Grant Seeking: Finding A Fit

Grants are opportunities to expand program offerings as well as specialize and build expertise.

A grant award is a recognition of the applicant’s commitment to serve. However, a grant submission is an initial commitment of vision and resources for the applicant. Each submission narrative is a strategic planning roadmap of need, capacity, strengths, community recognition and support, and a promise of performance. The submission must make sense in its flow of content and build a narrative that speaks to the applicant’s current understanding, expertise, mission, services and compelling ability to actualize new care and services.

How does one go about finding the ‘right’ grant to apply for?

How does a grant submission start?

Government grants can be found on, which lists the steps below for grant seekers.

  1. Learn: Go to the Grants Learning Center for an overview of grants.
  2. Check: Make sure you are eligible before applying.
  3. Search: Find federal grants that align with your work.
  4. Register: Sign up with to apply using Workspace.
  5. Apply: Complete and submit your application using Workspace.
  6. Track: Enter your tracking number(s) for submission status.

While the above steps are very succinct and simple, experienced grant seekers know there is a process for each step, and knowing which grant you will be the most competitive applicant for is an essential first step. Below is the list of anticipated areas of focus for the grant season beginning fall 2017.

Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED)

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 41 awards will be made.

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 57 awards will be made.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 56 awards will be made.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Projects of Regional and National Significance

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 815 awards will be made.

Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grants

  • Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available

PPHF Cooperative Agreements for Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Electronic Health Record (EHR) Integration and Interoperability Expansion

  • Fiscal Year 2018: Multi-year funding for a total of two 12 month incremental periods within a two-year/24-month project period.

Opioid STR

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 55 awards will be made.

CARA Act – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

  • Anticipated Total Available Funding:$2,750,000.
  • Estimated Award Amount: Up to $50,000.

Block Grants for Community Mental Health Services

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 59 awards will be made.

Mental Health Disaster Assistance and Emergency Mental Health

  • Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment

  • Fiscal Year 2018: It is estimated 16 awards will be made.

Although the grant season has started with the first SAMHSA funding opportunity announcement (FOA), it’s not too late for organizational planning level work to identify which grants fit you best.  Start building a framework that details how your organization is a competitive applicant by identifying the following elements:

  • outstanding performance data,
  • populations of need and interest,
  • innovative treatment designs addressing barriers to care, and
  • unique community positioning.

Strategically target grant releases that demonstrate a fit with these elements. Finding your fit is an essential first step toward a compelling and competitive grant submission.