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Apply Now for Civic Europe Idea Challenge 2020

Apply Now for Civic Europe Idea Challenge 2020

Deadline: 27 May 2020

The Civic Europe Idea Challenge supports civil society actors by providing them with funding and mentoring to implement their project ideas.

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Civic Europe is an incubator for locally rooted civic initiatives, organizations and individuals in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe realized by MitOst and Sofia Platform, funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Funding Information

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Civic Europe funds up to 15 local projects per year with grants of up to €50,000 each.

Target Groups

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Locally rooted civil society organizations and civic grass-root initiatives outside of the big urban centers. Civic Europe’s aim is to support initiatives that are oases in so-called civic deserts: those organizations already active or willing to fill the gap in places characterized by little to no opportunities for civic and political learning and engagement.
The Civic Europe Idea Challenge is mainly aimed at CSOs that have previous project experience and have been active for some time in their communities, to help them upscale their activities, start a new project or develop a structure. However, newcomers with a solid idea to solve societal issues in their community can also apply. Civil society initiatives working in cross-sectoral partnerships with other local actors, e.g. municipalities, are welcome.
Mentoring and Support

The Civic Europe Idea Challenge is not only about grant giving. The selected civic initiatives receive administrative, strategic and methodological support from the Civic Europe team at all times online and on the phone throughout the program as well as in person during network meetings. The network meetings are not only an opportunity for the winning initiatives to overcome blockades or get feedback on their projects, but also to meet the other selected civil society actors and learn more about their projects, to extend their network throughout Europe and to get into peer-to-peer exchange and learning.

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Community Award

In parallel to the selection process, there will be a Community Award vote among all applicants that have successfully submitted project ideas. The winner of the Community Award will receive €5,000 and will directly get on the shortlist.

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Eligibility Criteria

Non profit actors, local and regional NGOs or civil society initiatives from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain can apply with an idea to foster democracy and participation locally.

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Selection Criteria

Funding is available for initiatives and project ideas that:

Strengthen “Active Citizenship and Democracy”
They are looking for initiatives and project ideas that contribute to civic education in their local regions and encourage civic engagement. They should address locally rooted issues that matter to the community and at the same time promote a democratic culture of living in diversity, remaining open and tolerant towards different points of view, etc. This will often require going beyond ‘easy answers’ and making use of nuanced approaches. Thematically suitable examples for project ideas could be: establishing a new “welcome culture” for migrants, dealing with and accepting homosexuality in civic life, improving living conditions for people with disabilities, raising awareness of women’s rights and many more.
Are Accessible and Engage Perspectives from various ends of the Local Voices
They will support initiatives and project ideas that invite a wide range of opinions and actors on the issue and include, in particular, residents, citizens, families, newcomers, municipal actors or groups who feel excluded and might find their answers in black-and-white political choices or populist politics. Ideally, funded initiatives (try to) engage community actors with profound disagreements in dialogue, such as
those who believe in civic actions and those who are doubtful about;
those who trust in democracy and those who are dissatisfied with it;
those who are convinced of the ‘European idea,’ those who oppose it, those who don’t (yet) have an opinion as well as those who retreat from politics.
Take Place in Relevant Region
They want to reach initiatives and project ideas whose activities target towns, villages and cities situated outside large urban centers that are largely attuned to polarization or that have a low density of civic cohesion and few possibilities for civic and political learning and engagement (so-called civic deserts).
Strive for Impact
They are looking for initiatives and project ideas whose impact on re-establishing relationships across (divided) communal actors and (re-) activating the whole field of civic participation in the local context would be explicitly visible and measurable after the end of the funding period.
Are located in the Following Countries
They fund non-profit organizations only from: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Have a Non-Profit Legal Status
Organizations of a non-commercial legal form (“registered non-profit organization”). Possible organizational forms, depending on national legal regulations concerning charitable/non-profit character, could be: NGOs, cooperatives, collectives, associations, clubs, a non-profit private limited company, non-profit public limited company, non-for-profit corporations, etc.
Application and Selection Process

Applicants submit their idea in the idea space.
Submitted proposals can be edited during the entire duration of the open call period.
After the call ends, the Civic Europe team, in cooperation with an external reading team, creates a shortlist of around 30 submitted projects.
Shortlisted candidates will be asked to hand in a financial plan in addition to their proposed idea and they will have the opportunity to answer questions about their project idea during a short interview with the Civic Europe team.
All shortlisted proposals will then be considered by a multidisciplinary jury. The jury will select the 10-15 winning initiatives based on the above mentioned selection criteria for the idea challenge.
For more information, visit https://civic-europe.eu/idea-challenge/call-ideas-2020/

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