“NEXT STEP” ALUMNI GRANT

With a current BR and AVC alumni base of over 2,300, which continues to grow by 325+ annually, investing in our participants’ next steps is key to achieving our long-term vision of true engagement. That’s why over the years we’ve funded 29 “Next Step” alumni grants to further support the impact and echo our alumni make across the globe and in Armenia – and strengthen their leadership skills and confidence that they can make a difference. For 2019 we’ve awarded grants to the top four projects we feel will leave the largest mark on the local communities and beneficiaries they serve.

Dearest Alums,

We hope that all of you are doing the best possible during these times.

Due to the COVID situation in Armenia and around the world, the Alumni Next Step grant program has been temporarily suspended. However, we are still accepting applications for future consideration, and all submitted applications will be reviewed for implementation in 2021. We hope that all of us will able to recapture lost time and move forward with energy in the near future.

We look forward to hearing from you.


2020 Application is currently open  

Apply here

 

Grant Process Overview:

By having a strong understanding of the grant process we have designed, your chances of submitting a successful application will be optimized. Therefore, please read carefully the details below to better understand the eligibility criteria, restrictions, timeframes and deadlines, and grant review considerations. “Next Step” grants are competitive, with numbers of grants being awarded in each calendar year. Prior to submitting your grant request, should you have questions at any time while preparing your proposal, we encourage you to reach out to the Birthright Armenia Alumni Program Coordinator for guidance and assistance by emailing alumni@birthrightarmenia.am

 

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • All proposals submitted for funding consideration must include the below mentioned sections:
  • Projects should have a direct benefit in Armenia and must include at least one implementing partner on the ground in Armenia, as local partners are key to successful outcomes. Implementing partners must be a non-profit organization registered in Armenia.
  • Project budgets can span from $5,000 – $35,000 USD.  Projects under $5,000 USD are funded at 100%. Projects over $5,000 USD are funded at 100% for the initial $5,000 USD, and then matched 1:1 for the portion above $5,000 USD (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD funded by Birthright Armenia). This would allow for projects with a maximum budget of 35,000 USD. For projects over $5,000, Birthright Armenia funding will be released once proof of required matching funds have been met. Recipients will receive a written grant award letter, which must be signed by the organization they are partnering with. 
  • Project timelines should show project completion within a maximum 12-month time period. At least 80% of the awarded grant must be spent in Armenia, with a maximum of 20% spent for indirect costs.
  • Proposals must be for initiatives based in Armenia for which alumni are taking a lead position in its implementation. 
  • To be eligible for a Next Step grant, you must be a Birthright Armenia or Armenian Volunteer Corps alum in good standing. This is defined as having successfully completed the program, having met all volunteer requirements in a timely and professional manner, while exhibiting leadership and initiative.  

 

Restrictions:

  • There are no age-related restrictions. If you meet the eligibility criteria above, you may apply.
  • Airline travel should be based on the most economical itinerary. 
  • Apartment rentals and hotel stays will not be covered as project expenses. Alums are welcome to utilize our homestay living options, apply for Pathway to Armenia, or find other living options on their own. 
  • No salary may be included except for direct program services, as no project manager compensation will be covered for the alum. 
  • A maximum of 20% of the grant total can be used for indirect costs, including travel. 

 

Application Calendar & Submission Process: 

  • Concept papers must be submitted here on or before the deadline - Monday, February 1st, 2021.
  • Successful candidates will be notified before Monday, March 1st, 2021 and asked to submit a full proposal with the following information before Thursday, April 1st, 2021
    • Executive Summary
    • Needs Statement
    • Project Outline
    • Short-term and Long-term goals
    • Implementation Plan and Timeline of Completion
    • Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    • Measurable quantitative and qualitative impacts
    • Budget narrative
    • Budget
  • Any and all changes that may occur after proposal submission must be brought to our attention, immediately. After approval, no such changes may occur. 
  • Successful proposals will be submitted for a second and final review by the Board of Directors for their approval. 
  • All proposals must be approved by a majority of the reviewers. Any reviewer shall recuse themselves for any grants submitted by family or relatives. 

 

Grant Review & Considerations: 

  • All submitted concept papers will undergo a first-round review, conducted by Alumni Program staff. During this review, we will consider the following prior to finalizing our recommendations for funding:
  1. Does the proposal have a realistic implementation plan, including clearly defined goals, and identified steps outlined to accomplish those goals?  
  2. Which proposals have the highest expected impact while serving/affecting a large group of beneficiaries? 
  3. Do the majority of grant funds get spent in Armenia? 
  4. Is this a one-time initiative/activity or will more funds be required for sustainability? Is the sustainability plan realistic?
  5. Preference will be provided to those projects that can show leveraged funding or pledged support from other sources. 
  6. While reviewing the projects, diversity of the topics will also be taken into consideration

 

Apply here



Current Projects: 

Canadian-born Ardem Tutunjian, 37, will be expanding the project Orphans and their Dogs, whose purpose is to rescue street dogs and give them a home at an animal sanctuary. Ardem has chosen to partner with Centaur to train and then take the dogs to visit various orphanages in Armenia to work as therapy dogs with special needs children. With this $7,600 Next Step grant, Ardem will be able to expand the project by seven additional kennels to rescue, safely and properly house, and train more dogs.


 

Artur Gasparyan, 24,  has relocated from Russia to live in Armenia for one year since the completion of his volunteer service.  He founded the KIDO Children Center in Gyumri, whose mission is to give all children the opportunity to get a quality education regardless of life circumstances. At KIDO the children are encouraged to reveal their true talents in an atmosphere of love and kindness. His $7,200 Next Step grant will cover costs associated with building and furnishing the LEGO room, Village Room, the Big Nature Room, and the Boards room at KIDO so the center is equipped to support the childrens’ educational journey. 

 

Jeremy Dalmas (2008, USA) is a radio producer in Oakland, CA. He’ll be partnering with EVN Report in Yerevan to produce quality podcasts as a source of current Armenian news. Jeremy has several years of podcast production experience so is uniquely placed to provide hands-on training and expertise to the EVN Report staff. The $5,000 Next Step grant awarded will also allow Jeremy to secure the necessary equipment for podcast recording in and out of the studio.

 

Partnering with Children of Armenia Found (COAF),  Victoria Armineh Babikian, 28, is an occupational therapist. She has been granted a $4,000 Next Step grant to work with COAF, which will cover the cost of translating and printing 500 copies of an Occupational Therapy Guidebook. The Occupational Therapy Guidebook to Inclusion is intended to provide simple information about common diagnoses, exercises with diagrams to strengthen physical, cognitive, sensory processing, and behavioral skills, as well as practical classroom strategies for inclusive education. It will include video demonstrations, worksheets, and a resource library of Armenian disability services. The guidebook aims to enhance participation in school, self-care, leisure, and community integration for Armenia’s children with special needs.

 

Aussie Tadeh Karapetian, 26, has been awarded a $2,225 Next Step grant to produce a “Guidebook to Rock Climbing in Armenia”. The purpose of this guidebook is to encourage the global rock climbing community to consider Armenia as an option for their next adventure, and stimulate tourism in the rural areas in Armenia. 

 

Garni Baroni, 27,  packed up his Los Angeles bags and became a repat alum living in Armenia since 2018. His Next Step grant proposal was a strong one, but too large in scope and budget for us to fund under the program’s parameters. But we saw the strength and possibilities in what he was proposing so we sent it to the Hovnanian Foundation for consideration. That resulted in Garni being the proud recipient of a Hovnanian Foundation grant award in the amount of $38,375 to produce the summer 2020 Hoor Folklife Festival in Gyumri -- Armenia’s first international folk music festival. This event will promote Armenia as a bridge between east and west, as well as pay tribute to Gyumri’s culture, artists and intellectuals, all the while bringing the world to this beautiful city. 


 For more information, or if you have any questions or comments, connect with the team at alumni@birthrightarmenia.am