Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for a grant?
A: Grant Guidelines and Proposal Preparation Guidelines are available online at http://www.ned.org/grantseekers.

Q: Does NED give grants for work in the U.S.?
A: No, although NED does provide funding to some U.S.-based organizations who carry out programs abroad, it does not provide funding for programs in the United States.

Q: What is the average amount of a NED Grant?
A: NED gives more than 1,000 grants per year with the average grant about $50,000.00 US dollars.

Q: Who are NED’s grantees?
A: NED provides hundreds of grants each year to non-governmental groups working abroad in the areas of human rights, independent media, the rule of law, civic education and the development of civil society in general.

NED also has a special relationship with four U.S. grantees that represent the building blocks of a democratic society. Commonly referred to as the "core grantees," these organizations are:

NED gives grants to these groups, for programs that promote pluralism and free and fair elections (IRI and NDI), free markets and economic reforms (CIPE), and independent trade unions (Solidarity Center). Each of these four grantees receives an equal portion of NED’s grant budget – and each program is carefully developed with NED program staff and approved by NED’s board of directors, just like any other grantee.

Q: Does NED give grants to individuals?
A: No, NED only gives grants to organizations.

Q: Is NED part of the U.S. Government?
A: No. NED is a private, non-profit, grant-making organization that receives an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress through the Department of State. Although NED’s continued funding is dependent on the continued support of the White House and Congress, it is NED’s independent Board of Directors that controls how the appropriation is spent.

Q: Does NED receive funding from sources other than the U.S. Government?
A: Yes. NED has been particularly successful in raising private contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals to support many of its non-grant related activities. For example, NED’s Journal of Democracy is sustained by subscription income. NED’s academic component, the International Forum for Democratic Studies (the Forum) raises the majority of its funding from private sources as well; the Forum includes a democracy library, electronic democracy resource center, and a democracy fellows program.

Q: Why is NED necessary? Doesn’t the U.S. Government promote democracy abroad?
A: As a non-governmental organization, NED plays a critical, complementary role to official U.S. Government efforts to promote democracy abroad. First, NED’s NGO status allows it to work where there are no government to government relations and in other environments where it would be too complicated for the U.S. Government to work.

NED also enjoys a comparative advantage in providing assistance during times of rapid political change or crisis. Because NED is small and non-bureaucratic, it can be much more responsive to changing circumstances on the ground. NED’s independence from the U.S. Government also allows it to work with many groups abroad who would hesitate to take funds from the U.S. Government.

Finally, NED is better able to work with the small, relatively new groups that often typify democratic movements in their earliest phases of development. NED usually provides small grants to these groups and works closely with them until they build the capacity to run larger programs such as those more commonly funded by the US Government.