timing • The best way to find out what grants are available at any given time is to check our website, • Sign up on to be notified whenever a new SAMHSA grant is posted.

  13. Review Process • Applications are assigned to committees of three or more reviewers • Applications are screened for compliance with specific application requirements • Each application is considered and scored only in accordance with the Request for Applications (RFA) and its published review criteria

  14. Review Process • Only what is actually written in the application can be considered • Reviewers assess the quality of your response to the evaluation criteria found in the project narrative of the funding announcement • Reviewers assign points for each section of the project narrative

  15. Review Process • All expenditures must be adequately justified, but the budget is not a merit issue and does not have a part in determining the score of an application • If the award meets a defined threshold of $150,000 or more, the Center’s National Advisory Council will perform a second level of review

  16. Review Process • A summary statement is sent to every applicant to summarize the reviewers’ assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the application • May also include comments on budget and participant protection issues

  17. Review Process • Reviewers are chosen for their experience and expertise in the relevant field • Review groups represent geographic, gender, and ethnic diversity, especially with regard to the specific population targeted by the grant • Standards to avoid conflict of interest are strictly followed

  18. Preparation and Planning • Given the short turn-around of many RFA postings, it is essential to begin your planning process early • Set up an alert on to notify you of newly-announced grants in your field • Sign up for SAMHSA’s newsletter • Visit regularly

  19. Preparation and Planning • Anticipate and pre-plan—don’t wait until the announcement is published • Find out what requirements are likely to apply to your application by reading previous RFAs for your grant program or similar ones

  20. Preparation and Planning • Read the grant application manuals (available on our website) and required Federal forms • Begin gathering relevant data • Obtain licenses, certifications, assurances, and letters of support you will need

  21. Preparation and Planning • Develop partnerships to strengthen your application • Some grants require certain types of partnerships as a condition of eligibility • Other grant applications ask you to discuss partnerships to show community understanding and involvement

  22. Pitfalls to Avoid • Read the instructions in the RFA very carefully and follow them to the letter • Familiarize yourself with all screenout requirements • Read SAMHSA’s materials on cultural competence carefully and ensure that they are fully incorporated into your proposal • Build time into your schedule for an independent review of your application

  23. Additional Resources • • Technical Assistance Manual • Formatting requirements • SAMHSA grant application forms • Single State Agencies directory • Guidelines for assessing cultural competence • Guidelines for consumer and family participation

  24. Additional Resources • National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices (NREPP) • Data sources to guide your grant application (DAWN, NSDUH, etc.) • Webinars with specific guidance for currently-available grants • 1-877-SAMHSA7 •