ARMENIA

Grant Making

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EPF currently is not accepting applications for grants on an open-door basis. Please follow the EPF website news page and Facebook page for announcements on thematically-bound grant competitions.

 

EPF started as a grant making organization. Since 2007, it is a project implementation organization. However, while implementing projects and aiming at achieving results, EPF continues combining project implementation with grant making. This allows EPF engaging more partners in its work; working in consortia or with grassroots organizations; reaching localities which otherwise EPF wouldn’t be able to reach; and working in the areas where it does not have specialized staff and/or profile, thereby accumulating expertise. This is also an important strategic way of helping local civil societies with building their capacities and sustainability. Grants can be also given to organizations outside Armenia, if EPF implements a project in partnership with them.

While EPF does not have any more funds for Open Door grant making, it fundraises for grant making funds within its larger-scale projects, and often declares competitions for projects in designated areas of work.

In order to learn if grant opportunities in this or that area of work are available currently, please check EPF’s website’s news section frequently.

EPF has earned a reputation throughout the region for administering efficient, results-oriented grants. Its approach is grassroots and demand driven, and always emphasizes strengthening local capacity, fostering local initiative, and promoting transparency of local decision-making.

EPF’s grants are more than just a mechanism for disbursing funds – they build the institutional capacity and internal controls of partners. Before grant implementation, EPF staff work jointly with grantees on project design, implementation schedules, and evaluation processes, including establishing baselines and indicators. Afterwards, EPF program officers guide partners further through the grants implementation process.

EPF employs a unique proprietary grants management system (GMS ME), which allows for strict fiscal oversight of grant recipients. EPF’s accounting practices comply with the highest international standards. EPF’s systems enable it to meet all reporting and audit requirements put forth by local tax authorities and different donors.

EPF has detailed procedures with respect to inquiry and proposal review, grant awards, monitoring and closing. Grantees are required to submit periodic analytical and financial reports that document grant activity and expenditure. In addition, EPF conducts periodic site visits to each grantee in order to verify that grants are progressing as expected and to confirm grantee compliance with internal controls, accounting procedures, and management practices. The intensive grant review and implementation process, pioneered by EPF, builds internal capacity, policies and procedures that strengthen the future work of its partners and inherently works toward institutional sustainability. EPF assures that its partners fully follow the local regulations, including taxation and all the obligatory disbursements and other regulations, and thus strengthen rather than weaken their capacity to work in the ever changing local circumstances.

EPF can allocate grants of various sizes and to various entities. EPF has procedures for allocation of grants to both organizations and individuals.

Over the 20 years that EPF (and its predecessor, the representative office of Eurasia Foundation) has operated, the Foundation has managed over $80 million in grants and technical assistance in the South Caucasus. The majority of this money came from USAID; a number of other donors also entrusted EPF with grants and program management. Among those donors have been the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and others.

One reason that donors entrust their grants management to EPF is that the Foundation has earned a strong reputation as a neutral actor in a field where polarized issues tend to pull stakeholders apart. EPF is recognized by the state and non-state actors as an honest facilitator of dialogue. This reputation allows EPF to bring various stakeholders together, ultimately having a greater impact, and to conduct work without the risk of conflict of interest. The rigorous grants selection process and management systems are critical to this perceived neutrality.

Proposal: Applicants submit a basic project description based on the Request for Proposals, which can be widely advertised or invited.  Proposals are reviewed by program officers and grants managers for fit and cost effectiveness.  EPF staff will work with the applicant to improve the proposal if it holds promise, but is not quite ready to be funded, recommending adjustments to the budget, deliverables, implementation schedules, or evaluation frameworks.

Committee:  All proposals are submitted to the committee for review and recommendations; the committee includes key members of the relevant donor and civil society community. For every project, the rules of committee composition and operation can vary, based on the project’s needs and donor requirements, but they all follow the principles of transparency, equality of opportunity, preventing conflict of interest, and due diligence enshrined in EPF’s policies and procedures.

Due Diligence: After grant projects are approved, applicants must undergo a pre-award site visit. Program officers and grants managers interview key staff in the applicant organization to assess organizational capacity and identify risk factors that may impact the ability to be fiscally responsible. Only after this due diligence review is conducted is a grant agreement signed.

Capacity Building Seminars: EPF provides seminars on financial and program management and reporting to all grantees. The Foundation’s financial controls are stringent, and complying with them can significantly build capacity in younger organizations.  Even many mature NGOs have based their internal accounting, control, and procurement systems on EPF’s standard operating requirements.  Funds are disbursed in several tranches, depending on the project’s activity cycle and cash flow needs.

Project Monitoring: Throughout the project life cycle, financial reports are submitted and reviewed by EPF staff prior to the release of subsequent tranches of funding.  Midterm project reports are reviewed to assure adequate progress in implementation and output development.  EPF staff conducts occasional site visits and, in rare cases, funding is cancelled if compliance with EPF standards is not upheld.  Throughout the project, EPF also oversees public outreach and advocacy efforts, facilitating connections to other donors and partners, and helping to secure high-level meetings and attention to specific issues.

Since 2008 EPF has awarded 132 grants, 39 of which were awarded to organizations outside the capital Yerevan, and 34 to for-profit organizations (LTD, CJSC).

Please download the full list of funded grants here:

EPF Past Grant Projects (2008-2011)