Skip to content ↓
Press Room

As Overdose Rates Spiral in Black Communities, Vital Strategies and Scattergood Foundation Launch $450,000 Grants Program To Advance Racial Equity in Pennsylvania 

BIPOC-led community-based organizations can apply through October 30, 2023

September 20, 2023 (Pennsylvania)—The United States is in the midst of the worst overdose crisis in its history. Over 100,000 lives were lost nationally in 2022, including over 5,000 in Pennsylvania alone. Overdose rates continue to rise sharply for Black and Indigenous Americans and by the close of 2022, the overdose death rate among Black Pennsylvanians was more than double that of white residents.    

To address the surge in overdose deaths in communities of color, public health organization Vital Strategies and The Scattergood Foundation are partnering to provide grant funding to community-based organizations and partnerships led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Funded projects will focus on racial disparities in overdose deaths and promoting harm reduction throughout Pennsylvania.  

“Communities know best what they need, and the best and fastest way to address increasing overdose rates among Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in Pennsylvania is to resource leaders and groups already operating within these communities,” said Dana Kurzer-Yashin, Program Manager at Vital Strategies. “We’re honored to offer this opportunity to BIPOC-led organizations working for racial justice in their own communities.”   

Vital Strategies and The Scattergood Foundation are releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be completed by October 30, 2023 11:59 PM ET. Up to nine organizations will receive funding for one year to address inequity caused by racism and poverty, and to promote health-based harm reduction approaches to substance use in their communities. Funds can be used for community training and education, community organizing and base-building, direct service provision, capacity building, and other innovative strategies.  

“We can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to reducing overdose in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color; this work requires deep engagement, relationship-building, and collaboration,” said Joe Pyle, President of Scattergood Foundation. “Our team hopes to engage organizations who may be new to working with people who use drugs to bring new ideas and perspectives to this work.” 

The total fund allotted to this project is $450,000, which will be awarded to up to nine grantees for funding of up to $50,000 each. All RFP documents can be found here.  

Vital Strategies and the Scattergood Foundation will be hosting a webinar on October 2, 2023 to discuss the RFP and the submission process for any interested potential grantees. Registration for the webinar can be found here.

About Vital Strategies     

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our overdose prevention program works to strengthen and scale evidence-based, data-driven policies and interventions to create equitable and sustainable reductions in overdose deaths. Work across seven U.S. states is supported by funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018, and by targeted investments from other partners.   

Learn more at  

About the Scattergood Foundation

The Scattergood Foundation believes major disruption is needed to build a stronger, more effective, compassionate, and inclusive health care system—one that improves well-being and quality of life as much as it treats illness and disease. At the Foundation, we THINK, DO, and SUPPORT in order to establish a new paradigm for behavioral health, which values the unique spark and basic dignity in every human. 

Learn more at