2022 Democracy Commission Small Grants Program


Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title:             2022 Democracy Commission Small Grants Program

Funding Opportunity Number:      2022-FY21AEECA-PASPODGORICA

Deadline for Applications:              until close of business, 17:00 on March 4, 2022

CFDA Number:                                19.900

Award floor:                                     $10,000

Award ceiling:                                  $ 50,000

Total amount available:                   $300,000

Anticipated number of awards:        6-10 (depending on the amount of each award)

Priority Region:                                Montenegro



The U.S. Embassy Podgorica/Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Department of State announces a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program.

The Democracy Commission Small Grants Program is designed to support initiatives that contribute to open and competitive political systems and to the protection of human rights.  For this NOFO, the Embassy is seeking project proposals that support tolerance, diversity and, inclusion within Montenegrin society.

Project proposals should contribute to one of the priority areas stated below:

  • Protection of human rights and promotion of tolerance, especially among youth
  • Ethnic minority, LGBTQ, and gender equality
  • Women’s empowerment in the political and economic sphere

Projects may include various elements, for example, strategic policy engagements, communication campaigns targeting key audiences, workshops, hackathons, and hands-on activities requiring follow-on actions from participants.

Applicants should clearly define project goals that advance one or more of the aforementioned topics, as well as define tangible outcomes that can be measured after the project’s completion. 

All application materials must be submitted by email to PodgoricaGrants@state.gov by close of business 17:00 on Friday, March 4, 2022.  Please send all supporting documents via email attachments or in a zipped folder (RAR files/zipped folders won’t be accepted)Do not send application materials via WeTransfer links or Dropbox.

Upon submission, if you haven’t received an automatic reply that your application has been received, please request a confirmation of the receipt of your application in a follow-up email.

Please email any questions about this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to PodgoricaGrants@state.gov

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.


Length of performance period: 12 months

Anticipated program start date: September 2022

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Please note that the precise timeframe in which grant money will be disbursed cannot be guaranteed.  Grantees should design projects that can be implemented if grant is awarded and money disbursed after September 1, 2022.


  1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Montenegrin not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, civil society/non-governmental organizations, educational organizations and other organizations that have displayed trustworthiness

American and third-country organizations and individuals are not eligible for grants under this program.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

Organizations that have received a grant from the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program in a previous cycle may apply, however, preference will be given to organizations which do not have ongoing Embassy grants at the time when the merit review panel convenes.

Incomplete application packages won’t be considered for funding.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet (after April 2022 DUNS will be replaced with unique entity identifier – UEI), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.


Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the requirements stated below will be ineligible.

Please read Application Guidelines carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements listed here will not be considered for funding. 

Mandatory application forms:

  • Project proposal using the Application Form and in compliance with Application Guidelines.
  • Detailed budget in USD amounts and a budget narrative using the format of your choice (see Application Guidelines for information about eligible and ineligible costs).
  • SF 424, SF 424A, and SF 424B forms filled out in line with the SF 424 guidelines and SF 424A guidelines and signed.
  • 1-page CV or resume in English of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
  • Organization’s registration papers (in the local language).
  • Documentation to show that the applicant has, at a minimum started SAM.gov registration process (a screenshot from SAM.gov confirming whether the applying organization is fully registered or has just commenced the SAM.gov registration process).

Important: If at the time of the submission of the application package, your organization’s SAM.gov registration is still in progress (started but not completed – which means you already have an active DUNS number and an NCAGE code, and have started entering data in SAM.gov), you will be required to acquire full SAM.gov registration no later than Monday, March 14, 2022, otherwise your application will not be seen by the merit review panel.  As proof that you have completed the SAM.gov registration process, you should submit the screenshot from SAM.gov showing that your organization’s registration is active to PodgoricaGrants@State.Gov no later than Monday, March 14.

Other important notes:

  • Special consideration will be given to project proposals that use a methodological approach to outline a clear evaluation plan for measuring the impact of project activities (during, and/or immediately after, and/or six months to a year after the project’s completion). For example, the impact of the project could be measured by the number or type of actions project participants took in their communities, as a result of their participation in the project.  Please note that impact should be measured by outcomes (the level of performance and achievement that came as a result of the completed project), rather than direct outputs (number of people trained or activities implemented as part of the project).  Simply put, outcomes mean what happened because of the program.  Applicants may request funds for an external (outsourced) evaluation of the project’s impact (during and/or after the project’s implementation) as part of the proposed budget. 
  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we welcome proposals that utilize virtual platforms. If your proposal includes in-person activities, please include contingency plans, in the event that the health situation in the country is not conducive to in-person interactions.

E. 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 eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (UEI – currently a Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), applicants should be fully registered in www.SAM.gov at the time of application, or include documentation to show it has, at a minimum started the process of registration on www.SAM.gov at the time of application. ​The SAM.gov registration process should be fully completed by March 14, 2022, your application will not be seen by the merit review panel.  As proof that you have completed the SAM.gov registration process, you should submit the screenshot from SAM.gov showing that your organization’s registration is active to PodgoricaGrants@State.Gov no later than Monday, March 14.

All mandatory registrations are free of charge:

  • Unique Entity Identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE code
  • SAM registration

Please note:  The process of acquiring a DUNS number, NCAGE code and completing the SAM.gov registration can take up to one month.  We strongly encourage you to start this process as early as possible.

Please note:  SAM.gov is a free government-managed website; applicants do not need to pay to have their organization registered.  The Embassy receives frequent reports that recipients are contacted by organizations posing as SAM.gov which threaten to cut off registration unless a fee is paid for registration or renewal.  These emails are fake.

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

DUNS application: Organizations must have a DUNS number (also known as Unique Entity Identifier – UEI) from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx

Instructions for the NCAGE application process:


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

  • Please read the Quick Start Guide for Grant Registrations
  • SAM registration must be renewed annually, so even if you are already registered in SAM from a previous grant, please check to see if your registration is still valid (if your SAM.gov registration is due for its annual renewal, please read the Quick Start Guide for Updating an Entity Registration).
  • Entities registering in SAM must submit a letter appointing their authorized Entity Administrator. Please check the template of the letter which is included in the application package.
  • If you experience any problem in registering in SAM.gov use the following link to register for live chat, so the SAM administrators can answer your questions.


  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Support of Equity and Underserved Communities: Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and the program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget: The budget justification is detailed.  Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Evaluation plan: The applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal.  The quality of an applicant’s evaluation plan will be judged on how well it: 1) specifies intended outcomes; 2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; 3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and 4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups).

Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Impact: The extent to which the project will produce an impact in Montenegro, its institutions, legislation, education, and the status of disadvantaged groups in the society.

  1. Review and Selection Process

The merit review panel will evaluate all eligible applications and will contact the applicants in case of any follow-up questions.

As soon as the results of this open competition are available, applicants will receive an e-mail notification with next steps.


  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses and implementing project activities beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Payment Method: Dynamics of grant payments would be discussed with grant recipients individually, and once agreed upon they will be stated in the award document.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.

These include:

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Award recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: PodgoricaGrants@state.gov.


Cost sharing is not required.  However, if the Recipient includes cost sharing in the project proposal, then the Recipient is accountable for providing additional funds and justifying the costs.

If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.

Application form

Application guidelines

Quick start guide for grant registrations

Quick Start Guide for Updating an Entity Registration 


SF424 A

SF424 B


Uputstvo za popunjavanje SF 424 A

Uputstvo za popunjavanje SF 424