Development Grants Program

A Todo Plumon
A Todo Plumon
Sarosh Hussain

The Development Grants Program (DGP) is a competitive small grants program, established in 2008 by Section 674 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, that provides opportunities for U.S. PVOs and local NGOs that have limited or no experience managing direct USAID grants. The DGP was designed to expand the number of direct partnerships USAID has with U.S. PVOs and indigenous, local NGOs and to build the capacity of these organizations to better meet the needs of their constituents. The DGP provides an opportunity for U.S. PVOs and local NGOs to make contributions to USAID's objectives to address the development challenges of local communities through strengthening civil society organizations. 

Successful PVO/NGO applicants receive awards for up to $2 million to implement activities in the field over a period of up to five years.   Awards include a capacity development component providing awardees with access to resources for technical assistance and/or organizational strengthening.  To date, the DGP has supported 162 organizations in 49 countries, totaling $173 million in assistance to carefully vetted US and indigenous local organizations.

Current Activities (FY2013)

The 2013 Request for Applications (RFA) and Amendments, invite U.S. PVOs registered with USAID and local, indigenous NGOs to submit concept papers that address development challenges of interest to participating USAID Missions in countries around the world.  The FY 2013 DGP RFA and Amendments are now available on and;jsessionid=LY9bRlQXfYysCDTqGpSZ3Gp6rFGH9RPsVlvfHBBFJT0MSMZJ4dNZ!-1102359212?oppId=237329&mode=VIEW.  The Closing Time and Date for the FY 2013 DGP RFA is 12:00 pm (noon), August 15, 2013.

The FY 2012 DGP RFA is closed, but a reference copy of it can be found here.

To apply for the DGP, U.S. PVOs must have 501(c)(3) status and must have submitted a complete registration packet to the USAID PVO Registration Database.  Instructions on registration can be found here. In most instances, the organization should have been in existence for more than one year.  While completed registration is not required, we encourage interested U.S. PVO applicants to register before the RFA is released.

Local NGO applicants do not need to register with USAID to apply.  However, they must be recognized under the laws of the country in which they are domiciled and must provide proof at the time of .  Local NGOs that are selected by USAID Missions to submit full proposals, must also acquire a DUNS number (if they do not have one already) in order to submit the full proposal to USAID. 


The core objectives of the DGP are:

  • Broadened participation in USAID programs of LNGOs and U.S. PVOs with experience and expertise relevant to priority USAID and partner country development objectives;
  • Expanded numbers of LNGOs and U.S. PVOs with planning, management, and service delivery systems adequate to implement USAID-funded activities, and adequate organizational capacity to sustain development activities beyond USAID and DGP support;
  • Measurable contributions by LNGOs and U.S. PVOs to the achievement of the development objectives for participating USAID Missions’ country programs.
  • To enable grantees to develop their organizational and technical capabilities to become stronger, more flexible, and more sustainable development partners that can rapidly respond to the evolving needs of those they serve.

IDEA/LS strongly encourages the use of local providers of capacity support in order to strengthen the local market for these services in the interest of long-term sustainability.  This means – wherever possible – procuring services from local accounting, organizational development, or other technical specialists.  Local providers are often well-positioned to provide socially, culturally, and linguistically appropriate services at reasonable cost, while simultaneously being less likely to leave after donor-funded initiatives have ended.

Eligibility Criteria

  • U.S. PVOs must have 501(c)(3) status and be registered (or in the process of being registered) with USAID to compete for a DGP grant. Only U.S. PVOs whose complete registration materials have been received by USAID by the concept paper due date are eligible.
  • Local NGOs, or non-US PVO applicants, must be a local non-governmental organization recognized under the laws of the country within which it is domiciled. For the purposes of the DGP, a local NGO does not include subsidiaries, affiliates, or member entities of organizations located outside of the host country or region. When applying to the DGP program, local NGOs are required to attach official documentation of their formal status as an NGO in the host country. Local NGOs are not required to register with USAID.
  • All applicants must not have received more than $5,000,000 from  the US Government (including USAID) in direct assistance during the past five year period. The $5,000,000 threshold includes any type of assistance received directly from the US Government - including USAID - through a grant or cooperative agreement. Applicants may have received indirect US Government assistance (sub-awards or other indirect assistance).

More details on eligibility can be found in the annual RFA.

Program Structure and Process

The DGP is managed by the Local Sustainability Division (LS) of the Office of Innovation & Development Alliances (IDEA) in Washington, DC. LS reaches out to USAID field offices - referred to as "missions" - who voluntarily participate in the program. Participating missions choose which sectors they will request applications for, making sure that these sectors are aligned with their mission's assistance objectives. LS releases a global RFA that includes this mission-specific information, which is posted Local NGO and PVO applicants apply directly to missions, who then review proposals and recommend successful applications for funding to LS. LS reviews all participating mission requests at one time and transfers funds to Missions after considering the overall demand and supply of available funds. Missions are responsible for negotiating cooperative agreements (including conducting pre-award surveys) directly with the prospective grantees and receiving all reports over the life of the projects.

Inquiries regarding this program can be sent to

Last updated: July 17, 2013

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