The Stevens Initiative’s 2020 Virtual Exchange Grant Competition will award up to $10 million in funding to schools, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations to design and implement virtual exchange programs that connect young people in the US and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
There is a pressing need for young people to develop empathy, resiliency, self-awareness, and other skills that prepare them to thrive as global citizens and professionals. Virtual exchange fills this gap by providing young people relationship-building and skill development opportunities. There is an inextricable link between technology and human connection, and virtual exchange is a critical way to empower young people to work together to address common challenges.
The Initiative will fund virtual exchange programs that fall under three grant types.
- Scaling Grants: Funds long-standing, proven programs that reach large groups of young people. These programs show promise for sustainability and continued impact on the virtual exchange field.
- Efficiency Grants: Prioritizes programs that experiment with new efficiencies to increase reach and impact. These grants present opportunities to learn about best practices for virtual exchange implementation.
- Seeding Grants: Supports new, promising virtual exchange models. These programs are likely to scale over time and diversify the virtual exchange field.
Through these grants, the Initiative aims to reach an additional 40,000 young people.
The Initiative is interested in seeding new models as well as scaling proven models of virtual exchange through proposals focused on technology and computing, world affairs and global studies, business and entrepreneurship, language learning and practice, and public health. Proposals must demonstrate that young people participating in the program will have the opportunity to build practical skills and global competencies through hands-on and collaborative activities.
- Scaling Grants:$250,000 to $750,000
- Efficiency Grants: $100,000 to $400,000
- Seeding Grants: $50,000 to $150,000
What is virtual exchange?
Virtual exchange uses technology to connect people for education and exchange. Virtual exchange programs typically serve young people. Many virtual exchange programs are international, connecting participants in different countries to help them gain global competencies, among other knowledge, skills, and abilities. Many practitioners believe that facilitation by prepared, responsible adults — often but not always educators — is an important component of successful virtual exchange.
- Applying organizations must be based in the United States or in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Applicants based in the United States must be tax-exempt non-profit organizations, including educational institutions. U.S. applicants in the process of registration must submit proof that they are seeking non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service at the time of submission. Should the applicant be selected for a grant, funding will be contingent on the organization receiving tax exempt status. Grant recipients must be registered to conduct proposed activities in the countries where the activities would take place, if applicable.
- Applicants based in the Middle East or North Africa must be non-profit organizations, including educational institutions, that can demonstrate current in-country registration. Other organizations are not eligible to apply, though they may be included as sub-awardees or contract recipients. Staff should be proficient in English, able to file reports and conduct evaluations in English as well as in Arabic or French as appropriate.
- Fiscally sponsored organizations are eligible for funding; the application should be submitted by the fiscal sponsor and should make clear the arrangement between the fiscal sponsor and those carrying out the work.
Other Grant Rules
- Organizations may submit more than one application if the proposed programs are distinct and do not involve any overlap in staff, curriculum, participants, deliverables, etc.
- Activities must be conducted in the United States and in one or more of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Programs involving refugees from these countries who are currently in countries not listed above are also eligible.
- Participants may not be asked to pay in order to participate in Stevens Initiative-funded activities.
- Past recipients of Stevens Initiative grants?are eligible to submit applications.
- Current recipients of U.S. Government funds are eligible to submit applications. These applications must be for programs that are different from currently U.S. Government-funded activities and do not involve any overlap in staff, curriculum, participants, etc.
- Organizations are encouraged to collaborate to develop a proposed program. The full application should be submitted by one organization and may list partners as sub-awardees or contractors. The lead applicant should be the organization that will conduct the largest portion of the proposed work.
- Organizations that receive a grant may be asked to work with the Stevens Initiative to incorporate new implementing partners (such as educational institutions and community organizations) into their programs as appropriate.
- Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to meet U.S. reporting requirements as specified in the “Office of Management and Budget” and “Department of State” sections of “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” (2 CFR sections 200 and 600).
- Applicants are reminded that U.S. Executive Orders and U.S. law prohibits transactions with, and the provision of resources and support to, individuals and organizations associated with terrorism.
- The second year of funding will be contingent on the successful conduct of the first year.
Participants should be young people in the age range that corresponds to the K-12 school age level –including primary school, middle school, and high school – or postsecondary education age level, including undergraduate and graduate education levels as well as young professionals under the age of 35. Educators, facilitators, or group leaders who work with the youth participants are not counted as part of the youth participants number.
Up to 5 points for the participant plan in general:
- Clear and specific description of who the participants would be
- Clear and compelling articulation of how the program addresses the needs and interests of the intended participants
- Participation numbers approximately balanced between the regions
- Clear participant recruitment and incentives to join/complete the program
- Demonstrated effort to ensure equal access for and empower participation by women and girls, young people from minority groups, and young people with disabilities
For more information, visit https://www.stevensinitiative.org/2020-virtual-exchange-grant-competition/