Notice of Funding Opportunities: Alumni Grants Program 2021

The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb invites alumni of U.S. Government-sponsored programs and Croatian citizens who have studied in U.S. high schools or universities to submit proposals by February 26, 2021, for small-scale projects addressing one or more of the following themes:

  • Educational programs and initiatives that contribute to a more transparent business environment and the improvement of Croatia’s investment climate;
  • Initiatives that strengthen ties between U.S. and Croatian businesses and organizations to nurture shared economic success, including through entrepreneurship;
  • Educational and training programs on artificial intelligence, gaming, and cybersecurity in the era of 5G technology and digitalization;
  • Programs that support women’s, minorities’ and other underrepresented groups’ political, security, economic, and civic participation and inclusion;
  • Programs advancing energy cooperation and energy security;
  • Programs encouraging regional cross-border cooperation and understanding of the past, including Holocaust education and legacy issues;
  • Programs for teachers and high school and university students to develop innovative teaching methods, promote academic integrity, and encourage civic engagement.

Eligibility and Rules (Proposals that do not meet these requirements are ineligible):

  • Grants are awarded to alumni of U.S. Government-sponsored programs and Croatian citizens who have studied in U.S. high schools or universities;
  • Grants are awarded to an individual alumnus or alumna. If a group of alumni is coordinating on a project, one individual must be listed as the project leader and is responsible for communicating with the Embassy, reporting on project results, and submitting timely financial reports;
  • Funds should be received through a non-profit and non-governmental institution (usually the grantee’s employer or association, which may be an NGO, an academic institution, or another organization registered in Croatia);
  • If a proposal is selected, a valid System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration will be required to receive funding and begin project activities. (Please see below for details.);
  • Each alumnus or alumna is only allowed to submit one proposal;
  • If the Embassy receives multiple proposals affiliated with the same institution, the Embassy will evaluate during the proposal review process the institution’s capacity to manage multiple grants;
  • Alumni with active grants from the U.S. Embassy are not eligible to apply;
  • Funding is provided for projects starting after May 1, 2021, and no later than October 1, 2021.

Tips for Successful Proposals:

  • Clearly define how the alumna/us will share their U.S. experience with a wider audience in Croatia;
  • Include program components that enhance the U.S.-Croatia partnership by building relationships and networks;
  • Include a plan to recognize support from the U.S. Embassy in program materials and advertising;
  • Present specific, realistic plans for follow-up activities and amplification to a wider audience;
  • Engage U.S. experts virtually or in-person when conditions allow.

Financial Guidelines:

  • Grants range from $10,000 to $25,000;
  • Grants must be used to fund activities that take place in Croatia (or in the region, if the project is regional);
  • Budgets must be submitted in U.S. dollars. The committee will not review projects with budgets written in Croatian Kuna or other currencies;
  • Budgets must be submitted in English but supporting documents may be in Croatian;
  • Cost-sharing is encouraged. Please indicate which costs you are asking the Embassy to cover;
  • Budgets must include line items clearly broken down (for example, instead of “$400 for accommodation,” your budget should specify “X nights accommodation at $Y per night for Z number of U.S. speakers”);
  • Embassy grants cannot be used to fund religious organizations or political activity; humanitarian or charitable activities; trade activities; fundraising campaigns and commercial projects; laboratory research or individual travel outside of Croatia for consultations or conferences;
  • The Embassy reserves the right to offer partial funding for any project;
  • Grantees are required to submit financial reports and program reports on a regular basis;
  • The Embassy cannot reimburse for costs incurred before the grant is signed.

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. (for example, instead of “$2000 for salary,” your budget should specify “X percent of project work x number of months based on gross salary $Y per month);
  • 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.
  • Accommodation: Estimate the costs of travel based on researched accommodation prices. For example, instead of “$400 for accommodation,” your budget should specify “X nights accommodation at $Y per night for Z number of U.S. speakers.”
  • Equipment: Describe any equipment required for the program, which will last more than one year and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
  • Supplies: 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.  Equipment and supplies may not be given as a gift, prize, or sub-grant.
  • Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor. Also, describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
  • 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.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.
  • “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.
  • Entertainment and refreshments: Refreshment costs must be integral to the program and kept to a minimum.  Entertainment costs (amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonials, alcoholic beverages, cocktail parties) are not allowable expenses.

Application Requirements:

SAM.GOV Requirement:

If your application is selected, a valid System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration will be required to receive funding and begin project activities through this Notice of Funding Opportunity.  SAM.gov registration is online and free of charge but it can take several weeks to finalize.  Therefore we strongly encourage all applicants to start the SAM.gov registration process immediately.  In order to obtain SAM.gov registration, applicants must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System, or “DUNS” number) and a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code.

STEPS TO APPLY FOR SAM.GOV:

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number

  • DUNS application: If your organization does not already have a DUNS number, you may obtain one here
  • NCAGE application

Instructions for the NCAGE application process available here

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE number, register at SAM.gov

  • Please note that merely obtaining a SAM.gov username and password does not complete the registration but only allows you to enter the database and register your organization.
  • gov registration must be renewed annually.
  • Please visit https://www.sam.gov for help with registration. The Embassy cannot provide support related to the SAM.gov registration process. 

Application Deadline:  Friday, February 26, 2021, at 12:00 p.m.

  • Email your complete application to zagrebalumnigrants@state.gov. Late submissions will not be considered;
  • You should receive an auto-reply stating that your email has been received. If you do not receive an auto-reply within one day, please contact us.
  • Review Process: An Embassy committee will review all eligible proposals using the following criteria
  • Quality and feasibility: The program idea is well developed and includes details on how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline;
  • Organizational capacity and record managing previous U.S. Government grants, if applicable: The organization has expertise in its stated field and the ability to manage a grant;
  • Clear objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and the program approach is likely to achieve the proposed results;
  • Detailed budget justification: 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;
  • Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates he/she is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal;
  • Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have a positive impact after the formal end of the program.

Applicants will be notified of results by the end of April 2021.

All questions about the program should be addressed to ZagrebAlumniGrants@state.gov.  No inquires will be accepted by phone, social media, or any other method.  Contacting the members of the panel and Embassy employees about the call for proposals may result in disqualification.