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Request for Proposal: New Jersey Drug User Health and Harm Reduction Racial Equity Grant

Proposal Due Dates:

February 16th, 2023Proposal due
February 22ndth, 2023Notification of decision
March 8st, 2023Funding begins

NOTE: Please see the “More Information” PDF linked to the right for all RFP information, materials, and timelines.


Vital Strategies is the lead partner for states’ work in the Bloomberg Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018 to tackle the overdose crisis in the United States. We are bringing a comprehensive approach to reduce overdose deaths in seven U.S. states where fatalities are among the highest in the country. Along with our Initiative partners—Pew Charitable Trusts, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, CDC Foundation, and Global Health Advocacy Incubator—Vital Strategies is working to establish effective policy and program models that can be adapted and implemented across the country. 

The crisis of overdose is affecting US communities everywhere. Progress against the still rising rates will require leadership across levels of government, and from communities, providers, institutions, and advocates. Leadership must include people who use drugs. We strive to promote innovation, improve quality, build scale, and ensure sustainability, grounded in data and evidence, and focused on racial equity. Our approach is multidisciplinary, inclusive, and responsive to local conditions. 

Overdose fatalities are at an all-time high in Black and Indigenous communities in the United States. Over the past two years, we have seen national overdose death rates among Black men increase rapidly, and at a dramatically faster rate than white men.[1] This national trend is mirrored in New Jersey.[2] Historically, these populations have been disregarded for their drug use, primarily due to the War on Drugs and structural racism. As a consequence, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) drug users have not received the same level of care and support as their white counterparts, and are now experiencing exponential increases in overdose. These data demonstrate that overdose prevention and harm reduction services must focus on Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color communities to effectively reverse these trends.


Vital Strategies is requesting proposals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-lead organizations to provide racially equitable Harm Reduction services to people who use drugs (PWUD) within the state of New Jersey. These services should be provided through means of outreach so to meet the population where they are and to reduce as many barriers as possible. The goal of this project is to increase awareness of safer use practices and to reduce the incidence of negative health effects and the number of fatal overdoses among BIPOC PWUD in New Jersey. Additionally, Vital Strategies asks that participating organizations enhance their own Harm Reduction knowledge and understanding, as well as work with fellow grassroots organizations and state-wide organizations to share lessons learned and best practices. 

Funding will be for one year, beginning March 1st, 2023, and is not to exceed $95,000. Vital Strategies plans to fund up to programs. 

Organization Requirements 

  • Must be one of the following: 501(C)(3), Have a fiscal sponsor, mutual aid group 
  • BIPOC-lead 
  • Must provide services to Black and POC people who use drugs
  • Participate in monthly harm reduction network meeting
  • Staff that represent the population being served
  • Regular meetings with Vital Strategies to discuss program implementation, successes, and hurdles. 
  • Submit progress reports to Vital Strategies on a quarterly basis.
    • Due Dates: June 15th, 2023; September 15th, 2023; January 15th, 2024; March 15th, 2024 (4th quarter and cumulative report)

Service Requirements

  • Work in coordination with BIPOC-led service providers to share knowledge and best practices and build relationships to support service delivery. 
    • To include stakeholders from various agencies and community-based organizations and people with lived experience
  • Measurable linkage to; care for individuals with STIs and use-related infections, mental health and substance use therapies, MOUD, recovery supports, etc. 
    • Linkages can be coordinated through partnerships with other organizations
  • Increase in knowledge and understanding of Harm Reduction among program staff
  • Expansion of services provided measured by the number of persons served and number of supplies disseminated

Proposal Requirements

Provide a narrative to each section listed below using this Google form

  1. Organization Contact
  2. Organizational background 
  3. Your organization’s space and working hours
  4. Project description
  5. Budget
  6. Evaluation and Sustainability
  7. Technical assistance needs

For the Applicant 

  • If you have any questions please contact Lindsey at
    • Find some recently asked questions and their replies here.
  • Submit all proposals using this Google form
  • Budget Template can be found here


February 16th, 2023Proposal due
February 22ndth, 2023Notification of decision
March 8st, 2023Funding begins

If you have any questions please contact Lindsey at