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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits, For-Profits, and IHEs for Programs to Promote Freedom of Information and Internet Access

Internet Freedom Annual Program Statement Round 1


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
CFDA Number: 19.345
Funding or PIN Number: SFOP0009341
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Deadline: 05/25/23 11:59 PM EST Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit and for-profit organizations, NGOs, and IHEs for programs to promote freedom of information and Internet access. Applicants are advised to begin required registrations immediately. Priority will be given to projects in Internet-repressive environments.

DRL’s goal is to protect the open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet by promoting fundamental freedoms, human rights, and the free flow of information online through integrated support to civil society for technology, digital safety, policy and advocacy, and applied research programs.

SOIs focused globally or focused on any region will be considered. Applications should prioritize work in Internet-repressive environments.

SOIs regarding technology development should have clear regional human rights use-cases and deployment strategies for the target region(s). SOIs focused on digital safety, advocacy, and research should also have region- or population-specific goals and priorities that are informed by clear field knowledge and expertise.

SOIs must address the Goal(s) of one or more of the Internet Freedom Funding Themes:

  1. Funding Theme #1: Technology: Develop, improve, and implement technologies to support uncensored and secure access to the global Internet and/or to support the goals of other Funding Themes.
  2. Funding Theme #2: Digital Safety: Conduct programs that enable at-risk, vulnerable, and marginalized populations, or those who protect them, to prepare for, prevent, identify, investigate, and/or obtain remedy for repressive digital attacks; or other types of repression (including online surveillance and censorship) designed to prevent these populations from exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms online.
  3. Funding Theme #3: Policy and Advocacy: Conducting or enabling policy advocacy to counter laws, judicial actions, regulations, standards, company policies, and protocols that restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms online; enabling the Goals of the Digital Safety or Technology Funding Themes; and/or otherwise promote and expand Internet freedom.
  4. Funding Theme #4: Applied Research: Research efforts to inform and benefit Internet freedom, or to otherwise better understand and counter threats to Internet freedom.

For additional details on each Funding Theme, see p. 3 of the RSOI in Attached Files.


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Organizations submitting SOIs must meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S.- or foreign-based non-profit/non-governmental organization (NGO), or a public international organization; or
- Be a private, public, or state institution of higher education; or
- Be a for-profit organization or business (noting there are restrictions on payment of fees and/or profits under grants and cooperative agreements, including those outlined in 48 CFR 30, “Cost Accounting Standards Administration”, and 48 CFR 31, “Contract Cost Principles and Procedures”);
- Have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in-country partners, entities, and relevant stakeholders including private sector partner and NGOs; and,
- Have demonstrable experience administering successful and preferably similar programs. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on organizations that do not have previous experience administering federal awards. These applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.

Applicants may form consortia and submit a combined SOI. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant with the other members as sub-award partners.

DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited. Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures. Please see 2 CFR 200.307 for regulations regarding program income.

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management ( ( and/or has a current debt to the U.S. government is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR,1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR,1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity or person listed on the Excluded Parties List System in can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in to ensure that no ineligible entity or person is included in their application.

To be eligible all programs must not:
1. Focus on digital technologies (e.g. algorithmic tools, blockchain, virtual reality, Internet of Things, facial recognition) without a clear strategic application for and focus on protecting human rights online.
2. Contain activities that focus on moderating and/or countering online content unless they explicitly restrict their efforts to only use methods which do not curtail freedom of expression (such as online self-regulation by users, privacy protection measures, etc.).
3. Contain offensive cybersecurity efforts, such as hacking, or counter-attacking.

For details of ineligible programs under each Funding Theme, see p. 3 of the RSOI in Attached Files.

Pre-Application Information
SOIs must arrive electronically via SAMS Domestic or by 11:59 PM EST on May 25, 2023.

The submission of a SOI is the first step in a two-part process. Applicants must first submit a SOI, which is a concise, 3-page concept note designed to clearly communicate a program idea and its objectives before the development of a full proposal application. The purpose of the SOI process is to allow applicants the opportunity to submit program ideas for DRL to evaluate prior to requiring the development of full proposal applications. Upon review of eligible SOIs, DRL will invite selected applicants to expand their ideas into full proposal applications.

Primary organizations can submit 2 SOIs in response to the RSOI.

Organizations are not required to have a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number—formerly referred to as a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number—and an active registration to apply for this solicitation through SAMS Domestic. However, if a SOI is approved, these will need to be obtained before an organization is able to submit a full application. Therefore, applicants should the process of obtaining a UEI and registration as soon as possible.

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For a list of relevant application documents, go to the Package tab (press Preview) on the link above.

Estimated Size of Grant
Award Floor: $500,000
Award Ceiling: $3,000,000

Term of Contract
SOIs that move forward to be funded based on this Notice should expect program activities to begin no earlier than August or September of 2024 pending the availability of funds.

Contact Information
For technical questions related to this solicitation, please contact

For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at +1 (888) 313-4567 (toll charges apply for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from Customer support is available 24/7.

For assistance with accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at +1 (800) 518-4726 or email The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

RFP & Supporting Documents
Full Grant Text RFP

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates / changes / addendums / conferences / LOIs.

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