Notice of Funding Opportunity: Public Affairs Small Grants Program

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title:            Public Affairs Small Grants Program
Funding Opportunity Number:      LE-PAS-18-001 
Deadline for Applications:             July 29, 2018
CFDA Number:                                19.021
Total Amount Available:                 $250,000

A- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Embassy of Lebanon / Public Diplomacy Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations, individuals, and alumni of U.S. Exchange programs to submit applications to carry out a program to promote mission goals as outlined in this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Please carefully follow all instructions below

Priority Region: Proposals must be implemented in Lebanon, with priority given to projects implemented partially or entirely in underserved areas.

Program Objectives:

U.S. Embassy Beirut seeks proposals that promote the following themes:

  • Youth engagement in community development;
  • Culture and the arts as tools to promote freedom of expression, youth engagement, and/or economic advancement;
  • Freedom of speech, transparency, and democratic values;
  • Alumni engagement in community service initiatives (alumni networking projects are not likely to receive funding)

Key Guidelines:

  • Applicants can apply as individuals, together as a group (For example, a group of alumni), or as non-profit organizations.
  • For alumni proposals, partnerships with existing, active alumni organizations are encouraged.
  • Successful projects should identify and work with appropriate partner institutions. Partner institutions can be engaged to provide expertise as well as cost-share activities.   Cost-sharing (financial and/or in kind) is encouraged for a competitive grant.
  • Each project will be considered for its potential sustainability; projects that demonstrate sustainability will be given preference.

Please note:      

  • All projects should be conducted in English or have a major English-language component.
  • Successful grantees should be prepared to share their grant activities, as appropriate, on our social media.
  • Priority will be given to proposals that:
    • Target a large number of beneficiaries throughout and beyond the grant period.
    • Engage Youth
    • Touch on more than one theme

B- FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 3 to 24 months
Number of awards anticipated: 5-10 awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $50,000
Total available funding: $250,000
Type of Funding:  FY18 Smith Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds
Anticipated program start date:  August 2018

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.

C- ELIGIBILITY 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
  • Individuals
  • Alumni of Department of State-sponsored exchange programs.

2. Cost Sharing or Marching

Cost share is not required; however projects with cost share components will receive an additional 5 points during merit review.

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.  Applicants will be asked to open a separate bank account for the purposes of this grant funding.

D- APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/forms-repository.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
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) – PDF KB 268 or
  • SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals) – PDF KB 756
  • SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) PDF KB 324
  • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) – PDF KB 116
  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 (5 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. It describes the efforts the applicant will undertake to address the priorities and goals of this announcement. 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.
  • Project Timeline: Applicants must provide an overall breakdown of the order and timeframe in which all project activities will take place. This item should provide a macro snapshot of what will take place from beginning to end of the project.  Applicants must ensure that the timeline of activities/events corresponds with details provided in Proposal.
  • 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.
  • Job Description/Biographical Info for Key Personnel: For each position designated as key personnel for this project/program, applicants must provide the following:  a) if the position is already filled: provide brief biographical information summarizing the person’s qualifications, as well as a brief description of the roles and responsibilities pertaining to this project.  OR, if the person to fill a key position has not yet been hired: Provide a brief summary of the job description, which should include a description of the roles and responsibilities pertaining to this project, as well as a description of qualifications of eligible candidates. 
  • 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?
  • Sustainability Plan:  The sustainability plan outlines how the proposed project will be sustained beyond the initial award period.  Sustainability Plans may not exceed 2-pages.
  • Optional Documents – Applicants may submit additional documents for consideration with their application.  These documents are not required and there is a 10-page limit for this section of the application.  Below are examples of some additional documents an applicant may wish to submit.
  • Letters of Agreement or Letters of Intent: Applicants proposing partner organizations and/or government bodies should include Letters of Intent or Letters of Agreement from their proposed partners.
  • Organization Chart: The organizational chart outlines the clear lines of responsibility and authority in the applicant organization to include budgeted level of effort listed by each person.
  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
  • Applicants proposing indirect costs in the Budget greater than the 10% de minimis must provide a copy of their Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). This item will not be counted toward any page limits.  Your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration

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 29, 2018.

There will be no grace period, and any application not received by the application deadline will be deemed ineligible and will not advance to be reviewed for this grant cycle. Applicants are encouraged to submit an application far enough in advance of the deadline so it can alert PAS Beirut (BeirutPD@state.gov) of any technical difficulties and allow sufficient time to resolve difficulties before the deadline. Although PAS Beirut will work with applicants to resolve technical issues, it is not in a position to grant exceptions to the submission requirements outlined in this announcement.

5. Funding Restrictions

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Airfare
  • Purchase of computers or substantial equipment
  • Purchase of alcoholic beverages

6. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to BeirutPD@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 – 30 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 – 15 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.

Cost Share – 5 points: Projects that incorporate cost-share will receive an extra 5 points.

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

  1. 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: Payment schedules will vary based on grant timeline.  Payment schedules will be established with the grantee during the pre-award phase.

  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.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx

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.   Reporting packets may include, in addition to U.S. Government required documents, additional detailed narrative and financial reports, supporting documents and attachments.

G- FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

For questions regarding this funding opportunity including: completing an application, financial and grants management issues, or technical matters, contact: BeirutPD@state.gov.

All questions and a confirmation of Intent to Apply must be submitted in writing to BeirutPD@state.gov by July 29, 2018.

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.

DISCLAIMER

Issuance of the NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. The PAS reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements listed in this NOFO.