The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), at the beginning of November, awarded direct funding grants to five Serbian organizations which will manage projects completely placed in their hands. According to the U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Michael Kirby, and Director of USAID, Susan Fritz, the goal of switching to direct funding is to strengthen the capacity of organizations in Serbia, ensure more efficient use of USAID funds, and to show confidence in civil society organizations and government institutions. Five organizations received a total of more than a million dollars of direct finance. BCSDN member organization Civic Initiatives was among these. Civic Initiatives has been awarded a 15-month, USD 248,800 grant to improve the status of youth and reduce their marginalization in southern Serbia. “Empowered Youth for Positive Changes in South Serbia and Sandžak” will build the capacity of young people, youth groups, and civil society organisations (CSOs). The program will focus on poor, socially marginalised, and unemployed youth from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and develop their employability and capacity to advocate for changes in their communities.