Notice of Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2018

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY
QUITO PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title:             U.S. Embassy Quito and U.S. Consulate Guayaquil Public Affairs Sections
Annual Program Statement
Funding Opportunity Number:       PAS-SEC-FY18-01
Date Opened:                                   February 5, 2018
Deadline for Applications:              July 1, 2018
CFDA Number:                                 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Maximum for Each Award:              $50,000
Minimum for Each Award:              $10,000

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Embassy Quito and U.S. Consulate Guayaquil Public Affairs Sections (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State are pleased to announce that funding is available through the Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program. This is an Annual Program Statement, outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Purpose of Small Grants: PAS Quito invites proposals for programs that strengthen cultural ties between the United States and Ecuador through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation.  All programs must include a U.S. cultural element, or connection with U.S. expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.

Examples of PAS Small Grants Program programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic and professional lectures, seminars, and speaker programs
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs (that contain a U.S. component)
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs
  • English programs

Priority Program Areas:

The Mission is particularly interested in projects that, through Public Diplomacy exchange, media and audiovisual production, and speaker programs:

  • Promote transparency
  • Promote the rule of law
  • Projects that support the socioeconomic 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.

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
  • Transparency and rule of law
  • Socioeconomic inclusion of persons with disabilities, women, minority populations, and refugees
  • English skills Education or academic partnerships that encourage study in the United States or cooperation with academic institutions in the United States

Participants and Audiences:

All proposals should clearly indicate their intended participants and audiences.

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity
  • Activities that do not contain a distinctly U.S. perspective
  • Development projects/programs
  • Infrastructure/Construction programs
  • Individual scholarships
  • Personal development
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs
  • Scientific research
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs
  • Social travel/visits
  • Venture capital
  • For-profit endeavors

 Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding: The source of funding is FY2018 Public Diplomacy Funding.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $50,000
Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2018 Public Diplomacy Funding
Anticipated program start date:  All programs must start before September 30, 2018

This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type:  Grant or Fixed Amount Award
Program Performance Period:  Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.

C. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION 

  1. Eligible Applicants

The Public Affairs Section encourages applications from U.S. and Ecuadorian:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions
  • Governmental institutions

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization.  If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a DUNS number or be registered in SAM.gov.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION 

  1. Application Package

Application forms required below are available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms.html

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Please follow all instructions below carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms 
  1. Summary Cover sheet:  Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  1. Proposal (three pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the organization or individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
  • Program goals and objectives:  The goals describe what the program is intended to achieve.  What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Ecuador will be improved?  The objectives refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals.  These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program methods and design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed program schedule:  The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program monitoring and evaluation plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future funding or sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  1. Attachments (suggested examples): 
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities

Required Registrations:

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique Identifier Number from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, if your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do;jsessionid=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75F . http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:  https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf

For help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Submission Dates and Times

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of July 1, 2018.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

Funding Restrictions

  • Infrastructure/construction
  • Development projects/programs
  • Individual scholarships
  • Personal development
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Alcohol
  • Food and drink not directly related to the program outcome
  • Venture capital
  • For-profit endeavors

All application materials must be submitted by email (.pdf or .doc formats only, not iCloud) to contactocultural@state.gov.

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.

Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PAS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Quality and feasibility of the program idea:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Embassy priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy priority areas and target audiences outlined in section A.

Budget: The budget justification is detailed.  Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.  The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators, and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

  1. FAPIIS

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

i. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii.That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;

iii.That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.

Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm.

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

 If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at:  contactocultural@state.gov

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO.  Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.

H. OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel:  Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel:  Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment:  Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies:  List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

Contractual:  Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.

Other Direct Costs:  Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA.  Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.  It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.