U.S. Embassy Bern Public Affairs Grants
Do you or does your organization do work that aligns with the mission of the Public Affairs Section? Are you looking for a small grant (under $10,000) to move your project forward? We would love to hear from you!
We seek to promote mutual understanding among the American, Swiss, and Liechtensteiner people. Traditionally, U.S. Embassy Bern has funded projects such as cultural programs where an American artist participates or is celebrated, projects that reach young people, and projects that raise awareness on important topics such as human rights. For example, we have previously contributed to these programs:
- Jazzwerkstatt: U.S. Embassy Bern has funded American participants in this jazz festival which introduces young Swiss musicians to contemporary and non-mainstream American jazz. An Embassy official has spoken at the event at each year.
- HackZurich: Organized by students from the ETH and the University of Zurich, this hackathon takes place once a year. U.S. Embassy Bern funded the travel for Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin to judge the competition because it supports the mutually shared value of innovation in technology. The Embassy also facilitated the participation of Ben Huh (former CEO of The Cheezburger Network) who delivered remarks at the event.
- du-bist-du: To increase understanding of the LGBTI community, du-bist-du leaders are training young volunteers to hold outreach activities in youth centers. These activities are complemented by the Wir Zeigen Uns campaign which shows photographs and short bios of happy, proud, LGBTI people from all walks of life. This grant supports the U.S. foreign policy goal of supporting equality and human rights.
The embassy welcomes proposals on these themes as well as new ones such as refugee/migrant integration and digital innovation, but grant awards are not limited to these areas.
Engaging young people (ages 15-35) is a top priority.
I. What We Look for in a Proposal
U.S. Embassy Bern seeks proposals with a clear narrative demonstrating what need or problem the project addresses, the change that the project seeks to affect, a clear articulation of the activities that will lead to this change, a monitoring plan for keeping the project on track, and an evaluation plan for examining whether or not the project achieved the change it sought, and a reasonable budget. Characteristics of successful proposed projects are as follows:
- Maximum impact: Projects should have multiple components (not be stand-alone events) to increase the project’s reach. For example, a project could take place in multiple cantons. It could include a round table discussion, webinar, workshop for students, or take places in stages throughout the year. We invite applicants to think creatively about how to maximize a project’s impact.
- Funding rationale: Proposals should demonstrate why the U.S. Embassy Bern is uniquely positioned to fund the project, as opposed to sponsors that may be more appropriate such as local governments or corporations.
- Communications plan: Projects should include a media outreach strategy such as social media, interviews with media outlets, etc.
- Cost share: We encourage applicants to provide cost-sharing from additional sources in support of their project, such as the use of highly skilled volunteers or cooperation with partner organizations.
We do not support projects that have no discernable American connection, such as an event or training that has no clear connection to American culture, shared values, or the relationship between the United States and Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
II. Who Can Apply
U.S. Embassy Bern welcomes applications from both individuals and organizations based in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, whether public or private. Not-for-profit, civil society/non-governmental organizations, think tanks, educational institutions, and companies are all eligible.
Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance of U.S. Federal and Public Diplomacy regulations and guidelines and may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other State Department elements. Proposals will be funded based on an evaluation of how the proposal meets the solicitation review criteria, U.S. foreign policy objectives, and Embassy priorities.
III. What You Should Send Us, How, and When
Applications may be submitted at any time for consideration. Please send them to BernPA@state.gov with “Grant Proposal: Your Organization’s Name” in the subject line of the email.
Format. Proposals must include the items listed below:
- Summary of Project
- Organizational Description and Capacity, i.e. who will manage the project
- Project Narrative: Needs Statement, Goal, Participants, Activities, and Timeline
- Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
File size: Proposals must be under 15MB. For larger files, send via postal mail:
U.S. Embassy Bern
Public Affairs Section
3007 Bern, Switzerland
Language: We prefer English, but you may also submit your application in French or German. The language of the submission does not affect our evaluation.
Proposal length: We do not have a minimum or maximum length, but we prefer proposals that are concise – shorter is better. The number of pages does not affect our evaluation.
Timing: The proposed project should start by October 1st and be complete within one year.
IV. How We Evaluate Proposals
We evaluate each application based on criteria designed to assess the quality of the proposed project and the likelihood of its success. Applications will be reviewed based on the project narrative (see section I), monitor and evaluation plan, budget, and overall quality of the written proposal.
Past performance and timely reporting on grants awarded by the U.S. Department of State, other United States government entities, or international donor agencies may also be considered.
V. Award Notification
A final award cannot be made until proposals have passed through the required review and approval process, and funds have been allocated. U.S. Embassy Bern reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets.
Applicants will be notified via email whether or not they received funding within 60 days of application submission.
VI. Other Information
This announcement 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.
The information contained in this solicitation is binding and may not be modified by any Embassy or U.S. State Department representative. Explanatory information provided by the Embassy that contradicts this language will not be binding.
VII. Frequently Asked Questions
- I have an idea for a project – could you give me feedback at this stage or do I have to write a full proposal first?
You can certainly reach out to us at BernPA@state.gov about your idea to get informal feedback on whether or not it’s the type of thing we tend to fund. While we will not develop the proposal with you, we are happy to let you know if your idea is worth pursuing with us or not.
- Does U.S. Embassy Bern provide promotional support for grant activities?
We may promote grant activities when appropriate on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We can also, as appropriate, share activity information with relevant contacts. We do not provide public relations support or manage outreach campaigns for grantees.
- Does the grant pay for salaries?
Salaries are not an allowable expense. However, services are. For example, if a grant requires an expert or specialist to develop the program, that expense would be allowed. Budget line items should refer to the service provided. Staff overhead is not allowed.
- Does the grant pay for speakers?
If a speaker is part of an overall program, then those fees may be included in a grant.
- Where can I find additional funding sources from the U.S. Government?
Please visit www.grants.gov for a list of available funding from the U. S. Government.