The US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE) is pleased to announce the launch of its 2019-2020 project competition. Teams composed of at least one US and Russian organization or higher education institution are invited to propose innovative bilateral initiatives that will benefit both countries and address a common issue in one of the four following socially-oriented themes:
- Social inclusion
- Technology and innovation for social good
- Social entrepreneurship
- Youth engagement
Details on specific eligibility criteria, project design requirements, and submission instructions are specified in the official Request for Applications (RFA), which is detailed below.
Project teams may request up to $43,000 in funding for a period of up to twelve months.
To participate in the competition, all project teams must submit their statements of interest no later than 11:59 pm EST on January 23, 2020 via EF’s online application form HERE.
Through this Request for Applications (RFA), Eurasia Foundation’s (EF) U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE) invites statements of interest from U.S. organizations seeking to establish collaboration with Russian partner(s) in joint pursuit of solutions to social issues of importance to both countries.
EF is accepting statements of interest for projects that have a broad bilateral impact in the following thematic areas: Social Inclusion, Technology and Innovation for Social Good, Social Entrepreneurship, and Youth Engagement. Projects should avoid topics related to political activism or activity, or public policy reform.
EF will fund innovative ideas that leverage U.S.-Russian cooperation to implement unique solutions to pressing social problems in the above thematic areas. Projects may request EF funding of up to $43,000 for projects that focus on various topics, including but not limited to increasing involvement of youth in the social sphere and cultivating their participation in international dialogue; increasing involvement of people with disabilities in social life, employment, and sports; and creating initiatives to encourage social entrepreneurship and technological innovation.
All statements of interest should be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on January 23, 2020, to be considered for funding.
Projects must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Projects must address one or more of SEE’s four thematic areas (Social Inclusion, Technology and Innovation for Social Good, Social Entrepreneurship, and Youth Engagement).
- Projects must include one U.S.-based partner and one Russia-based partner as implementing organizations. Lead partners may also include other organizations/individuals as additional implementers to assist with project activities as necessary.
- Project applications must be submitted by the U.S.-based partner on behalf of the partnership. EF will only disburse funds to the U.S. lead organization to manage on behalf of the partnership.
- Projects must achieve clear and measurable impact with equal or near-equal benefit to both the U.S. and Russia.
- Projects must impact at least 250 direct beneficiaries* in each country (500 total).
- Projects may not directly engage in political activism, public policy reform, or the influence of public opinion.
- Russian federal, regional, state, and local government bodies; government-funded social institutions (e.g. orphanages, nature preserves); as well as federal academic and research institutions are not eligible to serve as project partners (except for student groups, which may do so).
While universities and other research institutions are eligible to apply, funded projects must expand beyond pure research. Projects falling outside the four thematic areas will also be considered for funding if the project will facilitate greater understanding of shared values in the U.S. and Russia. Applicants are encouraged to include innovative methodologies and technologies to accomplish program goals and collaboration between U.S. and Russian peers.
* “Direct beneficiaries” are identifiable individuals who receive measurable benefit from project activities (e.g. obtain new knowledge or skills by attending a training, gain access to new community resources generated or enhanced by the project, or increased understanding of an issue due to project outreach).
Project teams that plan to integrate international travel into their projects should keep the following requirements in mind while planning their project activities:
- Due to significantly increased wait times for both U.S. and Russian visas, the project team should allot enough time for visa processing in advance of any international travel (at least 60 days in advance for travel to Russia and 90 days in advance for travel to the US). Project teams should begin planning international travel as soon as funding is awarded.
- The project team will be responsible for making all travel arrangements associated with the project (e.g. lodging, domestic and international transportation, interpretation services, per diem/living allowance, health insurance, visa services).
- All participants traveling internationally must take part in an EF online orientation before their departure from their home countries.
USE OF FUNDS
Project funding may only be used for activities directly connected with the implementation of the project, such as:
- Direct costs of project-related events (e.g., organizing meetings, rental of conference facilities, translation services);
- Communication between partner organizations (e.g., phone, email, web conferencing);
- Travel expenses associated with the project (e.g., transportation, accommodation, per diem, health insurance, visa fees, interpretation and other related expenses);
- Funds used to conduct outreach and marketing activities, and dissemination of project deliverables (e.g., publications, email marketing, social media promotion, website maintenance costs);
- Prorated portion of salaries for project team members;
- Modest honoraria for key project experts;
- Other expenses directly related to project implementation.
In accordance with EF policy, funding may not be used for the following costs: an organization’s ongoing expenses; construction expenses, purchase of real estate, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, business/first-class travel, and the repayment of debts. Applicants are advised that EF funding may not be used to directly benefit (monetarily or non-monetarily) the Russian federal, regional, state, and local government bodies; government-funded social institutions (e.g. orphanages, museums, nature preserves); as well as federal academic and research institutions.
The U.S. lead organization will conclude an official funding agreement with Eurasia Foundation and accept sole legal responsibility for the project on behalf of the project team.
All applicants must use EF’s online grant management system. The application process has two stages. The only document required in the first stage is a statement of interest.
Statements should not exceed two single-spaced pages using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Margins should be one inch or greater. While the applicant may determine the concept note’s format, please ensure that all the following questions are addressed:
- What is the main issue/problem?
- What is the project’s main objective?
- What are some key activities that will help the project achieve its objective?
- How will the project improve US-Russian collaboration?
- Who will be the project’s main implementing organization and Russian partner(s)?
- How are the applicant organization and partner(s) equipped to implement the initiative?
If this is the first time that an applicant has applied to an EF funding opportunity using the online grant management system, a representative from the organization must create an account on the grant management system by following the instructions on the right of the login page linked above. If an applicant already has an account, they may simply log in without creating a new account.
Upon review of initial applications after January 23, 2020, prospective statements of interest will be invited to submit full funding applications, which will consist of the following documents:
- Detailed project narrative;
- Completed logical framework form;
- Letter of commitment from the lead organization in the other country;
- Resumes for all key personnel;
- Detailed project budget form;
- Budget narrative;
- Financial management questionnaire;
- Application certification form.
Semi-finalists will have a chance to consult directly with the SEE team during the full application process.
To be considered for funding, the initial statement of interest must be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on January 23, 2020.
All materials and documents submitted in connection with this competition will be retained by Eurasia Foundation during the review process and will not be returned to the applicant. Eurasia Foundation does not use the information presented by applicants for purposes other than review and does not provide this information to any outside persons or institutions, except in such cases where it is required by U.S. or Russian law, or by donor agreements with Eurasia Foundation.
CRITERIA FOR PROJECT EVALUATION AND SELECTION
The following criteria will be used to evaluate project applications:
- Extent of demonstrated need for the project among target groups;
- Clarity and impact of the project objective and activities;
- Relevance of proposed activities for achieving the project objective;
- Overall extent of project impact in the U.S. and Russia and on collaboration between the two countries;
- Potential for project sustainability beyond the proposed funding period;
- Capacity of lead organizations and other project team members to successfully implement the proposed project.