Stevens Initiative Coronavirus Response Fund 2020

Application Deadline: Jun 12 2020 08:00 PM (EDT)

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of daily life around the world, including education and exchange activities. Schools, colleges, universities, and other organizations worldwide have cancelled in-person classes, meetings, and exchange programs. Young people are adapting to learning from home, travel is severely curtailed for the foreseeable future, and summer exchange programs for tens of thousands of young people have been cancelled. In these difficult times, we need to find innovative ways to sustain learning and connections among young people who are isolated. The Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic includes three pathways to support various stakeholders as the pandemic impacts education.

The response fund is for education and non-profit organizations based in the United States and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) proposing to conduct activities between the U.S. and MENA. The Initiative has a dedicated page with extensive information about grant parameters and eligibility

Eligible Applicants: 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. 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-grantees 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.

Competition Features

Anticipated Grant Size Range: $20,000 to $100,000. The applicant must request an amount within this range to be eligible for selection. Applicants can request no more than 40% of the amount of their Fiscal Year 2019 operating budget.
Maximum Grant Duration: June 1 – August 31, 2020
Geographic Area: 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.
Contact Hours: Each participant in the virtual exchange program must participate in at least 2 hours and no more than 20 hours of a combination of synchronous and/or asynchronous virtual exchange activities over the course of the program duration. Communication must occur in a sustained way, meaning participants interact with their international peers on more than one occasion.

Types of Grants

Applicants may submit a proposal for a grant supporting one of the following activities:

  1. Adapt (or develop a new variant of) and conduct an existing in-person exchange or education program into a summer virtual exchange;
  2. Adapt and conduct an existing virtual exchange program to the current global conditions (for example, finding ways to accommodate young people learning from home, engaging parents or guardians as facilitators or co-participants, or overhauling curricula), or offset unanticipated costs for a virtual exchange program caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  3. Prepare those who conduct education or exchange programs to design, prepare for, and facilitate future virtual exchange programming.  

Priority Areas for the Stevens Initiative

Proposed projects are encouraged to focus on the following topics:

  • Technology and computing
  • World affairs and global studies
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Language learning and practice
  • Public health and/or the coronavirus pandemic

The Stevens Initiative is committed to reaching young people whose access to exchange programs has been limited, and to reaching diverse participants, including:

  • Women and girls
  • Underserved youth whose access to international exchange has been limited
  • Refugees
  • People with disabilities
  • Minority groups

Populations with diverse backgrounds and limited resources are among those most severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis. A strong proposal will explain how young people from these populations – whose access to international experiences is limited even in the best of circumstances – will be a priority for outreach and inclusion in the proposed program.

Support for Applicants

Training and Mentorship: Applicants and interested organizations are invited to participate in the Stevens Initiative’s training and mentorship sessions. Training sessions will be conducted by videoconference on April 29, May 5, and May 7. Following these training sessions, the Stevens Initiative will offer mentoring, also by videoconference, to organizations seeking more guidance about how to develop or carry out their virtual exchange programs. For more information and to sign up, visit our pandemic response page

Resources: Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit stevensinitiative.org to learn more about the goals of the Stevens Initiative, its activities, and the programs it has supported. The Initiative’s Resources page includes links to webinars hosted by the Initiative as well as many other videos and documents that may be useful in developing a program plan.

Additional Expectations of Grantees

  • Reporting: Grantees must submit a final financial report and a final progress report no later than 45 days following the end of the period of performance.  
  • Evaluation: Grantees are expected to conduct a program evaluation. New virtual exchange programs (grant type 1) will be required to assess participant satisfaction and learning and report on participant numbers and demographics. Existing virtual exchange programs (grant type 2) will be expected to use the Initiative’s global competency survey questions on participant post-program surveys (click here to see the measures, which may be updated slightly) and report on participant numbers and demographics. Preparatory projects (grant type 3) will be required to report and share outputs, outcomes, lessons learned, and participant feedback.
  • Communications: The Stevens Initiative welcomes collaboration with grantees on collecting and sharing stories and media related to funded programs as opportunities arise. The Stevens Initiative may contact grantees to discuss these opportunities.
  • Alumni engagement: The Stevens Initiative requires all grantees to share limited participant contact information for enrollment in the Stevens Initiative Alumni network, including a connection with the Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni Network. If this does not align with an applicant’s program, please note this in the application.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Stevens Initiative Coronavirus Response Fund 2020

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