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THE ADVOCATE EUROPE annual idea challenge

January 28, 2016.

    Advocate Europe is an annual idea challenge for European initiatives and projects realised by MitOst and Liquid Democracy, funded by Stiftung Mercator. We are looking for unconventional and transnational project proposals which strengthen connection and cohesion in Europe. Advocate Europe is aimed at civil society actors who are looking for start-up funding and support to implement sustainable ideas in the fields of civic education, arts and culture, democracy and participation, social innovation or advocacy. We will fund up to 12 pioneering proposals with grants of up to 50,000 euro each.
    We are looking for non-profit ideas and initiatives that:
    are surprising and unconventional. We want to support original approaches and courageous ideas that are oriented towards the current and future needs of Europe’s civil society and citizens. We are looking for ideas that help to design the future, not just manage the status quo.
    strengthen connection and cohesion in Europe. We welcome proposals that support the exchange of people and ideas, and promote international and intercultural understanding. Our goal is to identify critical topics for the further development of a unified Europe and to bring together key groups such as multipliers, stakeholders, activists, administrators, young Europeans and change-makers.
    are based on everyday life. We are looking for project ideas that have practical relevance and a clear relationship to the everyday life of people in Europe.
    Special attention will be given to ideas that:
    are based on unusual partnerships. Team up with a friend, neighbour or colleague who works on the same topic, but in a completely different field. What happens when an architect and a social entrepreneur want to create a better Europe for the next generation? Or when environmental educators talk to social scientists? What about when an established foreign policy think tank works with social innovators? Or when computer programmers organise things with dancers? Activists for the common good with neurobiologists? Connect things that don’t seem to belong together at first glance. Think beyond the borders of languages, countries, generations and, above all, professions and fields of action. We’re particularly interested in ideas and partnerships from organisations and initiatives that are made up of two or more actors outside of typical constellations.
    have a connection to the Ruhr region of Germany. Projects that have a connection to this region – be it through a project partner, a target group or some other aspect – receive particular attention. One of Advocate Europe’s aims is to strengthen the European dimension in the Ruhr region of Germany, where Stiftung Mercator is headquartered. Not all our funded projects need to include a link to this region, but we will select some that do – for example, through a project partner, a target group or some other aspect of the project
    Non-profit organisations and initiatives from across Europe are eligible to apply and receive funding.
    For example:
    Legal status
    Registered associations
    Non-profit private limited companies and non-profit entrepreneurial companies
    Public-sector institutions
    Practical examples
    Social institutions
    Art and cultural institutions
    Schools, universities and research institutes
    Here you can find out more about our eligibility criteria - http://bit.ly/1SJQXQE
    What can we use the money for?
    Funding can be used for all project-related costs, including personnel and materials. Material costs include travel costs; accomodation and subsistence; service contracts and honoraria (for external trainers, experts, service providers, etc.); and materials for project implementation (equipment, etc.), the presentation of results, public relations and communications.
    Funding from “Advocate Europe” can range from 1 to 50,000 euro. The amount awarded will depend on the idea and the project. A realistic and transparent budget is a precondition for receiving funding. An overview of the most important items to include in the budget can be found in the financial plan template (Annex 2).
    The three ideas with the most user votes receive Community Awards worth 5,000 euro (first place), 3,000 euro (second place) and 2,000 euro (third place).
    Organisations outside Germany must also prove their non-profit status character. If you are awarded funding, we will require documentary proof, including:
    The statutes of the organisation,
    A register excerpt or document proving the legal registration (if available),
    A certificate about the non-profit character of the organisation (if available) and
    After the completion of the project a donation confirmation for the funding that you received from us (= certificate that the funds were used for tax-privileged purposes).
    The documents can be submitted in German or English.
    You can submit your application between Tuesday, January 26, 2016 and Tuesday, March 8, 2016 (18.00 CET).
    Following the application deadline, the Advocate Europe team, together with Stiftung Mercator, makes a preselection from among the submitted proposals, which meet the selection and eligibility criteria. Up to 50 proposals are included in this shortlist; the five project ideas with the most votes are automatically included. The shortlist will be published on the online platform in April 2016.
    Our interdisciplinary expert jury meets in May 2016 to select up to 12 winning ideas and to give advise to each project.
    At the Advocate Europe network meeting in June 2016, the winners meet, grant agreements are signed, and the projects begin. In the months thereafter, the Advocate Europe team supports each project and offers mentoring advice. The funding period ends on 31 March 2017, at which point all winners have to provide a final narrative and financial report. During the implementation period, winning projects share regular updates on their progress on the online platform, allowing others to follow the ‘project journey.’
    More details: http://bit.ly/1Tnzkpb

Supported by Eurasia Foundation Supported by Eurasia Foundation