Grant Application Guidelines

1. General information about the Grants Program

The overarching goal of the Foundation for the Future is to support democratic reforms and empower citizens by strengthening the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) throughout the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA)1. The Grants Program is one of the tools and mechanisms that the Foundation can offer for civil society to engage in the promotion of democratic transformation, respect and protection of human rights and achievement of the rule of law. Generally, proposals should promote the development of effective mechanisms for citizens’ participation by strengthening and engaging civil society with a focus on one of the following programmatic priority areas:

  1. Civic engagement and citizen participation to public and political life
  2. Promotion and protection of human rights
  3. Women empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality
  4. Democracy and good governance
  5. Transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law
  6. Media freedom

Grants applications must address adequately one or more of the afore mentioned areas, and reflect the needs and state of affairs in the specific project location chosen by the applicant.

2. Eligibility of applicants

  • Applicants must be based and must operate in one or more of the countries included in the Foundation’s geographical mandate.
  • Applicants should be not‐for‐profit, non‐governmental, independent and endogenous civil society organizations (not individuals or physical persons). They must have a formal registration proof of such status.

International organizations (included their local or regional offices in the region) or organizations based outside of the BMENA region are not eligible. They can however form partnerships with locally‐registered CSOs who would thus be the applicant.

  • The purpose of the action/project must strictly and directly respond of one of the Foundation’s programmatic priorities and the specific guidelines for the CfP.

3. Application Process and Procedures

The Foundation solicits grant applications usually twice a year through unrestricted and/or specific calls for proposals (CfP). Applicants can submit more than one application per CfP, and can apply for more than one CfP. However, the Foundation reserves its right not to consider unreasonable number of applications by one specific organisation for a particular CfP. Organisations that are receiving or have received a grant from the Foundation, and apply for funding for new projects or new phases of an existing project, are subject to the same application procedures as any other organization. However, they may not have to submit certain documents, and should contact their Grant Officer for more details and guidance.

The application process is as follows:

1. Applicants must download from the Foundation’s website the Concept Paper (CP) Form (either Arabic, English or French) and provide information for all mandatory fields. The CP should contain all the information required as indicated in the template, with an estimated requested amount in US$ and a tentative draft budget. While preparing their CP, applicants may address clarification queries to the Foundation, provided these do not affect the neutrality of the selection process and the principle of equal treatment for all applicants.

Applications received in other formats and simple expression of interests cannot be considered in lieu of a concept paper. Such applications will be rejected, even if the organization fulfills the eligibility criteria.

2. The CP must be submitted by email and strictly before the application deadline to The applicant shall also provide a copy/proof of not-for‐profit legal status (registration document)

3. The Foundation acknowledges the submission of the CP by informing each eligible applicant of its “tracking number” (applicant reference code with the Foundation). The Foundation also informs non‐eligible applicants at this stage

4. After a first round of assessment and shortlisting, the Foundation will invite shortlisted applicants to submit a full proposal (with a specific budget breakdown) by a specified deadline. Whenever deemed necessary, the Foundation will also perform an in situ Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) for shortlisted applicants. Along with the Full Proposal Form, shortlisted applicants shall provide: the institutional questionnaire (with all its attachments), a detailed budget, a logical framework matrix, a work plan and the most recent financial audit report available. Due to the important afflux of applications, the Foundation cannot answer directly and individually to all applicants regarding the status of their application. Applicants who have however not received any notification or request within two months after the closing date of the CfP shall consider that their application has not been pre‐selected.

Audited accounts until previous calendar year and proof of good governance are required for applications submitted under categories ‘B’ and ‘C’. Category ‘C’ is exclusively considered for regional/ sub‐regional/ multi‐country proposals, and for proposals originating from larger countries such as Pakistan and Egypt.

Important notice: clarification requests sent by the Foundation do not constitute an invitation to submit a full proposal. Similarly, the invitation to submit a full proposal is not a guarantee of approval and funding.

5. The Foundation’s Board of Directors, through its Grants Committee, reviews the shortlisted applications and make a final and sovereign decision regarding the approval of these applications.

Important notices:

  • All the materials and documents submitted as part of the CfPwill be retained by FFF during the review process and will not be returned to the applicant.
  • Confidentiality of information presented by the applicants is strictly maintained by the Foundation, with assurances that such information is only used for the purpose of review and will not be released to any outside persons or institutions, unless exceptionally required by local law, or by the Foundation’s donors.
  • Proposals submitted must be the original and sole work of the applicant organizations.

4. Selection and Evalution Criteria

Each application is evaluated against the following set of criteria (a minima):

Fulfillment of eligibility criteria

Relevance of proposed intervention to the Foundation’s mandate and to the advancement of human rights and democratic governance in the target country/ region Technically sound and internally coherent structure of the proposal Innovative understanding/approach in the proposed field of intervention. Comprehensive situation analysis with clearly stated rationale for intervention and expected benefits Gender dimension (component, focus, mainstreaming) clearly apparent

  • Positive and/or demonstrable costs/benefits ratio
  • Innovative proposal and potentially suitable for replication
  • Capacity, experience and/or expertise of the applicant CSO and of its previous experience in the chosen field and strategies of intervention
  • Demostrable good standards for governance and internal accountability of the applicant organization are in place and demonstrable
  • Moreover, throughout the grant selection process, the Foundation seeks to maintain a reasonable geographical balance, i.e. prioritizing proposals originating from under‐represented
  • and/or under‐served regions/countries whenever necessary and possible.

5. Use of Grant Funds

The proposed budget for grants should be appropriate for the scope of work being undertaken. Grant funds can be used for project activities with a duration covering 6 to 36 months (unless stated otherwise by the CfP), and may be used for the following budget items: Direct costs of project‐related events, e.g. organizing meetings, rental of conference facilities, training session’s logistics, translation equipment, printing of publications and manuals, etc.

  1. Communication between partner organizations, e.g. telephone, fax, courier, etc
  2. Reasonable and justified honoraria cost for technical experts (local and international)
  3. Monitoring & Evaluation expenses, including baseline surveys/preliminary studies
  4. Project audit expenses
  5. Bank charges
  6. Transportation of project participants to meeting place(s) and related expenses
  7. Pro‐rated portion of salaries for key project staff, e.g. director, project manager, accountant, etc
  8. Purchase of a limited amount of equipment (e.g. fax, modem, computer, software) and stationery, necessary to realize the project
  9. Other expenses directly related to project implementation
  10. Grant funds may only be used for activities directly related to the implementation of the project.

In accordance with the Foundation’s policy, grant funds cannot be used to cover the organizations’ recurrent or construction expenses, the purchase of real estate and all forms of debts. If salaries are included in the project budget, a clear justification must be provided to establish both the salary levels and percentage of working time dedicated to the project. Grant funds shall not be expended for items that are not considered allowable under applicable cost principles of the Foundation. For more details on this subject please contact the Foundation directly at

6. Visibility Guidelines

Visibility Guidelines set out requirements for any publications, tools, products or activities that the grantee will produce or undertake using the funds of the Foundation for the Future. “Visibility” refers to the display of graphic identities or logos on program materials or project signage to visibly acknowledge contributors; it identifies organizations supporting the work. Tools that are used to publicize a program, project or activity2 funded or co‐funded by the Foundation for the Future, must have the Foundation’s logo or the sentence “Funded by the Foundation for the Future”. The Foundation’s logo and its specifications (colors, dimensions, etc) will be provided to each grantee when contractualising the Grant Agreement.

Publication produced with the support of the Foundation must note that views and opinions expressed in the publication do not necessarily represent those of the Foundation (Disclaimer). Suggested text for the disclaimer is as follows: “This (PRODUCT) is made possible by the support of the Foundation for the Future. The contents of this (PRODUCT) are the sole responsibility of
(name of organization/Writer) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for the Future”.

More detailed guidelines will be provided in the Grant Agreement.

2 Tools and publications may include the following: press releases, media interviews, stickers, display panels, banners, public service announcements (PSAs), videos, websites, booklets, brochures, leaflets, reports, researches, stationery, posters, and training materials.