U.S. Embassy Vilnius’ Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program provides funding to organizations and, in some cases, individuals that implement projects which support U.S. Embassy priorities.
The Annual Program Statement describes the general project themes the Embassy is focusing on, as funding is available. The Embassy reviews new grant requests approximately every four to six weeks. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to submit grant application forms to the Embassy at least six weeks before the proposed activities would begin, preferably farther in advance. NOTE: The deadline to submit applications for fiscal year 2018 is August 15, 2018.
The second type of funding opportunity is for specific program initiatives. These requests for proposals will have a set application deadline and project criteria.
In deciding which proposals to support, the Embassy will give consideration to the full range and diversity of Lithuanian non-profit organizations – cultural, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and educational – and will seek to target geographically and demographically diverse audiences in Lithuania. Lithuanian and U.S. citizens may apply as individuals, but preference is generally given to projects proposed by organizations.
The Embassy adheres to U.S. Government rules and regulations pertaining to grants administration. Please read carefully the information provided in the tabs below.
Annual Program Statement for Fiscal Year 2018
The Embassy generally accepts proposals that support the following Embassy goals:
- Strengthening cultural, educational, and economic ties between Americans and Lithuanians;
- Safeguarding people’s right to accurate information;
- Promoting democratic values, human rights, and an inclusive society;
- Encouraging entrepreneurship and good business practices
All programs must have an American element and must reach a Lithuanian audience. Preference will be given to proposals that: are part of long-term initiatives, reach audiences of strategic importance, and/or can demonstrate a sustained positive impact in the community.
Applications will be reviewed and evaluated based on:
- the proposed project’s alignment with the Embassy’s priority goals;
- the anticipated impact and long-term sustainability of the program;
- financial feasibility, including the level of cost-sharing by the applicant; and
- the availability of funds in the Small Grants Program budget.
Annual Program proposals can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Proposals submitted in response to a specific funding opportunity must be submitted by the deadline stated in the Program Description for that request for proposals.
Organizations or individuals wishing to submit proposals should complete the forms listed below and submit complete application packages online via e-mail to the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius at the following email address: VilniusGrants@state.gov with “PAS FY18 NOFO” and the applicant organization’s name in the subject line. It is advised that applications should be submitted at least 3 months ahead of the start of the project.
The Embassy will confirm the receipt of the application by e-mail and, usually, applicants are informed about the decision regarding their application within four – eight weeks from the submission of the documents.
The following documents are required for applications from both organizations and individuals:
- Public Affairs Grant Proposal (PDF, 1.3MB) (form provided)
- U.S. Embassy Vilnius Grant Budget Spreadsheet (XLS, 890KB) (form provided)
- Budget narrative, explaining how the budget line-items will be used and what they will cover (applicant may provide this in any format, such as a Word or PDF document)
All applicants will receive confirmation of the receipt of their proposal within one week of the submission date. If you do not receive such an email, please contact the Embassy at +370 5 2665453 to confirm your documents were received.
If a proposal is selected, the following additional forms are required:
- Grants for Organizations SF-424 (PDF, 729KB)
- Instructions for the SF-424 form, organizations
- Budget Information for Non-Construction programs, SF-424A (PDF, 314KB)
- Instructions for SF-424A form
- Assurances for Non-Construction programs, SF-424B (PDF, 82KB)
- Instructions for SF-424B form
- DUNS and SAM.gov registration
Review and Selection Process
The Public Affairs Section considers all proposals received, and provides a written response. Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following evaluation criteria. Successful applications demonstrate:
Priorities: the project directly relates to and furthers work in the Embassy’s goals.
Goals and Objectives: the application clearly states the project goals and objectives and a plan for achieving maximum impact.
Wise Use of Resources: the budget is reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The plan is realistic.
Organizational capacity: the applicant has expertise in the field and the technical capacity to undertake the project or can demonstrate partnerships with other organizations to supplement capacity. Project can reasonably be completed on schedule and on budget. Organizations that have received U.S. government in the past must have met program and reporting expectations.
Sustainability: the project activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.
Innovation: the project takes an innovative approach that has not been fully utilized in Lithuania.
Monitoring and evaluation: success can be measured against key indicators. The application provides milestones to indicate progress toward the program’s goals.
Award Notices: The grant award or cooperative agreement shall be written, signed, awarded and administered by the Grants Officer. The Grants Officer is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award and administer grants and cooperative agreements. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient. Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.
Payment Method: The standard form SF-270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement Payments may be submitted in the amounts required by the recipient to carry out the purpose of this award. Payments will be made in at least two installments and the initial installment may not exceed the amount of 80%.
Reporting Requirements: All awards issued under this announcement will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement. The disbursement of funds may be tied to submission of these reports in a timely manner. All other details related to award administration will be specified in award agreement as well.
Branding Policy: A standard U.S. flag in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy seal must be used for all program and event publicity materials toward which the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius has contributed funding. The objective is for audiences overseas to understand that a program has received U.S. government support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions related to US Embassy Vilnius’ Small Grants Program may be referred to the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section at VilniusGrants@state.gov or +370 5 266 5453. Before contacting the Embassy, please carefully review the Frequently Asked Questions and their answers below.
- What is an American element?
Every program supported by a small grant from the U.S. Embassy must have an American element. This might include the involvement of American speakers or organizations, or engagement with American culture, public policy, or training models. Projects involving an American expert, artist, performer, author, etc., are considered stronger. These individuals must be U.S. citizens.
- Who makes decisions about grant proposals?
Grant proposals are reviewed and discussed by the Grants Committee, consisting of staff of the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy, with the involvement of officers from other Embassy sections based on the subject matter of the proposal.
- 3. What makes a grant proposal more competitive?
In each fiscal year, the Embassy receives 150 – 200 applications for funding. In order to give each application a fair review, we ask that you keep a few factors in mind:
- Be concise:Time restrictions don’t allow the committee to spend a lot of time with each application. We need to ask that you limit your entries in the application to only the most relevant information for this specific project for which you are submitting an application.
- English counts:You application will be reviewed by Lithuanian and English speakers. It is important that the quality of the English language be good enough so that the committee can give your idea a fair review. Only applications submitted in English will be reviewed.
- Be concrete: The most important section of the application is the Project Activities Description. Be very clear about what the project is and the various distinct elements. Successful applicants will be able to describe the concrete effects that will occur as a result of the project.
In general, a program that proposes an original project idea and a well-balanced arrangement of project activities in terms of time, resources, and impact on the target audiences will be given priority over programs that lack well-defined aims and objectives and are unclear about specifics, such as resources to be used or target audiences to be reached. In addition, grant proposals outlining specific projects are favored over those that request funding for ongoing activities and/or normal operations of an organization.
- What types of applicants are not eligible?
Commercial companies or third country organizations and individuals (non-Lithuania and non-American) are not eligible for grants.
- What types of projects does the Embassy support?
The Embassy has supported a wide variety of project types covering numerous themes. While certain formats are frequently used – such as hosting an American speaker, sponsoring a performance or exhibit of an American artist, organizing a workshop or conference – the Embassy welcomes new and creative projects as well.
- What are the activities that are not funded?
Activities that are typically not funded include:
- Paying to complete activities already begun;
- Programs that promote particular political parties, religious beliefs, or companies;
- Requests by organizations and individuals who are neither Lithuanian nor American;
- Fund-raising campaigns and charity projects that give away money or property;
- Construction projects;
- Projects aimed only at primary institutional development or capacity building of the organization; and
- Projects that duplicate existing efforts.
- Can a project include a request for funding for travel to the U.S.?
The Small Grants Program aims to promote a number of prioritized goals. If a portion of your project proposes a trip to the U.S., please be clear about how this trip is necessary for the success of your project.
- Can the organization start spending funds before the grant is signed?
The approved applicant cannot start spending funds until the project period has been set (project start date) and the grant documentation has been signed by both parties. All the funds must be spent within the project period (before project end date). Otherwise, the organization is taking the responsibility for the costs incurred.