Notice of Funding Opportunity

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Embassy Prague, Public Affairs Section (PAS)

Call for Statements of Interest is now: OPEN

·         Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy Prague PAS Annual Program Statement

·         Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-001-FY2021

·         Deadline for Statements of Interest: June 30, 2021

·         Deadline for Complete Grant Applications: July 16, 2021

·         Assistance Listing Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

 INTRODUCTION

The U.S. Embassy Prague Public Affairs Section (PAS) funds projects that strengthen societal and cultural ties between the United States and the Czech Republic and support U.S. Embassy Strategic Goals.  Projects should specifically target Czech audiences living within the Czech Republic.  If you are an eligible organization or individual, we encourage you to apply for federal award (grant) funding – many of you will succeed!

We use a two-step process to receive an Embassy small grant.  To begin, (Step 1) submit a brief Statement of Interest (SOI) for a merit evaluation by the Embassy grants review committee any time between October 20, 2020 and June 30, 2021.  SOI are evaluated monthly, and if yours is selected for further review, you will be invited to (Step 2) submit a complete grant application.  The Embassy grants selection committee reviews complete applications for funding decisions three times a year (in January, April, and August).

This Annual Program Statement provides details on the Embassy’s grant selection process, including the Embassy’s Strategic Goals, elements that should be included in your SOI and eventual complete grant application, and how to submit these documents.  In addition, there is information on the Embassy grant committee evaluation process, reporting and grant monitoring requirements, and contact information for questions.

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

 Purpose:

The U.S. Embassy Prague Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations or individuals to submit Statements of Interest (SOI) to carry out projects in the Czech Republic.  Please follow all instructions below.

Program Objectives:

The goal of this funding opportunity is to solicit proposals from eligible individuals and organizations that advance key strategic goals to strengthen societal and cultural ties between the United States and the Czech Republic.  All Embassy-funded projects should include a clear American component, strive to highlight U.S.-Czech shared values, and promote bilateral cooperation.  This could, but need not, include direct collaboration with American subject matter expert/s, organization/s, and or institution/s.

Project proposals must also support at least one Embassy Strategic Goal:

·         Promote economic prosperity, entrepreneurship, and innovation during COVID.

·         Strengthen civil society.

·         Encourage philanthropy and community development.

·         Promote energy security, cyber security, and/or NATO security alliance.

·         Strengthen the rule of law, government accountability, and anti-corruption efforts.

·         Strengthen independent media, journalism, and/or counter disinformation.

·         Promote human rights, support marginalized groups, and foster a culture of integration.

·         Encourage greater gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The U.S. Embassy also encourages innovative proposals that promote American art and culture or support English language learning in the Czech Republic to help advance the above objectives.

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

·         Academic and professional lectures, seminars, and speaker programs

·         Youth leadership and skills development projects

·         Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions

·         Projects and outreach activities that highlight our shared democratic values

Participants and Audiences:

The U.S. Embassy seeks geographically and demographically diverse audiences within the Czech Republic and prioritize proposals with a significant programming component outside of Prague.  Projects focused on Ustecky Region and Moravskoslezsky Region are strongly encouraged.

Key Deadlines:

During the fiscal year 2021, SOI submissions are welcome until June 30, 2021.

Process

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

STEP #1: Submit SOI

October 20 – November 30, 2020

December 1. 2020 -February 28, 2021

March 1 – June 20, 2021

 

For organizations or individuals selected to submit a complete grant application, the following deadlines may apply:

Process

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

STEP #2: Deadline to Submit Complete Grant Applications

December 18, 2020

March 19, 2021

July 16, 2021

Funding Decisions
Announced (approximately)

January 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

 

 B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

 Length of performance period: up to 24 months (12 months is preferred)

Number of awards anticipated: 60 awarded grants (depending on funding)

Award amounts: grants may range from a minimum of $3,000.00 to a maximum of $20,000.00

Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2021 Smith Mundt Public Diplomacy Funding

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Project Performance Period: Proposed projects should be completed in 12 months or less (max 24 months).  In exceptional and justified cases PAS will consider extending the project performance period.

 

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION 

C1.  Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

·         Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a connection to the Czech Republic

·         Public and private educational institutions with a connection to the Czech Republic

·         Czech governmental institutions and international organizations

·         Individuals with a connection to the Czech Republic

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

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.

C2.  Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is not required, but welcome.

C3.  Other 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 D3 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 are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization per award round. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

 

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION 

D1.  Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at the embassy website https://cz.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/

D2.  Content and Form of Application Submission 

The submission of the Statement of Interest (SOI) is the first step in a two-step process.  Applicants must first submit a concise (2-page) SOI designed to clearly communicate program idea and objectives.  This is not a complete grant proposal.  The purpose of the SOI process is to allow applicants to submit program ideas for evaluation prior to requiring the development of a complete grant application.  Upon a merit review of eligible SOIs, selected applicants will be invited to expand on their program idea(s) by submitting a complete grant application, which will go through a second merit review before final funding decision are made.

 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.

 STEP #1: STATEMENT OF INTEREST (SOI)

The Statement of Interest Form is available at https://cz.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/

Content of SOI

Please ensure:

·         The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of the Embassy’s Small Grants Program and this funding announcement

·         All documents are in English

·         All budgets are in U.S. dollars

·         All Microsoft Word/PDF documents are formatted to A4 paper, preferably single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font

·         The proposal must not to exceed two (2) pages

·         Attachments to the Statement of Interest are discouraged

SOI proposal (TWO pages maximum): The SOI should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with the proposal would understand exactly what the applicant wants to accomplish and must include all items below.

·         Project Name, Legal Name and Status of Applicant: title of the proposed project, the legal name of the individual or organization applying, and the type of organization (either NGO, educational institution, Czech government institution, or individual)

·         Contact Name and Email Address: the name of the contact person and his/her email address for any follow-up questions

·         Project Summary Information: dates & locations of project, expected number of beneficiaries, total project budget, total U.S. Embassy funding requested and its percentage (%) of total project budget, and other partners/co-partners involved in the project

·         Problem Statement and Project Aim/Justification: Clear, concise statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed, with a statement of the overall aim of the project, including which Embassy strategic goal(s) the proposal supports.

·         Project Audience/Beneficiaries: Description of the target audience(s) or group(s) addressed or benefiting from the proposal.

·         Proposal Summary/Design & Methods/Goals & Objectives: Brief narrative that outlines the proposed project, including its objectives and anticipated impact, and how events/ activities achieve objectives. Note: Projects without a public outreach component, e.g., stand-alone reports/surveys, etc., are not appropriate for Embassy PAS small grant funding.

·         Proposed Activities/Schedule and Timeline: Describe activities and proposed timeline, including dates, times, and locations of planned events

·         Funding / Budget Justification Narrative: explanation of any large or unusual budget expenses for the proposed project and why they are necessary

NOTE: The following Step #2 documents are only required if the Embassy contacts you and requests them, applicants do not need to prepare them with their Step #1 SOI submission.

STEP #2: COMPLETE GRANT PROPOSAL APPLICATION

The following documents are required

1.    Mandatory Application Forms

·         SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals) at https://cz.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/

·         SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) at https://cz.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/

2.    Grant Request Form: This document summarizes the SF-424 application information and includes detailed questions about the proposal for further evaluation by the Embassy grants selection committee. The form is available at https://cz.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/

Content of Grant Request Form

Please ensure:

·         The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of the Embassy’s Small Grants Program and this funding announcement

·         All documents are in English

·         All budgets are in U.S. dollars

·         All Microsoft Word/PDF documents are formatted to A4 paper, preferably single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font

·         The proposal must not to exceed six (6) pages including the budget

·         All pages are numbered.

Grant Request Form (SIX pages maximum): The Grant Request Form should contain all of the Statement of Interest information as well as additional background to help the Embassy grants selection committee evaluate the proposal for potential funding.  Attachments to the Grant Request Form are not required.   Your proposal, as described in the Grant Request Form, must include all items below:

·         Previous USG Funding: Information about your organization’s previous projects funded by the U.S. Embassy in the past five years

·         Problem Statement and Project Aim/Justification: Clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed. The overall aim of the project and how it supports the Embassy’s priority themes and initiatives

·         Project Audience/Beneficiaries: Description of the target audience(s) or group(s) addressed or benefiting from the proposal

·         Project Proposal Summary: Brief narrative that outlines the proposed project, including its objectives and anticipated impact

·         Project Methods and Design: How the project is expected to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.

·         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 activities and how they will help to achieve the objectives.

·         Proposed Project Schedule and Timeline: Proposed timeline for the project activities. Include dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.

·         Project Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.

·         Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the projects be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant? This is an important part of successful grants!

·         Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the projects beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.

·         Introduction of the organization or individual applying: A description of past and present operations, demonstrating ability to carry out the project.

·         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?

3.    Budget Template and Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use the Budget Template to account for project budget expenses and cost sharing, and use the Budget Justification field on the Grant Request Form to describe in detail budget expenses based on the following Guidelines for Budget Submissions.

·         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 they spent on it.

·         Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for project 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. Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the project activities.

·         Other Direct Costs: 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 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.

D3.  Required Registrations
All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these following registrations to be eligible to receive Embassy funding.  All are free of charge:

·         Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)

·         NCAGE/CAGE code

·         SAM.gov registration

FIRST: 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 outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

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

Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

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

D4.  Submission Dates and Times

STEP#1 – All SOI proposals must be submitted electronically to grantsprague@state.gov any time between October 20, 2020 and June 30, 2021 (midnight, local time in Prague).  SOI proposals received after the June 30, 2021 deadline will not be considered in fiscal year 2021.  Each applicant will receive a confirmation email acknowledging receipt within two business days.  If applicants do not receive a confirmation email, then their SOI proposal was not received.  In this case, applicants are invited to contact the Office of Public Affairs at grantsprague@state.gov or call +420 257 022 002

Process

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

STEP #1: Submit SOI

October 20 – November 30, 2020

December 1. 2020 -February 28, 2021

March 1 – June 20, 2021

 

SOI are evaluated monthly by the Embassy grants review committee.  If yours is selected for further review, you will be invited to STEP#2 – submit a complete grant application due midnight, local time in Prague on either December 18, 2020, March 19, or July 16, 2021.

Process

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

STEP #2: Deadline to Submit Complete Grant Applications

December 18, 2020

March 19, 2021

July 16, 2021

Funding Decisions
Announced (approximately)

January 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

 

STEP# 2 – Complete grant applications (SF-424, SF-424A, and Grant Request Form) must be submitted electronically to grantsprague@state.gov.  If applicants do not receive a confirmation email of receipt within two business days, they should follow-up with the Office of Public Affairs at grantsprague@state.gov  or call +420 257 022 002

D5.  Funding Restrictions

The following types of projects are not eligible for funding:

·         Projects relating to partisan political activity

·         Charitable or development activities without an Embassy strategic goal priority

·         Construction projects

·         Fund-raising campaigns

Please note that Embassy awards CANNOT be used to fund religious or partisan political activities; trade activities; fundraising campaigns; charitable activities; humanitarian aid; commercial projects; scientific research; or projects whose primary aim is the institutional development and standard operation of the applicant.  Also, award funds cannot be used to finance investment costs, e.g. vehicle purchases, and construction.

 

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

E1.  Criteria

Each proposal selected for funding will be evaluated according to the criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Project Idea: The project idea supports at least one of the Embassy’s strategic goals, and is well developed, detailing how project activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.  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.

Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and project approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results with the target audience(s), and includes public outreach components/activities.

Monitoring & Evaluation Plan and Sustainability: Applicant demonstrates it can measure project 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.  Project activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.

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.

E2.  Review and Selection Process

A review committee comprised of U.S. Embassy Prague staff and partners will evaluate all SOI forms submitted monthly.  An SOI that does not comply with the requirements of this announcement will be ineligible for further consideration.  SOI proposals that closely meet U.S. Embassy Strategic Goals, incorporate an American component, and are recommended for further review, must submit additional required documents (complete grant application) described above in Step #2 of this announcement.

A selection committee comprised of U.S. Embassy Prague staff will evaluate all complete grant applications which include the SF-424 (or SF-424I, if an individual), SF-424A (budget) and Grant Request Form on a quarterly basis.  When deciding which projects to support, the Embassy will consider the full range and diversity of Czech organizations and will seek to target geographically and demographically diverse audiences in the Czech Republic.  Proposals linked to U.S. Embassy Strategic Goals and involving an American speaker, artist, performer, author, etc., are given preference.

E3.  Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

Embassy Selection committee results will be announced via email quarterly around January 15, April 15, and August 15, 2021.  Organizations or individuals whose complete grant applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.

 

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

 F1.  Federal Award Notices
The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the U.S. Embassy 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 U.S. Embassy Prague 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 U.S. Embassy Prague.

Issuance of this Notice of Funding Opportunity 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.

Payments Method:  Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the project activities (generally 80% advance; 20% reimbursement).

F2.  Administrative and National Policy Requirements
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 25 – UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER AND SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT

·         2 CFR 175 – AWARD TERM FOR TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

·         2 CFR 200 – UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS

·         2 CFR 600 – DEPARTMENT OF STATE REQUIREMENTS

·         S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please note that you are required to follow the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in Section N of the U.S. Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions.

F3.  Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  As a condition of Embassy funding, the U.S. Embassy Grants Officer, or a Grants Officer Representative (GOR) will propose an appropriate grant monitoring plan to observe the funded activity, event, or project contemplated in the proposal.  In addition, all Embassy grant recipients are required to submit financial reports and project reports within 90 calendar days of the end of the period of performance delineated in the award.  We highly recommend using U.S. Embassy Prague’s FINAL REPORT template as a project report.

Award recipients should retain financial records, supporting documents, and all other records pertinent to an award for three years from the date of submission of the Final Report.

Applicants should be aware of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR 200 Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Failure to comply with the reporting requirements may jeopardize eligibility for future awards or will result in suspension of any future payments under this award until such time as this deficiency has been corrected.

Foreign Assistance Data Review: As required by Congress, the Department of State must make progress in its efforts to improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR). The FADR requires tracking of foreign assistance activity data from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement.  Successful applicants will be required to report and draw down federal funding based on the appropriate FADR Data Elements, indicated within their award documentation.  In cases of more than one FADR Data Element, typically program or sector and/or regions or country, the successful applicant will be required to maintain separate accounting records. For more information visit https://www.state.gov/resources-and-reports-office-of-foreign-assistance/

 

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

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