What is a coalition? A coalition is a formal alliance of organizations, groups, and agencies coming together to work for a common goal. There are about as many kinds of coalitions as there are kinds of organizations. There are parent coalitions, business coalitions, and community coalitions which include representation from a wide range of community members. Most coalitions are long-term alliances which undertake numerous projects.

There are some characteristics common to the members of the most effective coalitions. Each member of an effective coalition will:
  • Believe it needs help to reach its individual goals,
  • Agree with other members on common ground and a clear mission or purpose,
  • Understand and accept that members will agree on some issues, but disagree on others,
  • Believe the members will over time receive benefits comparable to their contributions and
  • Be willing to negotiate among other members as the need arises.
Parent Coalitions are parent groups which are also coalitions, or groups of groups. They may be found at the community, State and national levels.
  1. Community Parent Coalitions may be made up of representatives from parent neighborhood groups, parent peer groups, grandparent groups, fathering groups and other interested groups. Coalitions are found at the community, State and national levels. Because community coalitions are particularly effective in pulling together business, elected officials and governmental officials, their perspective is usually professional rather than parental. Therefore, to achieve the most balanced support of planning and advocacy tasks, parent groups should be involved in community coalitions to help identify and solve alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related problems in their communities. Following are some examples of Community Parent Coalitions along with a brief description of each. (These coalitions may be contacted for information about their programs and strategies.)
    Coalition For A Healthy Community
    1332 North Euclid Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91101
    Phone: (626) 583-2751
    Fax: (626) 792-8056
    Coalition For A Heathy Community in Pasadena, California has successfully worked for change in the areas of alcohol policy development, neighborhood empowerment and ensuring after care for those in substance abuse recovery.
    Santa Barbara Community Prevention Coalition
    119 North Milpas Street
    Santa Barbara, CA 93103
    Phone: (805) 897-1902
    Fax: (805) 564-5477
    This coalition is strengthening families and communities by providing comprehensive substance abuse prevention services to at-risk youth and families. This coalition includes the Multicultural Community Partnership and the Healthy Start Partnership.
    Capital Area Substance Abuse Council (CASAC)
    20 West Main
    Avon, CT 06001
    Phone: (860) 676-9320
    Fax: (860) 676-9354
    CASAC is a community coalition established in 1990 composed of members from all segments of the Hartford region. CASAC's mission is to develop and carry out strategies to reduce substance abuse in the region through community mobilization. They support and encourage growth of neighborhood parent collaboratives.
    Lake County In-Touch
    19351 W. Washington Street, CLC-Bldg. #1
    Grayslake, IL 60030
    Phone: (847) 223-6363
    Fax: (847) 223-8540
    Besides maintaining a resource library, offering youth life skills trainings and parenting skills enhancement trainings, Lake County In-Touch has initiated, in a collaborative effort with local hospitals and birthing centers, a parents-of-new-borns campaign; new parents leave the hospital with a packet of helpful parenting information and a tee-shirt for the new-born with the words "Born to Be Drug Free" on the front.
    Substance Abuse Initiative of Greater Cleveland (SAI)
    614 W. Superior Avenue, Suite 300
    Cleveland, OH 44113
    Phone: (216) 781-2944
    Fax: (216) 781-2988
    SAI is known as a builder of community and parent action groups. Making use of VISTA volunteers and National Guard personnel minimizes overhead, while maintaining community involvement. SAI offers youth and parenting skill enhancement trainings for ethnic minority populations.
    The Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community
    University of Miami
    400 S.E. 2nd Ave., 4th Floor
    Miami, FL 33133
    Phone: (305) 375-8032
    Fax: (305) 371-6645
    This coalition ranks as a top coalition in the nation by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. Its primary source of funding is from private-sector organizations from which it acquires multi-year commitments. This group then engages foundations to obtain a match for their private-sector monies. The Miami Coalition makes extensive use of its 5,900 volunteers.
    San Antonio Fighting Back
    850 E. Drexel
    San Antonio, TX 78210
    Phone: (210) 533-6592
    Web site:
    A membership organization, this group is one of three national, locally-based programs and serves 320,000 people in the San Antonio area. It operates out of three Neighborhood Resource Centers located throughout the target area which provide training, coordination, support, resource development and technical assistance for community activities and serve as a "one-stop" service center where several health and human service agencies are located to provide convenient, community-based, accessible and holistic care.

  2. State Parent Coalitions function very much the same as do national parent coalitions. These groups usually involve a broad range of community and State organizations in their prevention efforts and offer multi-faceted substance abuse prevention programming throughout the State in which they are located.
    Arkansans for Drug Free Youth (ADFY)
    2020 West Third Street, Suite 1C
    Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
    Phone: (501) 375-1338
    Fax: (501) 376-3747
    ADFY is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and motivate Arkansas families, youth and communities in the development of healthy, drug free youth. Established in 1985, ADFY is the result of parents, teachers, students and others joining together to take action against the mounting problem of drug use. Funded through grants, individual contributions and fund raising activities, ADFY's programming strategies include: a community-based mentorship program, a State Youth Board, alternative events for youth, trainings for parents and youth, an annual Red Ribbon Drug Awareness Celebration and sponsors an annual Governor's Youth Conference on Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs.
    Drugs Don't Work!/Parents Work! The Governor's Prevention Partnership
    30 Arbor Street
    Hartford, CT 06106
    Phone: 1-800-422-5422
    Fax: (860) 236-9412
    Drugs Don't Work!/Parents Work! - The Governor's Prevention Partnership leads a statewide movement to prevent drug and alcohol abuse and related problems in Connecticut's youth through:
    1. A school partnership involving over 10,000 educators,
    2. A business partnership designed to reach parents with prevention knowledge and skills,
    3. The Connecticut Mentoring Partnership, which promotes and supports youth mentoring programs, and
    4. The media partnership, which involves over 70% of the state's top print and broadcast media.
    The Parents Work! component of this organization is designed to reach parents through their workplaces and community-technical colleges. It includes a "self-help" kit of materials such as games and conversation starters that make it easier for parents to talk to their kids about drugs.
    Greenville Family Partnership (GFP),
    617 East McBee Avenue
    Greenville, SC 29601
    Phone: (864) 467-4099
    Fax: (804) 467-4102
    Web site:
    GFP was formed in 1984 for the purpose of uniting parents and children to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Through school-based prevention activities, community training programs and resources, GFP promotes substance abuse awareness, prevention and community mobilization. It maintains a resource center and web site and sponsors an annual, State-wide Red Ribbon substance abuse prevention awareness campaign.
    Informed Families of Dade County
    2490 Coral Way, Suite 301
    Miami, FL 33145-3449
    Phone: (305) 856-4886
    Fax: (305) 856-4815
    Informed Families' programs and services provide awareness, education, training and involvement through nine main programmatic strategies: Red Ribbon Drug Awareness Week, Youth Power clubs for drug-free teens, Prom Promise (to help reduce the number of fatalities associated with teenage drunk driving), a Speakers Bureau and Resource Center; Parenting Workshop series; Youth Leadership Training; Safe Homes/Safe Parties (designed for helping parents set safe party guidelines); Community Empowerment Facilitator Training and Health and Wellness Fairs.
    Minnesota Star of the North Prevention Coalition
    2829 Verndale Avenue
    Anoka, MN 55303
    Phone: (612) 427-5310
    Fax: (612) 427-7841
    This coalition has as its purpose to form and support the operation of a Statewide coalition of neighborhood and community prevention partnerships to reduce and/or prevent the problems caused by the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. In 1995 CSAP awarded Minnesota a five year community prevention coalition demonstration grant.
    National Family Partnership of Alaska (NFP of Alaska)
    PO Box 1350
    Nome, Alaska 99762
    Phone: (907) 443-5888 or
    (800) 478-5888
    Fax: (907) 443-3880
    NFP of Alaska supports community based organizations and coalitions in their efforts to promote healthy, drug free youth throughout the State. Some of their programs and strategies include: a youth-family awareness hotline, a coffee house named "The Java Hut" which provides a positive, drug free place for young people, a peer to peer outreach project, as well as parent education and training and convening parent and youth meetings.
    Ohio Parents for Drug Free Youth
    1875 Morse Road, Suite 301
    Columbus, OH 43229
    Phone: (614) 268-6255
    Fax: (614) 268-7533
    Ohio Parents for Drug Free Youth serves Ohio through a program named "Statewide Prevention Coalition." This coalition unites prevention partners by sharing resources, workshops, training, funding opportunities and advocacy. It also provides technical assistance to Ohio communities and other parent groups and sponsors an annual statewide Red Ribbon Drug Awareness Week.
    Prevention Partners, Inc.
    One Mustard Street, Suite 400
    Rochester, NY 14609
    Phone: (716) 288-2800
    Fax: (716) 288-2847
    Prevention Partners, Inc. offers Statewide programming strategies, including skill building trainings for parents and youth, community mobilization, clarifying and influencing community norms in support of healthy lifestyles, alternative drug-free activities for youth, advocacy, mentoring and role modeling. It works collaboratively with schools, businesses, health organizations, faith organizations, media, law enforcement, community leaders, families and youth. They have an onsite resource center, a lending library and a mobile resource vehicle, called the Prevention Extension and offers a newsletter called "Prevention Partners Network."
    Utah Federation for Youth, Inc.
    120 North 200 West
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
    Phone: (801) 538-9836
    Fax: (801) 538-4383
    Utah Federation for Youth is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy communities through the prevention of substance abuse and violence. The Utah Federation for Youth, Inc. collaborates with agencies, families, parents, youth, community organizations and interested individuals to promote prevention programs and services to a Statewide audience. It houses and manages a lending library and resource center, sponsors the Ohio Red Ribbon Drug Awareness Week activities, sponsors annual youth events and sponsors an annual POWER parenting conference.

  3. National Parent Group Coalitions, usually for a membership fee, provide their members with the latest substance abuse prevention related information and an annual meeting with the opportunity to discuss topics of concern and attend training and education sessions. National parent coalitions provide an opportunity to have an impact on legislation by giving grassroots parent organizations a national voice.
    National Coalition of Grandparents, Inc.
    137 Larkin St.
    Madison, WI 53705
    Phone: (608) 238-8751
    Fax: (608) 238-8751 (same as phone)
    National Coalition of Grandparents, Inc. is a consortium of grandparent groups and professionals throughout the United States. Meeting twice annually in various parts of the country, they discuss issues pertaining to grandparenting, especially targeting those issues around raising grandchildren and being denied access to the grandchildren. They also offer counseling referral and information on pending and current legislation and research.
    National Family Partnership (NFP)
    c/o Informed Families of Dade County
    2490 Coral Way, Ste. 301
    Miami, FL 33145
    Phone: (305) 856-4886
    Fax: (305) 856-4815
    National Family Partnership, formerly National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, has been a membership organization made up of grassroots parent groups all across the United States. It has been a national voice for parents in legislative advocacy as well as the national sponsor of the annual National Red Ribbon Drug Awareness Celebration.
    Parenting Coalition International (formerly National Parents' Day Coalition)
    1025 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 615
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: (202) 530-0849
    Fax: (202) 887-6109
    This group is a national campaign designed to honor parents. It was responsible for getting the fourth Sunday of every July recognized as National Parents' Day and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. It is a membership organization which sponsors an annual Awards Ceremony for organizations and individuals who develop innovative programs, research and training to improve the quality of life for families. They sponsor an annual "Strengthening Families-Building Communities" conference and satellite broadcast for parents, educators, practitioners, administrators, researchers and advocates.