Blue Ribbon Coalition Initiative

The 2024 Blue Ribbon Coalition Initiative

Thank you for your interest in becoming a 2024 CADCA Blue Ribbon Coalition! This is your opportunity to receive national recognition from CADCA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for achieving evidence-based and positive community-level outcomes.

Blue Ribbon is the only community credential awarded to coalitions for their proven coalition products and successful community outcomes.

The Application Process

The application process draws on the products used by coalitions and their contributions to community level outcomes.

This is a two-phase application process. In Phase I, NCI will review and score each of the coalition’s products (e.g., Community Assessment, Logic Model, etc.). Coalitions meeting a certain threshold score will achieve Blue Ribbon Coalition status and advance to Phase II.

Advancing finalists will be invited to tell their coalition’s story of how they have contributed to changes in their community-level outcomes. The highest scoring Phase II applicants will receive a prestigious award in one of the following categories:

Coalition in Focus: Short-term Outcomes
Coalition of Excellence: Intermediate Outcomes
Coalition of the Year: Long-term Outcomes

ALL coalitions are welcome to apply. Coalitions in year two of their Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant are recommended to apply.

**Blue Ribbon Coalition is a two-year certification. Once two years have passed, coalitions can re-earn their certification status through the Blue Ribbon Application process. Coalitions who re-apply before the two years are expired and achieve Blue Ribbon Coalition status will have their two-year status restarted.

Application Details + Requirements

Download the full application package which includes:

  • Application Requirements
  • Application Steps and Submission
  • Coalition Product Templates
  • Phase I Grading Rubric

For any questions, email

Application Support

If you would like additional assistance and feedback on your application products before submission, please reach out to the Coalition Development Support team at or book an appointment with them and mention “Blue Ribbon Application.”

2024 Blue Ribbon Application Timeline (subject to change)

CADCA Announces Blue Ribbon Application Process Apr. 2
Phase I applicant informational webinar (must pre-register before webinar date)Apr. 18, 2PM EST
Phase I applications due to NCIJun. 28
Phase I applications reviewed by NCI trainersJul. 3 – Aug. 16
NCI notifies finalists and announce Blue Ribbon Coalitions Week of Aug. 19
Phase I finalists technical assistance providedAug. 21 – Sept. 20
Phase II applications due to NCISept. 23
Phase II applications reviewed by NCI TrainersSept. 25 – Oct. 25
Phase II winners notified!Week of Oct. 28
Winners contacted regarding 2025 National Leadership ForumWeek of Nov. 11
Blue Ribbon Coalitions present at the 2025 National Leadership Forum Ideas Fair and are recognized during the Opening PlenaryFeb. 3 – Feb. 6, 2025
Phase II winners present a session at the 2025 National Leadership ForumFeb. 3 – Feb. 6, 2025
Phase II winners celebrated at National Leadership Forum Awards LuncheonFeb. 6, 2025


Map of 2022 & 2023 Coalitions who received the Blue Ribbon Certification

This material is based upon work supported by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under Grant No. G2299ONDCP08A. Opinions and points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position endorsed is endorsed by, the Office of National Drug Control Policy.