National Coalition Institute
Blue Ribbon
October 16, 2023

Blue Ribbon Coalition

Become a Blue Ribbon Coalition!

Becoming a Blue Ribbon Coalition can become a platform to obtain local and national recognition, used in other grant applications, and to pursue other funding agreements. The Blue Ribbon Coalition recognition showcases the community partners involved in coalition’s success!
The Blue Ribbon Coalitions are able to take what they’ve learned at the National Coalition Academy and apply it to their coalition’s work. They are recognized for doing an exceptional job updating and utilizing their coalition products in order to set themselves up for community success. In addition, they have been recognized by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and by the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

 | Submit Application | Blue Ribbon Coalitions | Informational Webinar

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 ProcessApr. 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 CoalitionsWeek 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