Funding for English Language, STEAM & Entrepreneurship Programs

Notice of Funding Opportunity – Posted January 31, 2018

Funding Opportunity Title:  Funding for English Language, STEAM & Entrepreneurship Programs

Funding Opportunity Number:  4112FY18-01

Deadline for Applications: March 30, 2018

CFDA Number:  19.040 Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available:  $75,000

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a program (or project) in the following focus areas:

  • improve the quality of English language education at the secondary and higher education levels;
  • improve the quality of, and access to, science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics (STEAM) education for girls at the secondary and higher education levels;
  • inspire entrepreneurship among youth in under-represented communities particularly among women, Afro–descendent, and indigenous communities.

Project Objectives:

The Public Affairs Section (hereafter, PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica (hereafter, Embassy) works with government and non-government partners throughout Costa Rica to improve mutual understanding between the people of Costa Rica and the United States, and to expand and improve educational opportunities for Costa Rican youth (with a focus on English language, STEAM, and entrepreneurship), among other priorities. The goal of the projects solicited through this Notice of Funding Opportunity is to complement Embassy initiatives to improve English, entrepreneurship, STEAM education and to promote mutual understanding through cultural, educational, and professional development programs.

English language projects should focus on improving English education and empowering young English learners by increasing their exposure to new career and educational opportunities. Proposals may include classroom instruction but priority will be given to projects that include beyond-the-classroom enhancement activities and/or demonstrate coordination with NGO or Government of Costa Rica initiatives. Priority will also be given to projects that include beneficiaries from outside the San Jose metropolitan area.

STEAM education projects should improve the quality of, and/or access to, STEAM education for girls and encourage girls to enter STEAM fields. Priority will be given to projects that include beyond-the-classroom enhancement activities such as after school programs or camps.

Entrepreneurship projects should promote broader awareness of and interest in entrepreneurship by building soft skills for youth in secondary and higher education levels with a focus on exposure to basic business skills, for example, how to develop an idea, how to create a business plan, etc. Priority will be given to projects that incorporate under-represented communities, including but not limited to women, Afro-descendent, and indigenous communities.

Participants and Audiences:

For all projects, 15 to 20 years old from economically disadvantaged communities.

Length of performance period: 1 to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: 10 awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $20,000

Total available funding: $75,000

Type of Funding: FY18 Smith Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds

Anticipated project start date: June 1, 2018

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Grant, Fixed Amount Award

Project Performance Period: Proposed projects should be completed in 12 months or less.

1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply: Costa Rica- or U.S.-based:

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

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

No cost sharing is required

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

1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at: https://cr.usembassy.gov or https://www.grants.gov

2.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 can all be found at https://www.grants.gov

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

2. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, project title, project period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the project.

3. 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. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.

  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the project, 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 project is needed
  • Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Project Activities: Describe the project activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
  • Proposed Project Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the project 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 project. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this project?
  • Project Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Project 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.

4. 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.

5. Attachments:

  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the project
  • Letters of support from project 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 project 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
  • www.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 (Pdf -1.2mb)

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.

3. Submission Dates and Times Applications are due no later than March 30, 2018

4. Funding Restrictions None

5. Other Submission Requirements All application materials must be submitted by email to PAgrantapplication@state.gov

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 project activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 25 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and project approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Monitoring and evaluation plan – 20 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 project includes output and outcome indicators, and shows how and when those will be measured.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 10 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.

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.

Sustainability – 10 points: Project activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.

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.

4. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates April 30, 2018.

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 project 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:
All expenditures paid with funds provided by this Agreement must be incurred for authorized activities, which take place during the grant period, unless otherwise stipulated.

Payment of funds under this Agreement will not be disbursed until the DOS has been assured that the Recipient’s financial management system will provide effective control over and accountability for all Federal funds in accordance with 2CFR 200.300 – 200.303. The Standard Form (SF) 270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement Payments may be requested in the amounts required by the recipient to carry out the purpose of this award. The SF-270 must be certified by the appropriate person, numbered consecutively and identified for the period which payment is claimed. Each payment must be the amount of expenditures anticipated or actually incurred during the requested period less any unexpended funds remaining from prior payments. Recipients should request funds based on immediate disbursement requirements and disburse funds as soon as possible to minimize the Federal cash on hand in accordance with the policies established by the U.S. Treasury Department and mandated by the OMB Circulars. This information must be reflected on the SF-270 submitted for payment.

Send payment requests to: Grants Officer Merlyn Schultz. Requests for payments must be submitted in sufficient time to allow at least ten (10) working days for processing.

2. 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.

3. 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.

The Recipient is required to submit quarterly program and financial reports thirty (30) working days after the calendar year quarter. A final certified financial report and program report must be submitted to the Grants or Principal Officer within ninety (90) days after the award period end date. The first page of the Performance Progress Report Form (PPR) must be submitted with all program reports. The Federal Financial Report (FFR SF-425/SF-425a) must be submitted for all financial reports. These forms can be accessed at: https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements may jeopardize the Recipient’s eligibility for future awards and/or delays in payments.

The non-Federal entity must submit performance reports using OMB-approved government-wide standard information collections when providing performance information. As appropriate in accordance with above mentioned information collections, these reports will contain, for each Federal award, brief information on the following unless other collections are approved by OMB:

  • A comparison of actual accomplishments to the objectives of the Federal award established for the period. Where the accomplishments of the Federal award can be quantified, a computation of the cost (for example, related to units of accomplishment) may be required if that information will be useful. Where performance trend data and analysis would be informative to the Federal awarding agency program, the Federal awarding agency should include this as a performance reporting requirement.
  • The reasons why established goals were not met, if appropriate.
  • Additional pertinent information including, when appropriate, analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs.

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

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 project, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the project.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this project, for both program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the project 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 project, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the project), 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 project. 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 project activities.

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the project, 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 project 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.