White House gleans from SAFE’s successes

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The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy has selected Substance Abuse Free Environment Inc., or SAFE, to be evaluated to determine why it is one of the most effective nonprofits in the nation.

SAFE is one of nine nonprofits that will be evaluated by ICF International, an analytics firm based in Fairfax, Va., to determine the reasons for SAFE’s great success as a coalition.

The firm evaluates the effectiveness of the Drug Free Communities program, which distributes $90 million in assistance to 693 coalitions throughout the United States and seeks to determine why some coalitions are more effective than others.  

“We talked with leading organizations including, SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), CSAP (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention) and Anti-drug Coalitions of America, and SAFE’s name kept being mentioned as one of the outstanding coalitions in the nation,” said Allan Porowski, fellow and co-principal investigator of the Drug Free Communities National Evaluation, ICF International.

Porowski and Lisa Luo, ICF International associate and research analyst, conducted 10 meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 12-13, with members of SAFE’s board of directors or SAFE’s partners, including youths, parents, business owners and members of the faith-based community, as well as representatives from several county departments, including Youth Planning and Development, the Police Department, the Health Department, Public Affairs and others.

Porowski said that there is evidence that SAFE has become organic, with partners recruiting partners.

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