Funding Opportunity: Leaders for Change-Virtual Exchange Program

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY IN SANTO DOMINGO

Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Announcement Type: Grant

Funding Opportunity Title:            Leaders for Change-Virtual Exchange Program

Funding Opportunity Number:  S-DR860-NOFO-20-005        

Date Opened: Friday, June 5, 2020

 

Closing Date and Time for Submission of Application: July 19, 2020

CFDA Number: 19.040 – General Department of State Assistance

Eligibility Category: American and/or Dominican based committed and organized civil-society organizations, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.                        

Total Amount Available:                $25,000

Electronic Requirement: Applications must be submitted by email to the email address listed below.

Email: SantoDomingoGrants@state.gov

 

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for individuals and organizations to submit applications to carry out a virtual exchange program between U.S. and Dominican Higher education institutions that involves students from both countries to strengthen bilateral ties and interest in higher education. Proposals should include one U.S. higher education institution and one Dominican higher education institution as partner implementers.

Please carefully follow all instructions below:

The U.S. Embassy, Santo Domingo seeks proposals from U.S. and/or Dominican-based higher education institutions that meet all eligibility requirements outlined below.

Organizations should submit proposals via email to SantoDomingoGrants@state.gov by Tuesday, July 07, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Project Purpose:

The goal of this virtual exchange program is to connect U.S. and the Dominican Republic higher education institutions to work with Dominican and U.S. students on project development and innovation in times of crisis. This program will provide a platform for dialogue and training for young leaders focused on workforce development, social entrepreneurship, leadership, decision-making and planning while aiming to promote a positive change driven mindset.  The project should provide interactive modules on leadership, community issues, and digital citizenship. Participants will gain 21st century global competency skills. In addition, they will develop mutual understanding and learn how to communicate across cultures.  Proposals must include U.S. content.

Participants and Audiences:

Students from the Dominican Republic and the United States who are creating positive impact through the use of technologies to help develop their communities, and within the age range of 15-21 years old.

Allowable Activities and Costs

Please note that there should be included in the proposal a meeting with U.S. Embassy staff prior to the start of the program.

E-learning expenses should be included in the proposal for review by the grant review committee. Activities that are typically funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Online platforms to carry out the program
  • Virtual trainer or speaker expenses
  • Reasonable equipment and materials

Activities that are not typically funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Grants to individuals
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds
  • Projects that are inherently political in nature or that contain the appearance of partisanship/support to individual or single party electoral campaigns
  • Sustained staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
  • Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
  • Charitable or development activities or the provision of direct social services to a population
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Fundraising campaigns

Suggested activity guidelines:

  • Host at least three synchronous sessions (e.i. Adobe Connect, YouTube, Facebook Live, Skype, Google Hangouts, and UberConference). Virtual exchange activities do not have to be live-streamed. Many teachers use email, text chats on social media, and even phone calls to supplement live streaming, or to bridge large differences in time zones) supported by a series of asynchronous connections (e.i. SnapChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. You do not need to have high internet bandwidth to build a virtual exchange) in between the program;
  • Dialogues should be between small groups, large group, to one-on-one if appropriate;
  • Involve skilled facilitators at each point of connection to guide conversation and ensure deep engagement for all participants;
  • Take time for participants to get to know each other personally, but go deeper than the “foods, flags, and festivals” level of exchange;
  • Some of the virtual connections should be in small-group format, five or less, so that as many participants as possible get a chance to interact directly
  • Design your exchange so that participants create and execute a joint project together that each group will carry out separately.
  • Participants should have incentives or milestones to achieve to interact with one another beyond their project as well.
  • You will also want to have some sort of culminating event, whether it is a guest speaker, an awards ceremony, a performance, or something else.
  • Integrate a variety of evaluation tools and methods to ensure participants reach program goals, learning, and participant outcomes and outputs. Please use the following logic model template to measure success of the program at the end:
Inputs Activities Output Short-term Outcomes Long-term Outcomes
What are the resources invested to start and maintain the program? What activities will you implement? What are the immediate results of those activities? What are the intermediate results of the intervention? What are the long-term results due to the program intervention?

Sample program timeline:

July 2020 | 1-4 weeks

  • Partner and facilitator introductions
  • Participant recruitment and selection- both U.S. and abroad
  • Facilitators finalize selection of project

July 2020 – August 2020 | Weeks 4 – 8

  • Facilitators start dialogue and training on virtual platforms
  • Virtual connections begin (synchronous and asynchronous)

September – August  2020 | Weeks 8-12

  • Community project development
  • Continue virtual trainings and connections
  • Projects are launched
  • Program Closing

December 2020 | 6 months since the start of the program

  • Post program evaluation of the impact completed

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

 

Length of performance period: 6-12 months

Number of awards anticipated: 01 awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000

Total available funding: $25,000

Type of Funding:  FY20 Smith Mundt or Fulbright Hays Public Diplomacy Funds

Anticipated program start date:  08-17-2020

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Public and private educational institutions

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

No cost share is required for this award competition.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (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 unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  • Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at the U.S. Embassy website.

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
  • SF-424(Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  1. Summary Page: 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.
  2. Proposal (10 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.  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. Include a logic model as appropriate.
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: 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 SustainabilityApplicant’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.
  2. Attachments :
  • 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
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

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

  • Unique entity identifier 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

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 NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE 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.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

1. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than July 07, 2020, 2020 at 11:59 P.M.

2. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to SantoDomingoGrants@state.gov

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 25 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 25 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget – 10 points: 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 – 15 points: 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 – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

2. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

3. Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (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: Please note that according to the U.S. government’s federal assistance policy, recipients do not receive advance payments in excess of their “immediate cash needs.” In general, up to 20% of the grant total is withheld as a final payment to ensure that final reports are submitted by grantees.  All successful applicants will be provided with this information upon award of funds.

  • 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, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/.

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.  Please find links to the documents below.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

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

H. OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: 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, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. 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.

Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Small Grant Program.

[1] U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo Mission Statement:https://do.usembassy.gov/es/embassy-es