Funding Alert! Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation Grants

Health Resources and Services Administration

Does your organization work to address opioid use disorder in rural areas? The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently opened its annual funding opportunity, the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation (RCORP-Implementation). RCORP-Implementation is a multi-year initiative that focuses on strengthening and expanding prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in rural communities. Ultimately, RCORP aims to improve access to treatment for rural residents, so that they may move toward recovery. Applications for this program are due January 13, 2022.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include all domestic public and private entities (nonprofit and for-profit), domestic faith-based organizations, tribes, tribal organizations, organizations based in the territories, and freely associated states. The applicant organization may be in either an urban or rural area and should have the necessary capacity to oversee program activities, serve as fiscal agent, and ensure that local control of the award is vested in the targeted rural area.

In addition, RCORP-Implementation requires that recipients form a multi-sector/multi-disciplinary consortium by partnering with at least three other separately owned entities to implement the outlined SUD/OUD activities. Potential consortium members might include health and social service organizations, employers, individuals in recovery, law enforcement and first responders, teachers and school systems, child welfare agencies, and other individuals and community sectors affected by SUD/OUD. At least half of the consortium members must be located in HRSA-designated rural areas.

What are the program details?

RCORP-Implementation award recipients will implement a variety of required core SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that are designed to meet the demonstrated needs of the target rural area. Note that RCORP-Implementation is primarily focused on OUD; however, because many individuals with OUD use multiple substances and/or have co-occurring conditions, award recipients may propose activities that address other SUD-related needs of the target population affected by OUD.

Proposed RCORP-Implementation projects must implement the following over the course of the three-year project period:

  1. Foundational Core Activities: Track and collect aggregate data from consortium members; develop process that support financial and programmatic sustainability; address the SUD-related needs of populations that have historically experienced inequities, poorer health outcomes, and/or health disparities (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, etc.); and leverage partnerships at various levels and across multiple sectors to secure buy-in and that the project complements existing SUD/OUD resources.
  2. Prevention Core Activities: Provide accessible education for family members, caregivers, and the public; increase access to and training for the use of naloxone in rural communities; train community members and other stakeholders on safe storage and disposal of prescription drugs; train and strengthen collaboration with law enforcement and first responders; and identify, screen, and/or refer to support services individuals who are at risk for SUD/OUD.
  3. Treatment and Recovery Core Activities: Recruit, mentor, and train interdisciplinary teams of SUD/OUD service providers who can provide evidence-based behavioral therapy and other supportive services; create community linkages and referral systems; ensure linkages to and coordination with home- and community-based social services; expand the peer workforce to support individuals in settings such as hospitals, emergency departments, jails, and SUD/OUD treatment programs; and support the development of recovery support services and resources to expand availability and access.

Depending on the unique needs of their communities, applicants may propose additional project activities beyond those listed above. For detailed descriptions of required activities, see the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) available for download here, pp10-12

The funder expects to award 50 grants of up to $1,000,000 each over a three-year period of performance.

What makes a project a good fit?

All grant-funded activities must take place in HRSA-designated rural counties or rural census tracts in urban counties, as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer. Projects should focus primarily on OUD but also consider and address the unique needs of the community in which the activities will take place.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • On the RCORP-Implementation website, look over the FAQs to confirm eligibility and to better understand the opportunity, its definitions, and the requirements for forming a rural consortium. You can also review lists of past grantees and last year’s technical assistance webinar.
  • View the full NOFO, available here under the “Related Documents” tab, for a full list of program requirements and eligible activities.
  • Review the HHS Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis, with which the RCORP program activities align.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, community engagement specialist, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start planning ahead for next year’s round. The general RCORP website has ample FAQs, resources, webinars, and descriptions of other opportunities available.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series throughout 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit leaders before and during the application process. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

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Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

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