Call for Applications: 2020 Media Professionalization Assistance Program




Notice of Funding Opportunity


Funding Opportunity Title:             2020 Media Professionalization Assistance Program

Deadline for Applications:                June 10, 2020

CFDA Number:                                19.900

Award Floor:                                     $30,000

Award Ceiling:                                  $70,000

Total Program Amount:                   $300,000

Anticipated Number of Awards:     5-10




Program Description:


The United States Embassy in Montenegro, acting through the Public Affairs Section, is pleased to announce an open competition for assistance awards, subject to the availability of funds, through this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Media Professionalization Assistance Program.


The Embassy plans to support specific projects and initiatives that facilitate the development of media freedom and journalistic professional standards in Montenegro through grant awards ranging from $30,000 – $70,000.   Grants will be awarded to media or civil society/non-governmental organizations registered in Montenegro that adhere to high professional standards in their reporting or acting and have a record of trustworthiness and success.  Proposals will be evaluated according to the ability of the applying organization to carry out a project with clearly formulated goals that benefits the intended beneficiaries and has the greatest positive impact.


This program aims to support the following types of activities:

  1. Projects that raise the professional standards of journalism in Montenegro. Our goal is to support independent and fact-based journalism, including current journalists and students aspiring to a career in media.
  2. Media literacy and critical thinking projects aimed at helping citizens, ranging from youth to elderly, recognize, analyze, and ultimately reject disinformation.
  3. Investigative journalism projects that support reforms necessary for Montenegro’s continued Euro-Atlantic integration. Ares of focus include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
    1. The rule of law
    2. The strengthening of democratic institutions
    3. Human and minority rights
    4. Sustainable development
    5. Entrepreneurship
  1. Projects to support reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, including debunking disinformation and conspiracy theories related to the crisis.


Qualified organizations may apply to the Media Professionalization Assistance Program no later than June 10, 2020.  Please submit completed applications and all supporting documentation to PodgoricaGrants@State.Gov.  Please note that all organizations must use the application form.  We will not consider applications that fail to use this form, nor will we consider applications that do not meet the minimum standards listed in the guidelines below.


Federal Award Information:


Length of performance period: 12 months

Anticipated program start date: Summer/Fall 2020

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant



Guidelines for Application:


  • The maximum grant period is one year.
  • Project proposals must be completed in English.
  • Project proposals should include all of the information requested in the Application Form.
  • Amounts in the project budget must be in U.S. dollars and should include local taxes.  Important note: Costs incurred before the grant period start date will not be reimbursed.
  • Project budgets should only include expenses incurred in the territory of Montenegro.
  • The project budget should include bank charges.
  • Organizations may only submit one proposal per Notice of Funding Opportunity.



Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

In order to be qualified for grants, selected organizations must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE code
  • registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and a NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting

NCAGE application: Application page here:

Instructions for the NCAGE application process:

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in by logging onto:  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

The following projects or costs are ineligible for funding:

  • More than one proposal submitted by an organization.
  • Projects relating to partisan political activity.
  • Conferences and individual trips abroad.
  • Charitable activity and humanitarian aid.
  • Fundraising campaigns.
  • Commercial projects.
  • Scientific research.
  • Individuals not affiliated with an organization that can provide long-term sustainability to the project.
  • Duplications of existing projects.
  • Miscellaneous costs.
  • Entertainment and alcoholic beverage costs.



Evaluation Criteria:


The U.S. Embassy will convene a merit review panel to review proposals for the Media Professionalization Assistance Program.  The Embassy reserves the right to consult with other donor institutions and countries that provide financial support for projects promoting media freedom and journalistic professional standards in Montenegro.


We will use the following general criteria to evaluate all submitted grant proposals:

  • The project proposal demonstrates that the organization has sufficient expertise, skills and human resources to implement the project.
  • The organization demonstrates that it has a clear understanding of the underlying issue.
  • The organization has identified appropriate beneficiaries or target groups.
  • The project has a clear focus and manageable scope.
  • The project is innovative yet the proposed project activities are concrete and detailed and supported by a reasonable work plan.
  • The project’s budget is well organized, detailed, and reasonable.
  • The organization has clearly articulated how it will assess and measure project performance using both quantitative and qualitative assessment tools.
  • The proposal describes the approach that will be used to ensure maximum sustainability of the project’s results after its completion.
  • Note: Incomplete, lengthy, and unclear applications will not be considered.


Mandatory Application Forms:


  • Project proposal using the Application Form and in line with Application Guidelines.
  • Detailed budget in USD amounts and a budget narrative using format of your choice (see Application Guidelines for information about eligible and ineligible costs).
  • SF 424 and SF 424A forms filled in line with guidelines ( SF 424, SF 424 A) and signed.
  • One-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
  • Organization’s registration papers.

Use the Application Guidelines and Application Form below:

Application Form 2020 Media Professionalization Assistance Program

Application Guidelines 2020 Media Professionalization Assistance Program