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Deadline: February 1, 2018

Open Society Foundation: U.S. Programs Drug Policy Project – Impact and Innovation Grant Fund

The Open Society Foundation’s U.S. Programs Drug Policy Project aims to support alternatives to mass criminalization and mass incarceration as a response to drug use, addiction related behaviors, sex work, and subsistence driven trade, and to strengthen proactive community-driven health services and provide resources for interventions made prior to or instead of arrests. Open Society grants will support high-quality pre-arrest and pre-booking diversion programs that reduce arrests and incarceration and provide participants with effective harm reduction interventions shown to improve the health and safety of individuals and community wellbeing.

The Impact and Innovation Grant Fund will support arrest diversion programs to access technical assistance from top diversion and harm reduction experts (detailed below) in order to demonstrate and measure their impact and improve the quality of their interventions. Impact and Innovation grants must be used to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Programs divert those who face the greatest risk of incarceration for substantial periods of time, including those who do not qualify for, or have been underrepresented in, traditional pre-adjudication diversion programs
  • Programs energize critical stakeholders to innovate, apply heightened standards, and remove institutional barriers to success
  • Programs are aligned with harm reduction principles, operate with fidelity to evidence informed health practices, and empower peer-led, and community-driven resource interventions
  • Programs develop and promote mechanisms for sustainable service coverage and funding for interventions

Specifically, grants will fund community based arrest diversion programs in pursuing the desired outcomes by supporting grantees’ engagement with a core group of national technical assistance (TA) experts. TA service providers and services are detailed below:

  • Community Catalyst (www.communitycatalyst.org) is a national advocacy organization dedicated to advancing health justice by empowering consumers and communities to help make the health system more responsive, effective, and equitable using strategies of policy analysis, strategic communications, grassroots organizing, coalition building, issue campaigns, and resource development. It will provide the following TA services to grantees: support to help build the capacity of projects to advocate effectively for their programs with policymakers and health system stakeholders. This includes engaging health plans and health care providers in offering culturally competent pre-arrest diversion services, and developing sustainable funding streams within the health system. Contact: Alice Dembner, adembner@communitycatalyst.org.
  • Haywood Burns Institute: (www.burnsinstitute.org) eliminates racial disparity by building a community-centered response to provide alternatives to detention that are equitable and restorative. It facilitates a collaborative environment where community and system stakeholders use data to reduce racial disparities; and supports capacity building of families and organizations to redirect resources to community-based interventions, reducing system involvement. The Burns Institute will provide the following TA services to grantees: support to help tailor diversion programs toward specific reductions in racial and ethnic disparities. Grantees can consult on building working partnerships between criminal justice systems and community based organizations toward creating effective diversion processes and programs. Burns Institute can also support the creation of leadership development opportunities inside diversion programming. No contact listed.
  • LEAD National Support Bureau: (www.leadbureau.org) supports and implements core principles for sustainable, transformative police diversion practices that advance racial equity, improve participant well-being, and meet neighborhood public safety needs. LEAD will provide the following TA services to grantees: to support and improve: 1) project management; 2) the coordination of engagement with prosecutorial partners and law enforcement; 3) harm reduction-based case management; and 4) engagement with community public safety groups. Contact: Lisa Daugaard, lisa.daugaard@defender.org.
  • Pathways to Housing DC (www.pathwaystohousingdc.org) is dedicated to transforming individual lives by ending homelessness and supporting recovery for people with psychiatric disabilities and addiction through the Housing First program. Housing First is founded on principles of consumer choice and self-determination, prioritizes the provision of immediate access permanent supportive housing, and serves as a platform for the provision of support and treatment to pursue personal goals. Pathways to Housing will provide the following TA services to grantees: to assist projects interested in establishing or deepening Housing First programs, in the context of either an independent program or of a community-wide approach for homeless services. Pathways will provide training and implementation support in: 1) the Housing First program model; 2) identification of potential funding streams for housing and case management; 3) certification; and 4) communication strategies to educate other providers, government agencies, community landlords, and communities about the effectiveness of Housing First initiatives. Contact: Christy Respress, crespress@pathwaysdc.org.

The Impact and Innovation Grants selection process will prioritize proposals that demonstrate equitable community engagement strategies where affected populations are involved in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of harm reduction and diversion initiatives. Open Society will prioritize funding for interventions that are informed by data on specific populations entering local justice systems through partnerships with academic, governmental, nonprofit, consumer, advocacy, research, and other stakeholders. Open Society will support interventions that seek to divert populations traditionally ineligible for diversion such as individuals deemed ‘high risk’ or charged with felony or aggravated crimes. Open Society understands that successful diversion programs will need to secure a formal diversion agreement between community providers and police (jail administration or prosecutors if pre-booking). Open Society is interested in proposals that seek to build or strengthen such working relationships. Finally, Open Society seeks to support interventions that engage participants in effective diversion and harm reduction programming, leadership development, housing with supports and programs seeking to develop, measure, or secure certification of new best practices or evidence-informed interventions.

Amount: Grants range up to $75,000. Requests above $25,000 must demonstrate a commitment of at least $25,000 in the budget from another source of funding. The program period is for two years. Approximately 60-70% of the grant funds should be used to access the services of the four pre-screened TA providers (described above). The remaining budget may be allocated to overhead costs (staff time for meetings, training, integration, etc.) and direct costs (staff salaries, travel, meetings) necessary for organizational partnership with the TA provider.

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations (including advocacy groups and social service providers); public agencies; and federally recognized Native American and Indian tribal governments. Applicants should: 1) be located within the U.S.; 2) be currently collaborating on an active arrest diversion program, or wish to shift a pre-adjudication or pre-booking program into an earlier intervention prior to arrest; and 3) be ready to access the services of technical assistance experts to meet specifically identified areas of needed improvement.

Link: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/impact-and-innovation-grant-fund-20171013

Note: The application cycle opens on December 1, 2017.

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