Democracy Commission Small Grants Program

Published on December 1, 2015

The competition for 2016 is now CLOSED.

Purpose of the Program 

The United States Embassy in Podgorica supports specific projects and initiatives that facilitate the development of democracy and democratic institutions in Montenegro through grant awards of up to $24,999.  Grants are awarded to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media, or other organizations that have displayed organizational skill and trustworthiness.  Proposals will be evaluated according to the ability of the applying organization to carry out a project with clearly formulated goals, that reaches the intended audience or beneficiaries, and that has the potential for the greatest positive impact in the subject areas listed below.  Preference will be given to applicants that have received little or no support from the U.S. Government or other international donors in the past, but that have capacity to implement the proposed activity.  High-quality joint applications by two or more NGOs will receive special consideration.

In 2016, the Commission is interested in projects that support democratic development and human rights.  Possible topics may include: promoting the rights of disabled persons, refugees, the LGBT community, domestic violence victims, and/or other disadvantaged or minority groups; women’s empowerment in business and politics; youth leadership; bolstering the rule of law and combatting corruption and organized crime; media freedom; environmental protection; and other topics. The Commission is also interested in projects that support an open, constructive and well informed public debate on NATO, including the requirements, responsibilities and benefits of membership as well as information regarding the reforms that are needed for Montenegro to meet the Alliance’s membership criteria.

In order to promote capacity development in the NGO sector, preference will be given to applications that include collaborative activities with other NGOs.

The deadline for submission of proposals was Sunday, January 31, 2016 by 17:00 p.m.

How to Apply?

Qualified organizations may apply to the Democracy Commission no later than January 31, 2016 at 17:00 local time.  Qualified organizations may apply to the Public Affairs Grants Program no later than July 31, 2016 at 17:00 local time. For those who choose to apply please submit completed application and all supporting documentation to PodgoricaGrants@State.Gov. Upon submission of an application you will receive a confirmation. Please note that all organizations are encouraged to use the suggested application form.  Applications that do not meet minimum standards set forth in application guidelines will not be considered.

Guidelines for Application

  • The maximum grant period is one year.
  • Project proposals must be completed in English and should not be more than 7 pages long.
  • Project proposals should include all of the information requested in the Application Form.
  • Amounts in the project budget have to 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 only on the territory of Montenegro.
  • Fees for staff engaged in the project implementation on a regular basis (project manager, project assistant, accountant, etc.) should not exceed 25% of the total project budget.
  • The project budget should include bank charges.
  • Grants are made on a one-time basis. A successful applicant may re-apply for a second grant, but the second proposal must be for a distinctly different project from the first project funded by the Democracy Commission.

IMPORTANT! Organizations may only submit one proposal per program.

The following projects or costs are ineligible for funding:

  1. More than one proposal per theme submitted by a organization;
  2. Projects relating to partisan political activity;
  3. Conferences and individual trips abroad;
  4. Charitable activity and humanitarian aid;
  5. Fund-raising campaigns;
  6. Commercial projects;
  7. Scientific research;
  8. Individuals not affiliated with an organization that can provide long-term sustainability to the project;
  9. Those that duplicate existing projects.

Evaluation Criteria

The U.S. Embassy has established the Democracy Small Grant Commission, which reviews and evaluates proposals for that program. Public Affairs Section staff will review proposals for the Public Affairs Section Grants Program the Embassy is also in touch with other donor institutions and countries that provide financial support for the projects promoting civic participation.

The deadline for receiving completed electronic application forms is January 31, 2016 at 17:00 local time. Applicants are requested to send in only the electronic application.  

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 proposed  to be addressed through the activity and is able to articulate it without using excessive generalizations;
  • The organization has identified appropriate beneficiaries or target groups in a way that maximizes project outputs and outcomes and the project has a clear focus, manageable scope and can yield  tangible results;
  • The project idea and approach 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.  There are no budget lines labeled miscellaneous expenses.  Entertainment and alcoholic beverage expenses are not included in the budget.  The budget demonstrates that the organization has devoted time to plan for and assess actual expenses associated with the project instead of providing rough estimates;
  • The organization has clearly articulated how it will assess and measure its own performance throughout the project implementation phase using concrete quantitative and qualitative assessment tools;
  • The project proposal describes clearly the approach that will be used to ensure maximum sustainability of the project’s results after its completion.

Incomplete, overly lengthy, and unclear applications will not be considered.

How to Apply

Application Guidelines in Adobe PDF and Application Form in Word format: