Notice of Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2017

Announcement Type:  Grant, Cooperative Agreement
Funding Opportunity Title:  U.S. Embassy Quito Public Affairs Small Grants Program Statement
Date Opened:  March 1, 2017
Closing Date and Time for Submission of Application:   July 1, 2017

Grant Funds available for allocation:  There is a limited amount of funds available in this fiscal year.  Applications will be accepted and reviewed until all funds are depleted

Eligibility Category:  American- and/or Ecuadorian-based committed and organized civil-society organizations, local representatives of civil society, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions

Award Ceiling:  U.S. $25,000.00
Award Floor:  U.S. $10,000.00

Electronic Requirement: Applications must be submitted by email to contactocultural@state.gov
Announcement Type:  New Announcement

  1. Program Description

The U.S. Mission in Ecuador invites interested individuals, non-profit organizations, public international organizations, and private, public, or state non-profit institutions of higher education from Ecuador and the United States to submit concept notes for projects and programs in accordance with the specifications outlined below.

Projects and programs selected for funding will provide Ecuadorian audiences with current, accurate information and opportunities for increased understanding of U.S. government, policies, society, history, and culture.  The statutory authority for awards made under this announcement is the Fulbright-Hayes Act and the Smith-Mundt Act.

  1. The Mission is particularly interested in projects that, through Public Diplomacy exchange programs and speaker programs, expand good governance; promote the rule of law, citizen participation in the democratic process, and respect for fundamental human rights; and projects that support the socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable and underserved populations. We are also seeking proposals that, through Public Diplomacy exchange programs and speaker programs, increase citizen prosperity by developing Ecuadorian human capital and improve education, English skills, entrepreneurial acumen, and health.
  2. Activities that address one of the following specific themes below are specifically of interest, however other themes that support the goals listed above will also receive consideration:
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Social inclusion and disability
  • English skills Education or academic partnerships that encourage study in the United States or cooperation with academic institutions in the United States

Please note:  The Embassy does not award grants to musical, dance, artistic or performance programs/events that are not linked or do not support one of the above goals or themes.  Additionally, each program must have a clear U.S. component, such as featuring a speaker from the United States, partnering with a U.S. organization, or featuring a U.S.-specific cultural component.

  1. Federal Award Information

The Embassy will give consideration to the full range and diversity of U.S. and Ecuadorian nonprofit organizations.  The Embassy will also seek to target geographically and demographically diverse audiences in Ecuador.  Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate the long term sustainability of the project and that include some form of cost-sharing with the partner institution(s).

Requests for funding amounts between $10,000 and $25,000 will be considered on an open application process and evaluated as they are received for further discussion and possible funding.  Requests for funding exceeding $25,000 should be discussed with the Mission before putting together a concept note. All PAS decisions will be based on Mission priorities and the availability of funds.

Awards of three types will be made under this announcement: Fixed Amount Awards to organizations and individuals, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements.  The type of award will be determined by the Grant Officer.  Applicants should note that when cooperative agreements are awarded, the substantial involvement of the Embassy Public Affairs Section may include collaborative planning, in-depth consultation, and joint execution of an activity.  Procurement contracts will not be awarded under this announcement.

This announcement is limited to new awards only and does not solicit modifications to existing awards.

  1. Eligible Applicants

The U.S. Embassy will accept applications from non-governmental organizations and other legally recognized non-profit institutions in Ecuador, including governmental institutions.  U.S. based organizations with 501(c)(3) designation and experience in Ecuador may also apply for funding under this announcement.  Regardless of their location, commercial entities are ineligible.  This determination will be made by the Grant Officer at the time the award is made.

All successfully funded organizations must have Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), sometimes called a DUNS number.  A UEI must be obtained by the applicant prior to application submission. Instructions for obtaining a UEI can be found here:  www.dnb.com/get-a-duns-number.html.  If further assistance is required, write to govt@dnb.com.  PAS Ecuador cannot assist organizations with obtaining a UEI.

Applicants must have an active registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) (www.sam.gov) prior to submitting an application and must continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times that has an active Federal award or an application under consideration by the U.S. Government.  SAM requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has and maintains an active registration in SAM.  No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance or can participate in any U.S. Government-funded activities.

PAS Ecuador may not award funding to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable UEI and SAM requirements.  If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time PAS is ready to make an award, PAS may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive funding and use that determination as a basis to award funding to another applicant.

Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment practices and to non-discrimination practices with regard to beneficiaries, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation.

  1. Application Process and Requirements

Interested parties should submit an initial concept note containing the following information:

  1. Name of organization or individual requesting funding.
  2. Estimated amount requested.
  3. Goals and themes addressed through the proposed activity (per Section 1 of this document).  The use of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goals is encouraged.  Also, please include an explanation of how this project supports the work of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section.
  4. Short description of the activity, including a clear explanation of the U.S. component.
  5. Estimated timeline of the activity.
  6. Short description of the activity’s beneficiaries (who, where, and how many people).
  7. Predicted outcomes of the activity.
  8. Possible risks in carrying out the activity.

The initial concept note should be not more than two pages in length, in 12 point font.  Concept notes are preferred in English, but those submitted in Spanish will be equally considered.

Concept notes will be accepted between the time of this posting and July 1, 2017.  Activities must begin prior to September 30, 2017.

Concept notes will be reviewed as they are received, and applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail that the Embassy has received the proposal.  Reviews of concept notes will result in one of two possible outcomes, generally within 2-3 weeks after the concept note has been received:

  • The invitation of a full proposal, at which time a specified format will be provided to selected applicants; or
  • Feedback to non-selected applications regarding the reason that the concept note is not determined to be appropriate for further consideration for PAS funding.

There is no need to contact the Embassy to ask about the status of your concept note once you have received the confirmation e-mail.

Concept notes should be submitted electronically (.pdf or .doc formats only) to contactocultural@state.gov

Attention: Public Affairs Section – Concept Note

PAS reserves the right to request modifications or adjustments to proposed activities and budget based on Embassy goals and other relevant factors.  Full proposals, when invited, will only be accepted in a specific format.  Full proposals should not be submitted in response to this announcement.  Specific instructions will be provided with the proposal format.  A completed SF-424 is required to be submitted with all full proposals.  Full proposals must be submitted in English, and the request by the Mission for a full proposal does not guarantee funding by the Embassy.

Materials submitted by cloud sharing service, portable hard drive, disc, or other shared media will not be reviewed.

  1. Upon Receipt of a Grant

Recipients of the Embassy’s cultural and educational grants are required to submit a final certified Federal Financial Report (SF-425) and a Narrative Report (SF-PPR) within 90 calendar days of the end of the period of performance delineated in the award. Some grants may also require quarterly reports.

Program reports must include:

  • Relevant contextual information.
  • Explanation and evaluation of significant activities during the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives.
  • Any tangible impact or success stories from the project.
  • Relevant supporting documentation related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, etc.).
  • A description of any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan.
  • A description of activities for the next quarter.
  • Additional pertinent information, including explanation of cost overruns, if applicable.
  • A detail of line-item costs incurred during the reporting period.
  • A detail of line-item costs incurred over the life of the program.

PAS reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.

The Grant Officer will review specific requirements with prospective awardees prior to transference of funds.  In most cases, organizations will be required to complete a pre-award risk assessment.

Failure to comply with the reporting requirements may jeopardize eligibility for future awards or will result in suspension of any future payments under this award until such time as this deficiency has been corrected.  Some of the required forms include:

All recipients must be aware of the Standard Terms & Conditions (PDF, 174kb) that apply to overseas grantees and comply with all terms and conditions during the project period.  Also please note that according to the U.S. government’s grants policy, grant recipients do not receive advance payments in excess of their “immediate cash needs.”  In general, up to 10% of the grant total is withheld as a final payment to ensure that final reports are submitted by the grantees.  All successful applicants will be provided with this information upon the awarding of the grant.

  1. Important Information:

A. Evaluation Criteria: Evaluators will judge each concept note and full application individually against the following
criteria, listed below in order of importance.

  • The degree to which the proposed activity supports the Mission goals and themes outlined in sections 1A and 1B, above.
  • The knowledge and experience of the applicant in planning and implementing similar programs, specifically in Ecuador.
  • The ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity of the proposed activity.
  • The feasibility of the proposed activity according to the proposed budget and timeline.

B.  PAS funds cannot be used for the following activities:

  • Activities that do not contain a distinctly U.S. perspective
  • Infrastructure/construction
  • Development projects/programs
  • Individual scholarships
  • Personal development
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Venture capital
  • For-profit endeavors

Thank you for your interest in the Embassy’s Cultural and Educational Grants Program.