Democracy Commission Small Grants

U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania
Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title Call for Proposals of the Democracy Commission Program 2021
Funding Opportunity Number: PAOTR21DC02
Deadline for Applications: June 01, 2021
Assistance Listing Number: 19.900
Total Amount Available: (to be determined) 


The U.S. Embassy Tirana Albania announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications for the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program.  Please follow all instructions below.

Program Objectives: 

The Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, administered by the Public Affairs Section, is soliciting proposals from non-governmental organizations Albania that focus on the priority areas specified below:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Good Governance
  • Human Rights/Minority Rights
  • Empowerment of Women and Youth
  • Combatting Human Trafficking
  • Reforms
  • Climate change and environmental protection
  • Investigative Journalism
Democracy Commission does NOT fund projects such as the following:
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Humanitarian assistance projects
  • Scientific research projects
  • Projects that duplicate existing projects being implemented by an organization
  • Projects submitted by for-profit, commercial organizations
  • Projects that support partisan political and/or religious activity
  • Conferences and individual trips abroad
  • Trade activities
  • Length of performance period: six to twelve months
  • Award amounts: from $30,000 up to $50,000
  • Type of Funding:  FY20/21 AEECA under the Foreign Assistance Act
  • Anticipated program start date:  September 2021
  • Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

1.Eligible Applicants – Only Albanian not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations are eligible to apply.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching is not required and is not part of the evaluation criteria. However, the applicants are encouraged to explore the possibility of the cost-share whenever possible.

3.Other Eligibility Requirements

  • In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations. Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in
  • Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that applicant will be considered ineligible for funding.
  • Organizations are eligible to receiving funding from this program only one time in a two-year period.
  • 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 than the first.
  • U.S. organizations and individuals are not eligible for grants under the program.
  • The application requires a clear description of the activity for which grant funds are being requested and a budget proposal broken down by expenditure category; otherwise it will not be considered.

  1. Address to Request Application Package

This call for proposals and forms required below are available at (link to the embassy website,

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission  

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

Content of Application
Please ensure:
  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
The following documents are required:
a.Mandatory application forms
  • SF-424 (PDF 141 KB) (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF-424A (PDF 1 MB) (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
b. Completed electronic version of the Application Form  (PDF 5 MB)
The application form includes the following:
  • Project title
  • Name, address, telephone/fax number, e-mail address of the organization and name of contact person
  • Project goal
  • Project theme (select from the drop-down menu, if “other” use next tab)
  • Project justification
  • A description of the project and who the target audience is
  • Key project activities
  • Project dates (approximate time from the beginning to the completion of the project)
  • A description of the expected results
  • A brief description of how the success of the project will be measured and evaluated
  • A list of name and title of team members
  • A brief description of what the organization does
  • A summary of the budget (based on the detailed budget form in the Excel format)
c. Detailed Budget form (Excel format, 16 KB)
d. Budget Justification Narrative

Use a separate word document to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section  Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

e. Attachments:
  • Copies of the court decision registration and statute of the organization
  • 1-page summary of CV/resume of key personnel who are proposed for the project
  • Detailed work-plan (use your own format)
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner (optional)
  • Memorandum of Understanding with government or other institutions/organizations, if required for program activities. (optional)
3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (
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.

All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

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

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an 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:

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

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

4. Submission Dates and Times 

Applications are due no later than June 01, 2021

5. Funding Restrictions

Award funds can be used only for activities occurred only in Albania. countries, and for payments only to Albanian citizens.

6. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to, or electronically through

Please do not modify the application forms. Submission in WinZIP, WinRAR, WeTransfer, Google Drive, etc., is not allowed.

Applications that does not meet any of the above requirements and/or submitted after the deadline will be ineligible!


1. Criteria

The Democracy Commission will assess the following when evaluating 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 that the project is aiming to address and is able to articulate it with specificity and clarity.
  • The organization has consulted relevant resources, experts, and potential partner organizations during the project’s design phase.
  • 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 and manageable scope.
  • The project’s idea and approach are innovative, yet capable of being completed with the program period. Proposed project activities must be concrete, 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.
  • Past performance, including U.S. government funded grants, indicates reliability, responsible use of resources, and an ability to follow through with project aims.
2. Review and Selection Process

The U.S. Embassy has established the Democracy Commission which is the body that reviews and evaluates proposals for this program.  It will take the Commission up to a month after the application deadline to complete its review process.  Applicants may be contacted with questions during this review process and will be informed whether or not their proposal was selected via e-mail.

3. Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

i. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;

iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.206 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.


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 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. Extension of 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: Via Electronic Financial Transaction System (EFT). Payment frequency will be decided on award basis depending on the amount and length of the performance period.

2. 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:

In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to the Democracy Commission Program, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following:  NOTE:

  • President’s September 2, 2020 memorandum, entitled Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients of Federal Funds that Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities;
  • Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (E.O. 13950);
  • Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence (E.O. 13933); and
  • Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
    • Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    • Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
    • Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    • Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
    • Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
3. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit up to two interim and one final financial and program reports, as specified in the award.


Any questions concerning this NOFO should be submitted in writing to the Tirana Democracy Commission via email at


Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor (if applicable).

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.