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Grant Assistant Launches AI-enhanced Toolkit to Create Winning Proposals Faster and More Easily

Grant Assistant Simplifies and Accelerates Every Stage of the Proposal Process, Including Evaluation, Design, Drafting, Budget, and Compliance Review

Grant Assistant launched an AI-enhanced toolkit to simplify and streamline the complicated and time-consuming process of responding to solicitations. Grant Assistant provides a simple and structured workflow for preparing proposals for international grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities, including evaluation, design, drafting, budget, and compliance review.

Grant Assistant’s leadership team includes two former Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who have seen the challenges of the current grant process up close. Sean Carroll, USAID Chief of Staff in the Obama administration, is the Chairman of Grant Assistant, while Dr. William Steiger, USAID Chief of Staff in the Trump administration, serves as an advisor to the company and a member of its Board.

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“My first time seeing Grant Assistant in action was a revelation,” said Carroll. “For decades, we’ve known that the grantmaking process is too difficult, intimidating, time-consuming, and costly. These issues have reduced the number and diversity of applicants, rewarded technical accuracy over impact in proposals, and taken time and money away from the vital programs run by grant recipients. Grant Assistant modernizes the application process with a simple, elegant, and powerful tool for organizations of all sizes, from single-person consultancies to global development institutions.”

Grant Assistant is built for ease-of-use and customization with key features that include:

  • Solicitation Summaries: Grant Assistant uses a custom AI to analyze complex book-length grant solicitations and turn them into clear and actionable one-page summaries on the opportunities and requirements of the grant, so organizations can make fast and informed “go” or “no-go” decisions.
  • Guided Program Design:  Instead of starting from a blank page, Grant Assistant provides a guided design toolkit that uses the requirements of a solicitation, integrated templates, and tailored questions to help users create a proposal structure aligned with their objectives and capabilities.
  • AI-Enhanced Drafting Support:  Grant Assistant’s custom generative AI uses uploaded content, such as past proposals, relevant studies and evaluations, published technical and scientific literature, funders’ strategy and policy documents, and other organizational materials, to expand a program design into a robust draft proposal.
  • Suggestion Engine:  Grant Assistant’s unique suggestion engine enriches a proposal by surfacing key relevant information, like proof points, charts, and data, from uploaded documents and referenced sources.
  • Integrated Accuracy:  Grant Assistant’s integrated AI does not use any data sources or suggest any factual content outside of the sources provided by the user, nor does it share users’ content with any external party. The tool creates an initial draft solely out of the language of a solicitation the RFP and the ideas and input provided by users during the program design phase. Once a user has completed a draft proposal, the context engine surfaces additional content suggestions from materials uploaded by the user during the program-design phase.
  • Collaboration Tools:  Grant Assistant offers a comprehensive suite of tools to manage proposal stages, deadlines, and collaboration across a team.
  • Compliance Check:  Grant Assistant’s custom AI follows funder-focused writing rules (including the USAID Style Guide) to ensure accuracy in tone and language. It reviews a draft proposal section-by-section to ensure it meets all of a funder’s solicitation and compliance requirements, while flagging potential issues and omissions.

“Anyone who has drafted an application for a grant or cooperative agreement knows the tremendous stress involved, as you race the clock to finish a book-length proposal that meets complicated solicitation requirements while clearly explaining the scope and elements of your plan,” said Mustafa Hasnain, CEO of Grant Assistant. “Now there’s an easier way. Grant Assistant walks an applicant through every stage of the process using a simple, step-by-step tool. In a fraction of the time, Grant Assistant helps identify the right solicitation, create the ideal program design, use custom generative AI to draft and enhance the content, and check the proposal against compliance requirements. Grant Assistant also levels the playing field for smaller players and local organizations that don’t have the same drafting experience, English-language expertise, knowledge of proposal design, or faculty with funders’ terminology.”

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Designed to meet the needs of applicants for grants and cooperative agreements in the international development space, Grant Assistant has undergone rigorous, real-world testing and improvement over the past eight months through partnerships with grant applicants of all sizes.

Grant Assistant beta testers ranged from small consultancies to some of the world’s leading international development organizations, including five of the top ten largest USAID implementers. Among Grant Assistant’s testing partners are Cliniva, Creative, Catholic Relief Services, DT Institute, Engender Health, Humentum, Jhpiego, MSI, Reingold, TechChange, URC, and World Learning.

One of those beta testers, TechChange CEO Nick Martin, described its impact for his organization. “A huge, game-changing bid dropped just before the holidays, due in mid-January,” said Martin. “We thought we were going to have to pass in order to respect our company’s holiday shutdown. But in came Grant Assistant with its AI magic, and we were able to submit a great proposal during the toughest time of the year.”

Earl Gast, President of URC, another Grant Assistant beta tester, added, “This AI tool democratizes the proposal process, empowering local organizations with great ideas and local solutions to meet USAID’s requirements effectively.”

Beyond Hasnain, Carroll, and Steiger, Grant Assistant’s founding team includes:

  • President Hans Miller, a former executive at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Co-Founder/CEO of Airside Mobile, which runs the popular Mobile Passport app;
  • Chief Revenue Officer Rob Russell, who has deep experience in leading business development and sales in the government sector, including for Thomson Reuters;
  • Chief Operating Officer Syed Murtaza, an ex-corporate banker and entrepreneur with a background in content creation, animation, and technology; and
  • Director of Research Dr. Gilberto Lopez, an academic educated at HarvardJohns Hopkins, and Southern Methodist Universities with deep experience in the grantmaking process.

“Grant Assistant has the power to turbocharge the localization efforts of USAID and other funders,” said Steiger. “The tool can perform tasks in a few hours that have traditionally taken weeks or even months. This means Grant Assistant can transform the great ideas and on-the-ground knowledge of smaller organizations into world-class applications that can compete on the merits with proposals drafted by the largest players in international development.”

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