Balkan Trust for Democracy
The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) is an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. This award-winning public-private partnership was created in 2003 by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. BTD’s original ten-year mandate came to an end in May 2013. BTD then entered into its second mandate (2013-20) with structural changes to geographic coverage and grantmaking scope.
Since its inception, additional contributions from the following donors have made BTD a true transatlantic partnership:
- Compagnia di San Paolo
- Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Belgrade, Serbia
- Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Robert Bosch Stiftung
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
- Tipping Point Foundation
BTD operates with a small, skilled staff with extensive experience in the region. BTD further engages experts on its grant review committee, which is composed of GMF staff members engaged in civil society work across the globe, as well as BTD donors and partners. An extensive network of local and regional experts and practitioners also helps to guide and inform the work of BTD.
The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) awards grants to support projects addressing themes of democracy and good governance, policy dialogue and networking, and regional cooperation and European integration. BTD’s grantmaking activities focus primarily on six countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. BTD also support relevant regional initiatives that promote benefits of pan-Balkan network, including civil society stakeholders from Western and Eastern Europe, and in particular those based in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. Priority areas within these themes include:
- Civic Engagement
- Youth Leadership and Empowerment
- Government Accountability and Transparency
- Culture of Giving
- Euro-Atlantic Integration
- Dialogue and Reconciliation
Supported projects typically achieve their goals through: public debate; leadership development; policy work; civic education; new mechanisms; advocacy; monitoring; implementation and enforcement; shared objectives; best practices; networks; re-granting; and reconciliation. Preference will be given to those proposals designed to increase citizen engagement with government; measurably impact public policy; strengthen leadership skills of individuals and organizations; facilitate cross-border and/or cross-sector cooperation; and encourage the transfer of experiences and innovative ideas through clear communication and dissemination plans.
Who is Eligible
Applicants must be civic groups, NGOs, media organizations, think tanks, governments, and education institutions indigenous to BTD program countries. Individuals and political parties may not apply.
International organizations may not apply for direct funding; however cooperative projects between indigenous and non-indigenous organizations will be considered. BTD will also support relevant regional initiatives that include civil society stakeholders from Western and Eastern Europe, and in particular those based in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania.
How to Apply
Important Note to Applicants: From June 2013, BTD entered into its second mandate and has implemented structural changes to its geographic coverage and grantmaking procedures. Please review these prior to submitting projects for consideration.
Organizations that are interested in receiving BTD funding are welcome to send a brief concept note in English (no more than 1 page), outlining the project idea and approximate budget amount to firstname.lastname@example.org. BTD does not recommend that organizations develop full project proposals unless invited to do so by BTD program staff.
For more information specifically regarding BTD’s grantmaking, please click here for a list of frequently asked questions and answers.
BTD continually works to accelerate the region's integration into Euroatlantic structures and to raise the profile of the Balkans. Together with GMF's Washington headquarters and its seven other European offices, BTD connects local actors with European Union, U.S., and international individuals and institutions in order to build networks and consensus on Balkan issues from a broader, multi-stakeholder perspective.
In addition to local and regional convening, press interviews, and published articles, specific examples of this work include:
BTD is committed to developing the next generation of Balkan leaders by providing a range of opportunities to train, network, and travel with their peers across Europe and the United States. Programs that BTD implements throughout the Balkan region include: the Young Transatlantic Network, the Marshall Memorial Fellowship Program, and the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network. With these programs, there are opportunities for established, mid-career, and next generation leaders to hone their own leadership and professional skills, as well as to forge partnerships that develop sustainable solutions to global problems.