Innovative Programming Grants

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will be requesting applications for Innovative Programming Grants (Round Five). CDCR has been administering grant programs for over four years in four rounds:

  • Round One: In 2013-2014, the State Budget awarded CDCR $2.5 million in funds for Innovative Programming Grants.
  • Round Two: In 2015-2016, the State Budget awarded an additional $3 million for grant funds.
  • Round Three: In 2016-2017, the state budget allowed for a total funding of $9 million to be used over a 3 year period ($3 million per year). In addition to, $5.5 million was provided specifically for grants for the long-term offender population. An additional $5.5 million was provided to extend the long-term offender grants for 2017-2018.
  • Round Four: In 2017-2018, the Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP) redirected funds from existing rehabilitative funding to provide a total of $3 million over a 3 year period ($1 million per year) to establish grants specifically for Reception Centers.
The four rounds provided a total of $28.5 million in grant funding and have resulted in the establishment of 200 additional rehabilitative programs for offenders throughout CDCR’s adult institutions.

Round Five is here! The 2018-2019 State Budget has approved an ongoing funding of $4 million per year for additional Innovative Programming Grants. The Innovative Programming Grants will be awarded in three year periods for a total of $12 million per round. Eligibility for these grants are specifically intended for nonprofit organizations currently providing programs in an adult correctional institution setting and have demonstrated success and focus on offender responsibility and restorative justice principles.

Round Five compared to the previous four rounds:

  • Grant funding will be on-going (it will remain in future budgets unless removed).
  • Eligibility is specifically for nonprofit organizations (or organizations who do not have their own nonprofit status but, for purposes of the grant, operate under the auspices of a fiscal sponsor with nonprofit status.)
  • Eligibility is open to nonprofits that currently provide programs in an adult correctional institution setting. (Prior eligibility required applicants to be currently providing programs in CDCR adult institutions.)
Request for Applications (RFA) was released on September 28, 2018. It is anticipated that the Innovative Programming Grants will be awarded early February 2019 and implementation of the grants will begin on May 1, 2019.

Click [ HERE ] for printable information on Innovative Programming Grants.


To complete the RFA, please fill out the following three documents below:


  • September 28, 2018 - Release Request for Applications
  • October 18, 2018 - Applicants Conference Call
  • October 26, 2018 - Notice of Intent to Apply Due
  • November 29, 2018 - Grant Application Due
  • November 30 – December 7, 2018 - Technical Application Review
  • December 10 – January 18, 2019 - Merit Application Review
  • January 22 – 25, 2019 - DRP Director Review/Approval
  • January 28 – February 1, 2019 - Secretary Review/Approval
  • February 4 – 8, 2019 - Notification of Intent to Award Grants
  • February 11 – April 30, 2019 - Grant Agreement Processing
  • May 1, 2019 - Begin Grant Period – Year 1
  • May 1 – 31, 2019 - Grantee Meetings at Institutions
  • June 3 – 28, 2019 - Ramp Up and New Volunteer Orientation
  • May 1 – June 28, 2019 - New Programs Begin
  • April 30, 2020 - End Grant Period – Year 1
  • May 1, 2020 - Begin Grant Period – Year 2
  • April 30, 2021 - End Grant Period – Year 2
  • May 1, 2021 - Begin Grant Period – Year 3
  • April 30, 2022 - End Grant Period – Year 3

Click [ HERE ] for a printable PDF on IPG's Key Event Dates.


Save the Date: October 18, 2018
Time: 10am - 12pm
Call in Number: 1-888-808-6929
Participant Access Code: 3248011

Participation in this call is not mandatory.

Click [ HERE ] for a printable PDF of the IPG Applicants Conference Call flyer.


Click [ HERE ] to view a map of locations for which applications will be accepted.

Application Locations Map


Click [ HERE ] to view the list of grants awarded for Round Five.


Here is a list of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for Round Five of the Innovative Programming Grants:

  • Applicant Organization

    Q. Who is considered to be the applicant organization?
    A. We consider the program provider (not the fiscal sponsor/agent) to be the applicant organization.

    Q. Can an applicant organization (program provider) submit some applications using one fiscal sponsor and additional applications using another fiscal sponsor?
    A. Yes. But the grant limits regarding number and dollar value of grants apply to the program provider, not the fiscal sponsor.

  • Budgets

    Q. Can the budget amounts vary on different yards if the populations on the yards have different inmates (i.e., EOP)?
    A. Yes.

    Q. Are employee benefits included in the grant?
    A. Yes. The amount requested should reflect the actual benefits you will provide.

    Q. Are the employer-paid portion of things like taxes, etc., a part of the budget?
    A. Yes, these should be added as a line item on the budget sheet.

  • Eligibility

    Q. Do you have to be a current program provider to apply for this round of Grants? We are going to start a program in January 2019.
    A. Yes, to be eligible you must be currently providing a program at an adult correctional facility (not just in CDCR) as of the date of your application. The next application period will be in three years.

    Q. We are currently providing a program in an adult correctional institution, but we have an idea for a new program. Can we apply for a grant to start the new program?
    A. No. These grants are intended to provide funding to replicate programs that are working and make a difference in an adult correctional institution setting.

    Q. Am I eligible to apply if I don’t have a current contract with CDCR, but am currently providing programming through a nonprofit organization in a correctional facility?
    A. Yes. We are looking for providers that would like to replicate their current programs to other locations. Eligibility is based on currently providing services in an adult correctional institution setting so you can expand to new locations.

    Q. Can I change the name of my current program for this round of grants?
    A. You can do that, but be certain to provide a clear explanation in the application.

    Q. Can the same program on the same yard be eligible for a grant?
    A. No.

    Q. Can the same program on a different yard be eligible for a grant?
    A. Yes.

    Q. I am currently providing a program and want to offer it to more inmates on that yard. Can I apply to expand my current program?
    A. Not if it is the same program on the same yard.

    Q. I am currently providing a program in English. Can I apply to provide the same program on the same facility/yard in Spanish?
    A. Yes.

    Q. Can we partner with other organizations that have previously been awarded grants?
    A. Yes, as long as eligibility requirements are met and the histories of both programs are explained in application.

    Q. I am currently providing programs to parolees and probationers. Am I eligible to apply?
    A. No, eligibility is based on currently providing programs in an adult correctional institution setting.

  • Dual Funding

    Q. Can I apply for Innovative Grant funding and Arts in Correction funding for the same program?
    A. Yes, but you will not be awarded funding from both sources for the same program in the same location.

    Q. I am currently receiving Arts in Corrections funding for my program. Can I apply for this grant for the same program?
    No, not if it is the same program in the same location.

    Q. After this grant period ends would I be able to pursue other funding?
    A. There are no restrictions on what funding you receive after the end of the grant period.

  • Grant Categories

    Q. What is the difference between a Promising Practice Grant and a Practice-Based Grant?
    A. Promising Practice Grants are for programs that incorporate identified strategies, activities, and approaches that have been demonstrated to be effective for adult offenders. Grants in this category must provide documentation of past research/evaluation efforts, as well as measurable outcomes. Practice-Based Grants are for programs that appear to have a positive impact on the offender population at the operational level, but might not have the necessary focus or experience with incorporating promising practices into their programs.

    Q. How will the evaluation panel confirm that a proposed program meets the category as self-identified by the applicant?
    A. All applicants who self-identify in the Promising Practices category are required to provide documents to substantiate the self-identified Promising Practices category. These documents will be use to verify if the applicant meets that category requirement. Also, these documents will not count toward the 18-page limit on the narrative portion of your application.

    Q. If I self-identify in the Promising Practices category and it is determined I do not meet the criteria for that category, am I still eligible for a grant in the Practice-Based category?
    A. If there is funding remaining after all the Practice-Based based awards have been made, there is a possibility that you can still be awarded a grant.

    Q. If I have an evidence-based program, should I self-identify under the Promising Practice category?
    A. If your program is evidence-based, you meet the criteria of the Promising Practice category.

    Q. If I self-identify in the Promising Practice category can scientific research be provided in place of research done specifically on our program?
    A. No.

  • Grant Limits

    Q. Can I apply for all locations?
    A. You can apply for all, but the maximum number of grants you can be awarded is eight.

    Q. The RFA states that individual grants are limited to no more than $200,000 per grant (5% of $4 million annual grant authority). Is this $200,000 per year, or $200,000 for the three-year grant period? Also, each applicant organization is limited to no more than $400,000 in cumulative grants (10% of $4 million annual grant authority). Is this $400,000 in cumulative grants per year, or for the entire three-year period?
    A. In both instances the limits are per year. Each grant is limited to no more than $200,000 per year ($600,000 total), and each applicant organization is limited to no more than $400,000 per year ($1.2 million total) in cumulative grants.

    Q. Can I apply for funding above the specified limitations, in the event that there is leftover funding? Or would that disqualify my application(s)?
    A. No. All applicants must stay within the limitations outlined in the RFA.

    Q. Is there any situation where an applicant organization (program provider) can receive more than $400,000 in cumulative grants?
    A. Yes. The $400,000 cumulative limit per applicant organization is specific to the program being provided. If an applicant organization submits proposals for two or more completely different programs, the $400,000 limit applies to each of the different programs. In order for separate limits to apply, the programs must be completely different, and cannot be a continuation (i.e., “Phase 2”) of an existing program. In simple terms:

    • Same program provider, same program = $400,000 cumulative grant limit
    • Same program provider, different programs = $400,000 cumulative grant limit per program

  • Problems with the Application

    Q. What do I do if I have technical errors/problems while completing the fillable pdf documents online?
    A. Contact the Innovative Programming Grant team at You can also print out the blank forms, and legibly fill out each section by hand in blue or black ink.

    Q. Can we contact the Grant team for technical questions? Or further clarification about the application?
    A. Yes, you can contact the Grant team via email at

  • Program Locations

    Q. If I want to take my current program to multiple locations, do I have to submit an application for each one?
    A. You only have to submit one application, but you need to submit a separate budget for each location/program.

    Q. Do fire camps qualify for grant funding?
    A. No.

    Q. We are currently providing a program in a County Jail. Can we use this grant funding to provide a program in a County Jail?
    A. No. Providing services to adults in a County Jail makes you eligible to apply for a grant; but these grant funds can only be used to provide programs at a CDCR facility.

    Q. Can I apply at a location that is not a targeted in this round?
    A. Yes you can apply for any CDCR location, but your evaluation score will be affected if the location is not one of the priority locations listed in the RFA.

    Q. Do I have to provide programming on all the facilities/yards at an Institution?
    A. It is encouraged, but not mandatory. Also, depending on different institutional factors, in some cases it isn’t always possible.

    Q. I plan to apply for multiple locations throughout the state. Will I be required to implement all of my programs by July 1?
    A. Yes. All programs are expected to be up and running sometime between May 1 and June 28, 2019. The only exception would be if an institution has operational issues that would delay the implementation.

  • Research and Data

    Q. Is research mandated as part of an award?
    A. No. We are not mandating research as part of an award. Those applicants wishing to conduct research in relation to a project may do so subject to approval from the Office of Research. The cost of research can be included as a line item in the operating expense portion of the budget.

    Q. How do we collect participant demographics?
    A. Other than the information required in the mandatory progress reports and the mandatory pre- and post-questionnaires, it is the applicant’s responsibility to tell us what you are going to track, and that is what you will be held responsible for.

  • Types of Programs

    Q. The RFA appears to be geared towards offender responsibility and restorative justice only, but what about social programs?
    A. We are looking for programs that make a difference and address concepts of inmate responsibility, which is inclusive of social programs.

    Q. Are there any limits to what kinds of technology that can be used? For example, computers and internet access.
    A. Yes. All technology has to be approved by CDCR and the institution at which the program will be provided. CDCR inmates are not allowed to have internet access.

Click [ HERE ] for a printable PDF on the FAQ's.


For more information, please email the Innovative Programming Grants mailbox at

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An offender who is serving, or has served, their time on good behavior has access to many rehabilitative services and programs if they are determined to be in need.
See Rehabilitative and Educational Services

Specific Rehabilitative Offices:

Rehabilitative programs are the best way for an offender to be prepared for success upon release. The link below explains this process with an easy-to-follow diagram

See Rehabilitative Process

See Technology Solutions for more information.

Technology has opened the door to more educational opportunities while simultaneously reducing government spending. Below is a list of technology initiatives at CDCR.

See Rehabilitative Program Videos for DRP program information and general insight of CDCR's offender rehabilitation.