Notice of Funding Opportunity: U.S. Embassy San Jose PD Annual Program Statement

Notice of Funding Opportunity
Notice of Funding Opportunity

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

U.S. EMBASSY SAN JOSE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SECTION

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy San Jose PD Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number: PD-001-FY2022

Deadline for Applications: March 1, 2022; May 1, 2022; July 15, 2022

CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available:  $150,000

Award amounts:  Minimum of $10,000 to maximum of $50,000

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
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The U.S. Embassy San Jose Public Diplomacy Section (PD) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that grants funding is available. 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: PD San Jose invites proposals for programs that strengthen people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Costa Rica through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. All programs must include an U.S. cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.

Priority Program Areas:

  • Improving the skills of English language teachers and empowering young English learners by increasing their exposure to educational opportunities, particularly among the underserved audiences described below.  Projects should demonstrate coordination with the Ministry of Education.
  • Encouraging girls to enter Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) careers and improving the skills of STEAM teachers in order to increase the quality of, and access to, STEAM education for girls at the elementary and secondary education levels.  Projects should demonstrate coordination with the Ministry of Education.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and knowledge of basic skills to increase business development among small and medium-sized businesses, particularly among the underserved populations described below.
  • Media-related projects to support freedom of the press, counter disinformation, and/or improve media literacy in Costa Rica, or leverage Costa Rican journalists’ expertise to support these lines of effort in the region. Proposals with a regional element should demonstrate a clear nexus to Costa Rica
  • Advancing climate action, including engaging U.S. and Costa Rican experts to raise awareness, increase environmental justice, and encourage eco-friendly entrepreneurial initiatives.

Target Audiences in Costa Rica:

  • Women and girls
  • Migrant populations
  • Afro-descendant populations
  • Indigenous communities
  • Youth from underserved communities
  • Rural and semi-rural populations outside the San Jose metropolitan area
  • NGOs and think tanks
  • National and regional media
  • Cultural and educational leaders
  • Next generation leaders (e.g., innovators, digital influencers, university campus leaders)

Activities that may be funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Public-facing programs that include U.S. subject matter experts conducting speaking tours/public talks, roundtable discussions, workshops, etc
  • Academic and professional lectures and seminars
  • Skills building and education programs that help young people learn technology-based job skills
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions
  • Development of initiatives aimed at maintaining contacts with alumni of our exchange programs.

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable, humanitarian, social welfare, or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • 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;
  • International travel, unless specifically justified within the proposal

COVID-19 Special Announcement to All Potential Applicants: In light of the restrictive travel and public gathering environments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in San Jose expects interested applicants to submit proposals that include a virtual programming option. Depending upon the public health restrictions in force at the time the program takes place, applicants should have plans to execute in-person, hybrid, or virtual programming in compliance with COVID health and safety guidelines issued by the Government of Costa Rica. Please reflect these options in the budget submitted. As always, submitted budgets are subject to negotiation and approval by the Grants Officer before finalizing any grant award.

II. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

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Length of performance period: 12 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: $150,000

Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2022 Public Diplomacy Funding

Cost share: Not required.

Anticipated program start date:  After March 30, 2022 but before January 1, 2023

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:

Funding authority rests in the Smith-Mundt Act. The source of funding is FY 2022 Public Diplomacy Funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that PD staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

In rare cases, depending on the nature of the program, a project of more than 12 months may be considered. Since federal assistance awards are contingent on the availability of funds from the U.S. Department of State, applicants are encouraged to submit proposals with flexible start dates.  PD will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

The Public Diplomacy Section will consider applications from the U.S. and Costa Rica.  Individuals and registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, and civil society/non-governmental organizations with relevant programming experience are encouraged to apply.  For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  Note: U.S. and Costa Rican NGOs and individuals may apply, but preference (through merit review) will be given to Costa Rican NGOs or partnerships that develop capacity with Costa Rican NGOs. Third country organizations and individuals are not eligible. 

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.

Other Eligibility Requirements:
All organizations are required to register for identification codes with DUNS, NCAGE, and SAM.  (Note: This requirement does NOT apply to individuals.) The codes are free of charge. To register:

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

A. 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=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75Fhttp://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

B. NCAGE application: 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.

*Important note: DUNS will be retired in April 2022. It will be replaced by UEI which will be assigned by sam.gov. UEIs are being given to organizations who register/renew this year.

III. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

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Instructions: Please follow all instructions below carefully. Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements may lead to the application’s disqualification for consideration. Applicants must set forth accurate and complete information as required by this Annual Program Statement.

Proposals will be accepted only as Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) or Microsoft Word files in English, Times New Roman 12 font, double-spaced with numbered pages. Please do not send links to documents for download. All budgets must be in U.S. dollars.

All application materials must be submitted in English. A complete application under this announcement MUST include: 

  • Summary Cover Sheet (maximum 1 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
  • Proposal (5 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information so 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 United States and Costa Rica 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? Applicants should indicate desired outputs and outcomes of the project.
  • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable
  • COVID Contingency Plan: A plan for how any in-person activities could be executed in a virtual or hybrid manner.  Alternatively, the applicant may also provide a plan for how virtual activities could be transitioned to an in-person format.
  • 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.  Please also indicate how the budget would shift to account for changes in activities as presented in your COVID contingency plan.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  • 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
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Mandatory application forms: Completed SF-424 Grant Application Forms. Please use the most up to date versions of required forms available for download at Grants.gov (https://www.grants.gov/)
  • Organizations/Institutions must include: Forms SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B (SF-424B not needed if the organization was registered or updated in SAM as of February 2, 2019
  • Individual applicants must include: Forms SF424i, SF-424A, and SF-424B
  • Evidence of required Registrations: Applications must include evidence of valid registrations for DUNS, NCAGE, and SAM.gov. Evidence could include copies of confirmation messages or a letter from the organization including the appropriate registration numbers with validity dates. All organizations applying for federal awards must obtain these registrations. These registrations are not required for individuals applying.  See registration instructions under eligibility requirements.

You must submit your application package via email to the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy in San Jose at the following email address: PAgrantapplications@state.gov

SUBMISSION DATES AND TIMES
The Public Diplomacy Section will accept proposals until July 15, 2022 and will review proposals according to the following schedule:  

  • Proposals received between February 1 and March 1 will be reviewed by March 15
  • Proposals received between March 1 and May 1 will be reviewed by May 15
  • Proposals received between May 1 and July 15 will be reviewed by July 30 

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

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Review Process

  1. Acknowledgement of receipt: Applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of their proposal.
  2. Technical Review: Applications will first be reviewed to ensure all required documents have been submitted, including (a) relevant SF-424 forms and (b) evidence of required DUNS, NCAGE, and SAM registrations for organizations.  Incomplete applications will not be further reviewed.  Applications that do not clearly address the Priority Program Areas stated will not be considered.
  3. U.S. Embassy Grants Committee Review: Complete applications that address the Priority Program Areas stated in this document will be evaluated by the U.S. Embassy Grants Committee based on the criteria below, which are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project and to determine the likelihood of its success.
  4. Follow up notification. Applicants will generally be notified within 30 days after the submission deadline regarding the results of the review panel.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PD 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.  A COVID contingency plan is provided.
  • Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and the 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 San Jose’s priority areas or target audiences.  The program includes an U.S. cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.
  • 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. A COVID contingency budget is provided.
  • Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide 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 a positive impact after the end of the program.

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 aFederalaward 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 aFederalawarding 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

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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 after 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.
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/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

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.

FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
Questions about the program can be addressed to PAgrantapplications@state.gov. No inquiries will be accepted by phone, social media, or any other method.

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

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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.

Tips for Successful Proposals:

  • Engage U.S. experts virtually or in-person when conditions allow;
  • Clearly define goals and outcomes, as well as specific, realistic plans for follow-up activities and amplification to a wider audience;
  • Include program components that enhance the U.S.-Costa Rican partnership by building relationships and networks;
  • Specify how the project benefits a wide group of people and how results will be amplified among the public through digital or other means;
  • Specify how the project may reach traditionally underserved populations;
  • Include a plan to recognize support from the U.S. Embassy in program materials and advertising.

Application Checklist (please submit in this order, including the title headings below):

Document Individual Applicant Organization Applicant
Summary Coverage Sheet X X
Proposal: Summary X X
Proposal: Introduction to the Organization or Individual Applying X X
Proposal: Problem Statement X X
Proposal: Goals and Objectives X X
Proposal: Activities X X
Proposal: Program Methods and Design X X
Proposal: Proposed Program Schedule X X
Proposal: Key Personnel X X
Proposal: Program Partners X X
Proposal: Monitoring and Evaluation Plan X X
Proposal: Future Funding or Sustainability X X
Proposal: COVID Contingency Plan X X
Budget Justification Narrative X X
SF-424i* X
SF-424* X
SF-424A* X X
SF-424B** X X**
Evidence of DUNS, NCAGE, and SAM.gov required registrations X
Submit completed application to PAgrantapplications@state.gov X X

*All required forms are available for download at Grants.gov.

**SF-424B not required for organizations who registered or renewed their SAM registration after February 2, 2019.