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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS to Reduce Drug-Related Harms Among Communities of Color


Vital Strategies is the lead technical and implementation partner for a Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported initiative to tackle the overdose epidemic in the United States. Its Overdose Prevention Program supports partners and stakeholders in establishing effective policy and program models to reduce overdose deaths in two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where fatalities are among the highest in the country. 

For this RFP, Vital Strategies is collaborating with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) to support local community-based organizations (CBOs) and partnerships in addressing harms caused by the ‘War on Drugs’ on Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) populations. This includes community training and education, community organizing and base-building, system or policy assessments, capacity building, direct service provision and other innovative strategies that work to advance principles of harm reduction, de-stigmatize people who use drugs, and promote racial justice and equity in structural and institutional responses to drug use.  

Organizational Eligibility

  • CBOs that are led by BIPOC OR collaborations between organizations in which at least one is led by a BIPOC
  • CBOs or partnerships that individually or together serve communities that are majority BIPOC
  • Supportive of a harm reduction approach to drug use
  • Committed to addressing the root causes of social/racial injustice at a community-level 
  • Engaged with Philadelphia’s most under-resourced neighborhoods
  • CBOs need not have a work history of engagement in activities and issues related to drug use

Primary expectations of awardees:

  • Participation in the Racial Equity Harm Reduction Workgroup to be convened with awardees 
  • Participation of relevant project staff and/or members in minimum of two, half-day harm reduction trainings
  • Execution of projects that work towards the advancement of Racial Equity in harm reduction and overdose prevention

The maximum allowable funding request per agency is $50,000 for a total of 3-5 awards. The grant period is 9 months, anticipated to begin on January 1, 2021, and funding is non-renewable; this is a one-time-only award.

Recorded webinar on grant opportunity and applications here with supporting pdf slides here.

Questions can be submitted to

Full application due Monday, November 30, 2020. Submit to