Democracy Commission Small Grants Program General Competition
The Democracy Commission Small Grants Program began in 1996 to support initiatives that contribute to open and competitive political and economic systems and to the protection of human rights. Since then, the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program has supported more than 1,000 projects implemented by Ukrainian NGOs.
The Public Affairs Section (PAS) Democracy Commission Small Grants Program supports projects that foster the development of civil society and public engagement in Ukraine. The program provides seed money for unique and sustainable projects that focus on, but are not limited to, the below list of technical areas.
Ukrainian non-governmental organizations may apply for up to $50,000 to support projects. Most awards are approximately $25,000. A panel of interagency representatives selects projects that demonstrate the ability to achieve impact related to the themes listed below. There is no fixed application deadline. PAS accepts applications on an on-going basis. Grants are disbursed as funding is available.
Major Program Requirements
- Grants can only be given to Ukrainian NGOs (non-profit and non-governmental organizations) registered in accordance with Ukrainian law. NGOs include, but are not limited to, civic organizations or associations, charitable foundations, and think tanks.
- NGOs and their members cannot represent or be affiliated with any political party, or with appointed or elected officials.
- Although the maximum funding available for a single grant is $50,000 U.S. dollars (USD), we anticipate most awards will be in the range of $10,000 – $24,000 USD.
- U.S. or other third-country organizations and individuals are not eligible to apply for grants.
- General competition applications must be submitted both in English and in Ukrainian.
- In addition to this general competition, the U.S. Embassy will, from time to time, hold special regional or thematic competitions, which may have different rules regarding project eligibility. Please check the U.S. Embassy website and social media sites for announcements.
- Project dates cannot exceed one year.
General Competition Project Themes
The Democracy Commission Small Grants program is designed to develop civil society and foster public engagement in Ukraine. In 2021, the DemCom program will support Ukrainian civil society organizations contributing to Ukraine’s Western and democratic trajectory focusing on the below priorities. Ukrainian NGOs or civic society organizations may apply for grant funding for projects that support the below priorities. DemCom will prioritize proposals that promote civic activism, engagement, and education for projects that address the below themes.
- Promote national and local government transparency, and combat corruption in other ways;
- Ensure a free, fair, and credible electoral system;
- Defend and protect human rights including for minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, disabled persons, and other vulnerable groups; Ensure the safety and protection of civic and human rights activists and journalists;
- Promote diversity, inclusion, and tolerance among youth;
- Promote gender equality by encouraging political participation of women, fighting discrimination against women, and to eliminate gender-based violence.
The DemCom program may also solicit project proposals on other related themes throughout the year.
How to Apply
The following documents are required:
1. Mandatory application forms
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
- SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
- See sections DUNS Registration and SAM Registration Requirements for more information regarding the process to obtain required registrations.
2. Proposal: DemCom has a suggested application form available here. You may also use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below. The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with the topic would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do.
- Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
- Introduction to the Organization: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies. This should include information about the organization’s total potential audience reach via online, print, television and social media activities. In the case of media organizations, please note many members of online followers.
- Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed
- Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
- Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
- Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
- Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
- Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
- Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations.
- Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
- Future Funding or Sustainability Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
- Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful
3. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.
- 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
- Organization registration documents
- Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
All application materials must be submitted by email to KyivDemGrants@state.gov.
D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit identification number has been assigned to over 100 million businesses worldwide. This number remains with the company location to which it has been assigned even if it closes or goes out-of-business. DUNS number is requested for funding by over 50 international commercial and nonprofit institutions, including the UN, Federal Government, and European Commission. If your organization has already received funding from the State Department and possesses DUNS number, but you did not activate it for the last 6 months, please make sure it is still active. As soon as you receive DUNS number or activate the old one, please start the registration in SAM system right away.
There are two ways to obtain DUNS number:
1. Receive DUNS with the help of “Avesta–Ukraine” (official representative of Dun & Bradstreet in Ukraine.
2. Register on-line https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
Be aware that DUNS number is issued for free!
SAM Registration Requirements
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS APPLYING FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE
All organizations applying to receive Federal assistance must have a Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS) before the application is submitted, a CCR (NCAGE) number, a letter identifying the authorized Entity Administrator, and an active account with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) before an award can be made.
Please note that process of registration on the SAM.gov portal can take substantial amount of time, so we recommend starting the process as early as possible.
Dun&Bradstreet DUNS – A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or requesting on-line at www.dnb.com.
The DUNS number is a nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities. All organizations applying for U.S. government grant funds must have a DUNS number. To obtain a DUNS number, please follow the steps below:
- Go to https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/CCRSearch.jsp .
- Select the country where your organization is physically located.
- Complete and submit the form. Organizations will need to provide basic information, including physical and mailing addresses, name and title of the chief executive, primary Standard Industrial Code (SIC), and annual revenue. Typically, organizations can complete this process in one day and have a DUNS number emailed to them. For technical difficulties in obtaining this number, please contact D&B at: email@example.com.
System for Award Management (SAM) – SAM is a U.S.-government wide registry of vendors doing business with the U.S. federal government and requires annual renewal. The system centralizes information about grant applicants/recipients, and provides a central location for grant applicants/recipients to change organizational information. More information about SAM.gov and useful guides for setting-up a new account, updating an existing account, or renewing an expired account can be found at: https://www.fsd.gov/fsd-gov/learning-center-system.do?sysparm_system=SAM .
Foreign-based applicants are strongly encouraged to review these guides when creating an account with SAM.gov. Further, applicants must maintain an active account, with current information, while its application is under consideration for funding. To keep an active SAM.gov account, Applicants must renew it at least once each year. If an account expires, the Organization cannot submit a grant application until it is renewed.
Only individuals who are authorized to represent a particular entity, or individuals representing themselves as an entity, may register an entity in SAM. Accessing or using SAM, or information contained therein, for any unauthorized or illegal purposes, may have civil and criminal penalties, and may negatively impact the status of the SAM registration maintained for the entity.
Recommendations how to fill in the letter identifying the authorized Entity Administrator:
- Formally appoint an Entity Administrator for registration in SAM.GOV and the letter submission.
- Use the letter template provided at https://www.fsd.gov and complete it.
- Print the letter on your entity’s letterhead. If you don’t have letterhead, enter your entity’s legal business name and physical address at the top of the letter before printing.
- Sign the completed letter. Make sure the person who signs the letter is someone with signatory authority, i.e. who can make commitments on behalf of the entity like an executive, officer, partner, or other authorized representative.
- Scan the completed, signed letter. Submit a copy to the Federal Service Desk by creating a service ticket at https://www.fsd.gov and attaching the scanned letter.
- In some cases you may be required to send a hard copy of the letter. For details please check https://www.fsd.gov.
- Ukrainian entities registering in SAM must NOT submit a notarized letter appointing their authorized Entity Administrator!
To create a new account on SAM.GOV, please follow the steps below:
- Go to http://www.sam.gov
- Select Create User Account, and then select Create an Account on the left-hand side of the screen under Individual Account Details. Organizations must have DUNS number and a CAGE number (US Domestic Organizations) or a NCAGE number (Foreign Organizations), to create an account.
- Complete and submit the online form. If the applying organization already has the necessary information on hand (see the SAM User Guide – https://www.sam.gov/SAM/SAM_Guide/SAM_User_Guide.htm), the online form takes approximately one hour to complete, depending upon the size and complexity of the applying entity. Because of the different steps in the process, it can take anywhere from three to fourteen days to complete the process of creating an account with the system.
Resources relevant to users registering an entity located outside the U.S. and its outlying areas in SAM.
- Quick Start Guide for International Registrations (PDF 90 KB)
- CAGE Code Search – The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) portal to search for domestic and foreign entity CAGE Code information.
- DUNS Number Request – The web form where Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a DUNS Number, a unique nine-digit identification number, for each physical location of your business. DUNS Number assignment and maintenance is free for all entities required to register with the U.S. government for contracts or grants.
- NCAGE Code Request – The online portal for international entities to request a new NATO CAGE (NCAGE) Code or submit updates to an existing NCAGE Code record.
Although the maximum funding available for a single grant is $50,000 U.S. dollars (USD), we anticipate most awards will be in the range of $10,000 – $24,000 USD. The program covers costs directly related to the project activities and encourages organizations to provide in-kind contributions and/or other donors’ funding to the projects.
Activities that may not be funded:
- Social welfare projects, including direct social services and consultations
- Organizational start-up costs
- Office rent and utilities
- Ongoing operating costs or capital improvements
- Buying furniture and office decorations
- Buying vehicles
- Setting up a center unless part of a broader project
- Projects that contain the appearance of partisanship/support to electoral campaigns
- Academic or analytical research (if not part of a larger project)
- Books writing and publishing
- International travel
- Covering costs of international participants/guest speakers
- Citizen exchange programs with foreign countries
- One-of-a kind events such as conferences and round tables (if not part of a larger project)
- Medical and psychological research and clinical studies
- Provision of health care services
- Projects of a commercial nature
- Cultural presentations, cultural research, cultural clubs, and festivals etc.
- Language training courses, summer camps, language schools
- Entertainment costs (receptions, social activities, ceremonies, alcoholic beverages, cocktail parties, guided tours).