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American Diplomacy Publishers

GRANT PROPOSAL

American Diplomacy Publishers (ADP) seeks the help of the [XXX] Foundation to enable it to to expand and improve its very successful electronic journal, American Diplomacy, whose aim is to enhance public understanding of the crucial role played by diplomacy in the conduct of American foreign policy. Specifically, ADP requests a grant of $65,000 per year for two years—one-half the total cost of its two-year development plan—to hire professional staff, pay honoraria to contributing authors, contract commercial Internet access services, and acquire work space and facilities needed to publish the journal more efficiently and respond more effectively to the needs and interests of its fast-growing audience.

Despite advances in technology and communications, Americans know less about world affairs today than they did at the height of the Cold War. Yet a well-informed citizenry is no less important to good governance in a democracy today than it was when the threat of nuclear catastrophe loomed large. Concerned that Americans (especially younger Americans) were failing their civic duties in growing numbers, a small group of former Foreign Service officers and scholars in the Triangle area launched American Diplomacy three years ago in hopes of helping reverse the trend. In order to reach a wide audience at the lowest possible cost, they chose to test the feasibility of publishing on the World Wide Web, a medium deemed risky for such purposes at the time.

Since then, the Web has exploded with users while American Diplomacy
has established itself at the forefront, no longer an experiment but a proven success. Its twelve quarterly issues to date, packed with timely articles, commentaries, reviews, and memoirs by distinguished ex-diplomats and scholars, have offered its readers a rare look at how nations do business and at the people who conduct that business around the world. The journal’s attractive format and easily accessed electonic “pages” have won it a steadily growing readership now numbering in the thousands; interest among younger readers has been especially lively and gratifying.

In the view of its organizers, American Diplomacy has more than achieved its modest original goals. But its very success has now compelled us to broaden its base, formalize its structure, and undertake a major two-year development program to upgrade its technical capability and hire permanent staff:

  • American Diplomacy Publishers was chartered as a non-profit North Carolina corporation on January 5, 1998.

  • On July 6, 1998, ADP was determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be exempt from federal income tax as a Sec. 501(c)(3) public charity, a finding subsequently endorsed by the North Carolina Department of Finance.

  • ADP has elected a balanced Board of Directors composed of fourteen distinguished former diplomats and respected scholars who meet quarterly to chart the organization’s course.

  • American Diplomacy recently conducted its first fund-raising campaign among its readers, raising over $1,100 in tax-deductable contributions.

  • And in June of this year, as it put together the most recent issue of the journal, ADP engaged its first part-time contract employee to provide the assistance it needed to keep pace with the Web’s rapid technological changes.

In order to finance its development costs, ADP has weighed selling annual subscriptions to its readers but has rejected this as impractical and self-defeating. It has also explored placing commercial advertising on its pages, but it has rejected this up to now as well, partly out of concern to maintain its editorial independence, but also because most commercial advertisers seem uninterested in the market potential of its rather special readership. Instead, ADP hopes to generate an income stream from offering special electronic services to its readers and collaborators, including:

  • ‘Distance participation’ conference services (see below);

  • advertisement of international relations programs, news, and events among universities, world affairs councils, trade associations, humanitarian service groups, and other such organizations;

  • online publication of independent scholars’ research work in fields relating to international relations (works that are increasingly difficult to publish in print); and,

  • eventually, distribution of American Diplomacy’s own archives in CD-ROM form among libraries and other institutions.

Realistically, however, such cash generating measures—while helping prove American Diplomacy’s value to its readers and the community—will not suffice to meet the journal’s longer-term growth and development needs. In a word, a shoestring budget will no longer sustain a publication that is now the electronic equivalent of an eighty-page magazine, with its heavy editorial and research burden, layout and graphics demands, and expanding range of reader services.

If American Diplomacy is to continue to respond to the growing need for informed examination of the foreign policy issues, it will require generous institutional sponsorship—probably for an extended period. Its growth plan for the next two years calls for an infusion of some $130,000 in new resources each year. The plan’s principal annual cost elements are the following:

1. Engage and compensate a five-person staff:
Two persons full time (publisher and editor)$  90,000
Three persons part-time (research assistant, technical assistant,
and reader services assistant)
30,000
2. Pay honoraria to contributing authors: 5,000
(at least $200 for a major article and $100 for opinion pieces and vignettes)
3. Contract for commercial Internet access services:2,000
(permitting greater flexibility, faster connection, and better interactive contact among readers, authors, and staff)
4. Rent suitable, moderately priced office space:    3,000
TOTAL
$130,000

 

The two-year plan also sets out new program goals for American Diplomacy that include:

  1. Building and maintaining an “InfoCenter” clearinghouse to which journal readers can turn for reliable, authoritative information about fast-breaking situations involving U.S. diplomats and major foreign policy issues (an idea successfully tested in American Diplomacy during last year’s embassy bombings in East Africa).

  2. Redesign and reinvigorate the journal’s interactive services departments (Readers Forum, Research Inquiries, Letters from Readers, Useful Links, News & Announcements, and Archives) to make them more accessible and searchable by means of cgi scripts and forms.

  3. Provide journal readers “MoreInfo” links to tested sources of additional information online about topics covered in American Diplomacy articles, commentaries, and reviews.

Over the longer term, ADP believes it can build upon its experience with American Diplomacy and electronic communications to make an even greater contribution to public understanding of America’s foreign relations. It is currently exploring such initiatives as these:

  • A special “Research Series for IR Scholars,” an economical online publishing alternative for independent scholars that uses Internet access to overcome the impediments to new ideas and creative thinking now posed by crowded and costly print publications;

  • a “Distance Participation” facility for publishing documents and information relating to conferences on international relations issues, plus an online forum where such issues can be discussed before, during, and after the conference.

Attached are materials supporting ADP’s grant request. American Diplomacy Publishers respectfully appeals to interested foundations and individuals for the support it needs in order to continue its work in behalf of a more active and better-informed citizenry.

Attachments:

  1. Biographic Résumés of ADP Officers
  2. Two-year Development Budget, 1999-2000
  3. Cash Flow Report, July 1998 - July 1999

Grant Proposal    •     Attachment 1   •   Attachment 2   •   Attachment 3


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