The Blue Ribbon Coalition Initiative, sponsored by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute (NCI) with funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), offers coalitions the opportunity to gain national recognition for their significant contributions to community-level substance use outcomes. This credential serves as a testament to a coalition’s unwavering commitment to proven practices and tangible positive outcomes that transform their communities. Blue Ribbon Coalitions are emblematic of what can be achieved when like-minded individuals and organizations come together to implement evidence-based strategies tailored to their community’s local conditions.
The Blue Ribbon Coalition recognition is unlike any other in the field—it represents the first community-level credential. It operates through established frameworks and validated measurements, providing concrete evidence that a coalition is operating at a sustained level of performance. What sets it apart even further is that it’s the only recognition that establishes a direct link between a coalition’s training and the positive outcomes they are achieving within their communities.
To earn this credential, coalitions participate in a competitive two-phase process. The path to becoming a Blue Ribbon Coalition begins in Phase One, where coalitions demonstrate their dedication to best practices and their proven track record of making a difference in their communities. Strong coalition candidates conduct an in-depth community assessment, develop a comprehensive and feasible plan guided by local data, and demonstrate the ability to track outcomes over time.
In Phase Two, coalitions take their coalition products and transform them into compelling success stories, which they can proudly share with partners, funders, and their community at large. They develop a “Telling the Coalition’s Story” PowerPoint presentation and a one-page infographic that succinctly conveys their coalition’s achievements and community-level outcomes.
All coalitions advancing to Phase Two of the application process earn the coveted title of Blue Ribbon Coalition. They have not only demonstrated their ability to create, update, and effectively utilize their coalition products but have also showcased the impactful community-level change they’ve catalyzed. This recognition is valid for two years and can be re-earned through reapplication to the Blue Ribbon Application Process.
Since its launch in 2021, 46 coalitions spanning 22 states have earned the distinguished status of Blue Ribbon Coalitions. Last month, 15 exceptional coalitions from 12 states were officially recognized as Blue Ribbon Coalitions at the Drug-Free Communities 25th Anniversary Celebration & Blue Ribbon Award Ceremony held at the ONDCP offices. We are delighted to unveil the 2023 class of Blue Ribbon Coalitions:
- Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities
- Braidwood Area Healthy Community Coalition
- Choose Your Path
- Communities for Positive Youth Development
- Community in Crisis
- Decatur Prevention Initiative
- Drug Free Communities of Dallas County
- East Providence Prevention Coalition
- Easton Wings of Hope
- Healthy Lamoille Valley
- Pickaway Addiction Action Coalition
- Safe Communities Coalition Hunterdon
- Tangipahoa Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change Coalition
- Volition Franklin
- Weber Communities That Carelibrar
Of this impressive group, three of the highest-scoring Phase Two applicants in the following award categories received the prestigious Blue-Ribbon Awards:
- Coalition in Focus (Recognizing Short-term Outcomes): Drug Free Communities of Dallas County
- Coalition of Excellence (Celebrating Intermediate Outcomes): Communities for Positive Youth Development
- Coalition of the Year (Honoring Long-term Outcomes): East Providence Prevention Coalition
Receiving the Blue Ribbon coalition recognition provides these organizations with a powerful tool to elevate the profile of their work within their communities, increasing visibility and support. As we celebrate the 2023 class of Blue Ribbon Coalitions, we acknowledge the remarkable achievements and continued dedication to building healthier, safer, and drug-free communities. These organizations, now part of the Blue Ribbon Coalition family, are poised to make an even greater impact, creating lasting change in their communities and beyond.