In the first call for thematic projects in the Active Citizens Fund – National Programme, 1317 applications were received. Most of those applications, as many as 713, were for civic participation in public life and social activities, 424 were for empowerment of vulnerable groups, and 180 were for defending human rights and promoting equality. The deadline for submitting applications was 15 April.
– We are pleased that there has been so much interest in the Programme, especially as the weeks leading up to the deadline for applications were very difficult for the organisation – Sylwia Sobiepan, programme director, says. – From January until March we worked intensively to spread information; We held a conference in Warsaw for the launch of the Programme, and this included workshops on areas for which funding is available, and eight meetings around Poland to provide information, in locations such as Opole, Koszalin and Ełk. We tried in particular to reach the less experienced organisations based outside of the major centres and in areas where access to aid programmes is limited. We held webinars on how to obtain funding under the Programme and how to devise projects for bilateral cooperation with the Donor States, Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein. We also made an instructional video on how to draw up the application. Due to the epidemic, from March we moved our activities online, and organised additional webinars instead of the meetings scheduled in Kalisz and Bydgoszcz. We also published useful tips on how to write the application. The Programme team provided answers to queries by telephone and e-mail for people submitting applications. In response to the obstacles hampering the organisation’s work due to the Coronavirus epidemic, in mid-March we announced that the deadline for applications would be extended by more than two weeks – Sylwia Sobiepan adds.
Out of the 1317 project outlines, 542 were applications for small grants, and 775 were for large grants. As many as 92 projects will be implemented as partnerships with Donor State organisations. – Potential Applicants are welcome to enter into bilateral cooperation. We can assist in finding partners from whom Polish social organisations can learn a lot. An additional grant of as much as EUR 12 500 is available for cooperation in partnerships – Sylwia Sobiepan says.
At the moment, project outlines are being reviewed to ensure that they meet the administrative requirements. A list of the applications that have been approved for content-related assessment will be published by the end of April. Each application will be assessed by two or three experts. Following the content-related assessment, a list will be provided of applicants who are invited to submit detailed projects, which will be submitted between mid-June and 10 August. The final results of the call will be known in the autumn.
The Programme’s budget for grants for all of the calls is almost EUR 26.5 m. Small grants start at EUR 5 000, and large grants can be more than EUR 60 000. Each organisation applying for grants for projects can also apply for extra funding (up to EUR 12 500, but no more than 20% of the project costs) for capacity building: investing in team-building, improving skills, raising funds for its activities, and improving management and communication.
In the call for thematic projects, grants are available in one of three areas: civic participation in public life and social activities, defending human rights and promoting equality, and empowerment of vulnerable groups. At the end of April a call will also be announced for funding for development of the civic sector, for “sectoral” projects to develop the social organisation sector, make social organisations more stable, and develop particular sectors or organisations operating in a certain part of Poland. The organisation responsible for sectoral projects is the Academy of Civic Organizations Foundation. The next call for thematic projects will be announced in November 2021, and the projects will be managed by the Stefan Batory Foundation and the Shipyard Foundation.