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Office of Refugee Resettlement; Discretionary Funds for Refugee Microenterprise Development Projects

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

Announcement Type: Initial.

Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2005-ACF-ORR-RG-0094.

CFDA Number: 93.576.

Due Date for Applications: Application is due July 5, 2005.

Executive Summary: The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has supported the field of microenterprise development since 1991 with discretionary grants to various State governments, community economic development agencies, community action and other human service agencies, local mutual assistance associations, and voluntary agencies. Organizations with successful programs have typically been those with a long-term commitment to microenterprise, particularly access to lending, and to its adaptation to the refugee experience. They have committed agency resources to support refugee programs; and their work in refugee microenterprise development has been consistent with the overall agency mission.

A public or private non-profit agency interested in receiving funding under this announcement must have the organizational capacity to work with refugees who have low incomes, limited English-language proficiency, and neither assets nor American business experience. Many newly arrived refugees do not qualify for commercial loans or for admission into mainstream microenterprise development programs for these reasons. Organizations that cannot support in-house lending and essential loan-servicing responsibilities may experience difficulties in implementing a microenterprise project.

Refugees bring positive attributes to microenterprise development projects, including a diverse and rich array of business ideas, skills, experiences, and ambitions. These characteristics have been largely responsible for the success of the ORR program. During the last 14 years, refugees have started or expanded more than 1,800 micro-businesses (with a business survival rate of over 88 percent). ORR grantees have provided over $4 million in financing to these entrepreneurs and clients have used these loans to leverage an additional $4,500,000 in loans from other sources. The loan repayment rate is close to 100 percent. Additionally, 2,666 new jobs have been created. Over 10,500 refugees have gained new entrepreneurial skills and knowledge; and the additional business income is helping refugee families to achieve economic self-sufficiency. By commonly accepted measures of performance (business survival rates, loan default rates, etc.), the ORR-funded programs have excelled and frequently led the field in achievement.

Building on the experience of the last 14 years, ORR seeks in this announcement to continue support to this field, particularly on behalf of those refugees who, because of language and cultural barriers, are unlikely to gain access to commercial loans or business training through other programs. To be successful in this competition, refugee-serving organizations must demonstrate their organization's capacity to provide the technical expertise necessary to help refugees start, expand, or strengthen businesses, and to provide access to credit. Economic development agencies must show how they will modify their existing programs to serve refugees effectively.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for microenterprise development projects for refugees.[1] Applications will be accepted pursuant to the Director's discretionary authority under section 412(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1522(c)), as amended. Applications will be screened and evaluated as indicated in this program announcement. Awards will be contingent on the outcome of the competition and the availability of funds.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Legislative Authority: Section 412(c)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)(8 U.S.C. 1522(c)(1)(A)) authorizes the Director “to make grants to, and enter into contracts with, public or private nonprofit agencies for projects specifically designed—(i) to assist refugees in obtaining the skills that are necessary for economic self-sufficiency, including projects for job training, employment services, day care, professional refresher training, and other recertification services; (ii) to provide training in English where necessary (regardless of whether the refugees are employed or receiving cash or other assistance); and (iii) to provide where specific needs have been shown and recognized by the Director, health (including mental health) services, social services, educational and other services”. In addition, section 412(a)(4)(A)(i) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1522(a)(4)(A)(i)) authorizes the Director to make loans for the purpose of carrying out this section.

Discretionary Funds for Refugee Microenterprise Development Projects

1. Description

Purpose and Scope: The purpose of microenterprise development is to assist refugees in becoming economically self-sufficient and to help refugee communities in developing employment and capital resources.

To achieve this purpose, applicants for microenterprise development projects may request funds for business technical assistance, short-term training, credit in the form of microloans, a revolving microloan fund or loan loss reserve fund, and post-loan technical assistance. Funds may also be requested to cover administrative costs associated Start Printed Page 23217with managing a microenterprise project.

Projects should be designed in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the refugee population, including interest in diverse microbusinesses and English-language proficiency. Project designs should also take into account such economic factors as employment rates, welfare status, and length of time in the U.S. Applicants should also be familiar with the capital needs and capital market gaps for refugee entrepreneurs and should demonstrate how refugees will gain access to business credit.

Successful applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the economic opportunities in the community for refugees and should have established working partnerships with the communities' refugee resettlement services network, with existing microenterprise development organizations (where they are present), and with financial institutions.

Client Eligibility: Eligible clients are refugees who aspire to establish, expand, or stabilize a microenterprise but who lack the financial resources, credit history, or personal assets to qualify for business loans or assistance through commercial institutions. Refugees who are not yet citizens may participate regardless of their date of arrival in the U.S. However, refugees who arrived in the U.S. within the last five years have priority for services. Grantees will be responsible for documenting refugee client eligibility.

Allowable Activities: Project components may include one-on-one business consultation and training, training in classroom settings, access to business credit, revolving loan funds, loan-loss reserve funds, and technical assistance to refugee businesses. ORR funds may also be used for the administrative costs associated with managing a revolving loan fund.

Training and Technical Assistance

Training and other services should be individualized and flexible. While not all clients need extensive training or comprehensive technical assistance, proposals should address how the grant award will be allocated based on client need. Applications should indicate how technical assistance will be provided to address the complexity of the business plan, the level of risk entailed by the business, and the experiential background of the client.

If structured training is offered, it is generally recommended that the training be relatively short-term. The goal of training should be the completion of the business plan. Training should also stress marketing and cash-flow projections.

Loans

Microloans consist of small amounts of credit that are less than $15,000 and are extended to low-income entrepreneurs for start-ups of microenterprises or for the expansion or stabilization of existing microenterprises. ORR funds may be used for microloans to individual refugee entrepreneurs in sums not to exceed $15,000 (of ORR monies). These funds may be disbursed through individual loans or a revolving loan fund. Grantees with loan funds will be responsible for establishing written lending policies and procedures and for collecting and servicing loan repayments.

ORR supports the use of commercial lending institutions for refugee borrowers to leverage the limited amount of ORR funds available for this purpose and to provide borrowers with the opportunity to establish creditworthy histories with traditional lenders. Applicants may elect to establish cooperative relationships with one or more of the community's financial institutions to obtain access to commercial loan funds. Alternatively, grantees may establish a loan-loss reserve fund with a financial institution, but should ensure that the agreement with the financial institution is beneficial to the grantee and the refugee clients; this should be monitored particularly in reference to the amount of additional funds leveraged using ORR monies and the way in which loans will be approved. In this case, ORR funds may be used for microloans to individual refugee entrepreneurs in sums not to exceed $15,000 of ORR monies in the reserve, but the total loan may be larger if necessary.

ORR does not encourage the use of below-market rates of interest for the loan funds. Conversely, grantees may not charge refugees interest rates that exceed four percentage points above the New York prime lending rate at the time of loan approval. Unless the terms and interest rate are identical, ORR loan funds cannot be combined with other sources.

Microloans will have a maximum maturity of three years. The applicant must demonstrate how they will ensure that loans are closed out by the end of the project period. If the term of the loan will exceed the time of the grant, grantees may also propose how they will continue to administer the loan repayment and any necessary technical assistance after the end of the project period. Loans may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, tools, equipment, building renovation, and/or leasehold improvements.

Microloan funds may not be used for the following types of businesses:

  • As venture capital for established businesses that are attempting major expansion;
  • For enterprises engaged in gambling or speculation;
  • For any illegal activity or production or for the service or distribution of illegal products;
  • For purposes not related to microenterprise development; e.g., for the purchase of a personal-use automobile.

Additionally, ORR strongly urges that if a refugee client proposes opening an import/export business or a franchise business, the businesses be thoroughly investigated and documented to ensure legality and fairness to the refugee.

Treatment of Program Income: Projects with revolving loan funds may earn and retain program income in the form of interest (on individual loans or from loan-loss reserves). Specifically, program income funds may be retained by the project to expand the pool of credit in accordance with 45 CFR 74.24 (b)(1), (b)(2) and (e) for non-profit organizations and 45 CFR 92.25 (g)(2) for governmental entities. Similarly, repaid loan principal is to be treated as program income and placed in the revolving loan fund or loan-loss reserve fund for re-lending. Program income may be retained by the grantee so long as the use of these funds furthers the objectives of the grant and is consistent with the Federal statute under which the grant was made (45 CFR 74.24(e)).

Any fees or charges imposed on refugee clients by the grantee or its subcontractors or affiliates (e.g., loan processing or training fees) must be disclosed in the application and preapproved by ORR. Program income must be reported on the Financial Status Report (SF 269) semiannually during the project period.

Successful grantees will be expected to coordinate their policies and procedures for developing and administering refugee microenterprise development projects with the existing refugee microenterprise services network. To ensure an exchange of technical and training information among programs, all grantees are encouraged to attend two ORR training meetings during each year of their participation in this program area. Grant funds may be used to offset the cost of attendance.Start Printed Page 23218

II. Award Information

Funding Instrument Type: Grant.

Anticipated Total Priority Area Funding: $1,200,000.

Anticipated Number of Awards: 4 to 12.

Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards Per Budget Period: $500,000.

Average Projected Award Amount Per Budget Period: $200,000.

Length of Project Periods: 48-month project with four 12-month budget Periods.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

State governments;

County governments; City or township governments; State-controlled institutions of higher education; Non-profits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; Non-profits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher Education; and Private institutions of higher education.

Additional Information on Eligibility

Only public and private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Faith-based organizations are eligible to apply.

To be successful in this competition, refugee-serving organizations must demonstrate their organization's capacity to provide the technical expertise necessary to help refugees start, expand, or strengthen businesses, and to provide access to credit. Economic development agencies must show how they will modify their existing programs to serve refugees effectively.

2. Cost Sharing/Matching

None.

3. Other

All applicants must have a Dun & Bradstreet number. On June 27, 2003 the Office of Management and Budget published in the Federal Register a new Federal policy applicable to all Federal grant applicants. The policy requires Federal grant applicants to provide a Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements on or after October 1, 2003. The DUNS number will be required whether an applicant is submitting a paper application or using the government-wide electronic portal (www.Grants.gov). A DUNS number will be required for every application for a new award or renewal/continuation of an award, including applications or plans under formula, entitlement and block grant programs, submitted on or after October 1, 2003.

Please ensure that your organization has a DUNS number. You may acquire a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line on 1-866-705-5711 or you may request a number online at http://www.dnb.com.

Non-profit organizations applying for funding are required to submit proof of their non-profit status. Proof of non-profit status is any one of the following:

  • A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS code.
  • A copy of a currently valid IRS tax-exemption certificate.
  • A statement from a State taxing body, State attorney general, or other appropriate State official certifying that the applicant organization has a non-profit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals.
  • A certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes non-profit status.
  • Any of the items in the subparagraphs immediately above for a State or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization is a local non-profit affiliate.

When applying electronically we strongly suggest that you attach your proof of non-profit status with your electronic application.

Private, non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit with their applications the survey located under “Grant Related Documents and Forms,” “Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant Applicants,” titled, “Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants,” at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

Disqualification Factors

Applications that exceed the ceiling amount will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding under this announcement.

Any application that fails to satisfy the deadline requirements referenced in Section IV.3 will be considered nonresponsive and will not be considered for funding under this announcement.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package

Sylvia Johnson, Grants Management Officer, Office of Grants Management, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 4th Floor West, Washington, DC 20447. Phone: 202-401-5513. E-mail: ACFOGME-Grants@acf.hhs.gov. URL: www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​orr.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applicants that are submitting their application in paper format should submit an original and two copies of the complete application. An original and two copies of the complete application are required. The original and each of the two copies must include all required forms, certifications, assurances, and appendices, be signed by an authorized representative, have original signatures, and be submitted unbound.

ACF is particularly interested in specific factual information and statements of measurable goals in quantitative terms. Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance, not length. Extensive exhibits are not required. Cross-referencing should be used rather than repetition. Supporting information concerning activities that will not be directly funded by the grant or information that does not directly pertain to an integral part of the grant-funded activity should be placed in an appendix. A table of contents and an executive summary should be included. The application narrative should be in a 12-pitch font with a 25 page narrative limit (up to an additional 20 pages of attachments are allowable, not including letters of support, table of contents, executive summary, or standard forms and certifications). Reviewers may disregard narrative over the page limit. Each page should be numbered sequentially, including any attachments or appendices. Please do not staple or in any way bind the application other than with a rubber band or a clip. Please do not include books or videotapes as they are not easily reproduced and are, therefore, inaccessible to reviewers.

You may submit your application to us in either electronic or paper format. To submit an application electronically, please use the http://www.Grants.gov/​Apply site. If you use Grants.gov, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it off-line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site. ACF Start Printed Page 23219will not accept grant applications via e-mail or facsimile transmission.

Please note the following if you plan to submit your application electronically via Grants.gov:

  • Electronic submission is voluntary, but strongly encouraged.
  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov.
  • We recommend that you visit Grants.gov at least 30 days prior to filing your application to fully understand the process and requirements. We encourage applicants who submit electronically to submit well before the closing date and time so that if difficulties are encountered an applicant can still send in a hard copy overnight. If you encounter difficulties, please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at 1-800-518-4276 to report the problem and obtain assistance with the system.
  • To use Grants.gov, you, as the applicant, must have a DUNS Number and register in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). You should allow a minimum of five days to complete the CCR registration.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit a grant application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit an application in paper format.
  • You may submit all documents electronically, including all information typically included on the SF 424 and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Your application must comply with any page-limitation requirements described in this program announcement.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. The Administration for Children and Families will retrieve your application from Grants.gov.
  • We may request that you provide original signatures on forms at a later date.
  • You may access the electronic application for this program on http://www.Grants.gov
  • You must search for the downloadable application package by the CFDA number.

Private, non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit with their applications the survey located under “Grant Related Documents and Forms,” “Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant Applicants,” titled, “Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants,” at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

Standard Forms and Certifications: The project description should include all the information requirements described in the specific evaluation criteria outlined in the program announcement under Section V Application Review Information. In addition to the project description, the applicant needs to complete all the standard forms required for making applications for awards under this announcement.

Applicants seeking financial assistance under this announcement must file the Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance; SF 424A, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs; SF 424B, Assurances—Non-Construction Programs. The forms may be reproduced for use in submitting applications. Applicants must sign and return the standard forms with their application.

Applicants must furnish prior to award an executed copy of the Standard Form LLL, Certification Regarding Lobbying, when applying for an award in excess of $100,000. Applicants who have used non-Federal funds for lobbying activities in connection with receiving assistance under this announcement shall complete a disclosure form, if applicable, with their applications (approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0348-0046). Applicants must sign and return the certification with their application.

Applicants must also understand they will be held accountable for the smoking prohibition included within Pub. L. 103-227, Title XII Environmental Tobacco Smoke (also known as the PRO-KIDS Act of 1994). A copy of the Federal Register notice, which implements the smoking prohibition, is included with forms. By signing and submitting the application, applicants are providing the certification and need not mail back the certification with the application.

Applicants must make the appropriate certification of their compliance with all Federal statutes relating to non-discrimination. By signing and submitting the applications, applicants are providing the certification and need not mail back the certification form. Complete the standard forms and the associated certifications and assurances based on the instructions on the forms. The forms and certifications may be found at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

For those organizations required to provide proof of non-profit status, please refer to Section III.3.

Please see Section V.1, for instructions on preparing the full project description.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Due Dates for Applications: July 5, 2005.

Explanation of Due Dates for Applications

The closing date for submission of applications is referenced above. Mailed applications postmarked after the closing date will be classified as late.

Deadline: Mailed applications shall be considered as meeting an announced deadline if they are either received on or before the deadline date or sent on or before the deadline date and received by ACF in time for the independent review referenced in Section IV.6. Applicants are responsible for ensuring applications are mailed or submitted electronically well in advance of the application due date.

Applicants must ensure that a legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark or a legibly dated, machine-produced postmark of a commercial mail service is affixed to the envelope/package containing the application(s). To be acceptable as proof of timely mailing, a postmark from a commercial mail service must include the logo/emblem of the commercial mail service company and must reflect the date the package was received by the commercial mail service company from the applicant. Private metered postmarks shall not be acceptable as proof of timely mailing. (Applicants are cautioned that express/overnight mail services do not always deliver as agreed.)

Applications hand-carried by applicants, applicant couriers, or by other representatives of the applicant shall be considered as meeting an announced deadline if they are received on or before the deadline date, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., eastern time at the address referenced in Section IV.6., between Monday and Friday (excluding Federal holidays).

ACF cannot accommodate transmission of applications by fax. Therefore, applications transmitted to ACF by fax will not be accepted regardless of date or time of submission and time of receipt.

Receipt acknowledgement for application packages will not be provided to applicants who submit their package via mail, courier services, or by hand delivery. However, applicants will receive an electronic acknowledgement Start Printed Page 23220for applications that are submitted via http://www.Grants.gov.

Late applications: Applications that do not meet the criteria above are considered late applications. ACF shall notify each late applicant that its application will not be considered in the current competition.

Extension of deadlines: ACF may extend application deadlines when circumstances such as acts of God (floods, hurricanes, etc.) occur, or when there are widespread disruptions of mail service, or in other rare cases. Determination to extend or waive deadline requirements rests with the Chief Grants Management Officer.

Checklist

You may use the checklist below as a guide when preparing your application package.

What to submitRequired contentRequired form or formatWhen to submit
Project AbstractSee Sections IV.2 and VFound in Sections IV.2 and VBy application due date.
Project DescriptionSee Sections IV.2 and VFound in Sections IV.2 and VBy application due date.
Budget Narrative/JustificationSee Sections IV.2 and VFound in Sections IV.2 and VBy application due date.
SF 424See Section IV.2See http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htmBy application due date.
SF LLL Certification Regarding LobbyingSee Section IV.2See http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htmBy application due date.
Certification Regarding Environmental Tobacco SmokeSee Section IV.2See http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htmBy application due date.
AssurancesSee Section IV.2By date of award.

Additional Forms: Private, non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit with their applications the survey located under “Grant Related Documents and Forms,” “Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant Applicants,” titled, “Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants,” at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

What to submitRequired contentLocationWhen to submit
Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant ApplicantsSee formFound in http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htmBy application due date.

4. Intergovernmental Review

State Single Point of Contact (SPOC)

This program is covered under Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” and 45 CFR Part 100, “Intergovernmental Review of Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities.” Under the Order, States may design their own processes for reviewing and commenting on proposed Federal assistance under covered programs.

As of October 1, 2004, the following jurisdictions have elected to participate in the Executive Order process: Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. As these jurisdictions have elected to participate in the Executive Order process, they have established SPOCs. Applicants from participating jurisdictions should contact their SPOC, as soon as possible, to alert them of prospective applications and receive instructions. Applicants must submit all required materials, if any, to the SPOC and indicate the date of this submittal (or the date of contact if no submittal is required) on the Standard Form 424, item 16a. Under 45 CFR 100.8(a)(2).

A SPOC has 60 days from the application deadline to comment on proposed new or competing continuation awards. SPOCs are encouraged to eliminate the submission of routine endorsements as official recommendations. Additionally, SPOCs are requested to clearly differentiate between mere advisory comments and those official State process recommendations which may trigger the “accommodate or explain” rule.

When comments are submitted directly to ACF, they should be addressed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Grants Management, Division of Discretionary Grants, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 4th floor, Washington, DC 20447.

When comments are submitted directly to ACF, they should be addressed to: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Division of Discretionary Grants, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW., Washington, DC 20447.

Although the remaining jurisdictions have chosen not to participate in the process, entities that meet the eligibility requirements of the program are still eligible to apply for a grant even if a State, Territory, Commonwealth, etc. does not have a SPOC. Therefore, applicants from these jurisdictions, or for projects administered by federally-recognized Indian Tribes, need take no action in regard to E.O. 12372.

The official list, including addresses, of the jurisdictions that have elected to participate in E.O. 12372 can be found on the following URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants/​spoc.html.

A list of Single Points of Contact for each State and Territory is included with the application materials for this announcement.

5. Funding Restrictions

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Submission by Mail: An applicant must provide an original application with all attachments, signed by an authorized representative and two copies. Please see Section IV.3 for an explanation of due dates. Applications should be mailed to: Sylvia Johnson, Grants Management Officer, Office of Start Printed Page 23221Grants Management, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 4th Floor West, Washington, DC 20447.

Hand Delivery: An applicant must provide an original application with all attachments signed by an authorized representative and two copies. The application must be received at the address below by 4:30 p.m. eastern time on or before the closing date. Applications that are hand delivered will be accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday. Applications should be delivered to: Sylvia Johnson, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Grants Management, ACF Mailroom, Second Floor (near loading dock), Aerospace Center, 901 D Street, SW., Washington, DC 20024.

Electronic Submission: http://www.Grants.gov. Please see Section IV.2 for guidelines and requirements when submitting applications electronically.

V. Application Review Information

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13)

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 25 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed and reviewing the collection information.

The project description is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139 which expires 4/30/2007.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

1. Criteria

The following are instructions and guidelines on how to prepare the “project summary/abstract” and “full project description” sections of the application. Under the evaluation criteria section, note that each criterion is preceded by the generic evaluation requirement under the ACF Uniform Project Description (UPD).

Part I—The Project Description Overview

Purpose

The project description provides a major means by which an application is evaluated and ranked to compete with other applications for available assistance. The project description should be concise and complete and should address the activity for which Federal funds are being requested. Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly. In preparing your project description, information responsive to each of the requested evaluation criteria must be provided. Awarding offices use this and other information in making their funding recommendations. It is important, therefore, that this information be included in the application in a manner that is clear and complete.

General Instructions

ACF is particularly interested in specific project descriptions that focus on outcomes and convey strategies for achieving intended performance. Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance and measurable outcomes, not length. Extensive exhibits are not required. Cross-referencing should be used rather than repetition. Supporting information concerning activities that will not be directly funded by the grant or information that does not directly pertain to an integral part of the grant funded activity should be placed in an appendix. Pages should be numbered and a table of contents should be included for easy reference.

Introduction

Applicants required to submit a full project description shall prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria. The text options give a broad overview of what your project description should include while the evaluation criteria identifies the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the project description (a page or less) with reference to the funding request.

Objectives and Need for Assistance

Clearly identify the physical, economic, social, financial, institutional, and/or other problem(s) requiring a solution. The need for assistance must be demonstrated and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly stated; supporting documentation, such as letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included. Any relevant data based on planning studies should be included or referred to in the endnotes/footnotes. Incorporate demographic data and participant/beneficiary information, as needed. In developing the project description, the applicant may volunteer or be requested to provide information on the total range of projects currently being conducted and supported (or to be initiated), some of which may be outside the scope of the program announcement.

Results or Benefits Expected

Identify the results and benefits to be derived. ORR is particularly interested in the number and type of businesses established, expanded, or stabilized; the employment generated by the businesses; the number and size of loans provided to refugees; the amount of additional funds leveraged by the ORR funds for microenterprise loans, and the impact of the businesses assisted on the refugees' movement toward self-sufficiency.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished. Account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Cite factors that might accelerate or decelerate the work and state your reason for taking the proposed approach rather than others. Describe any unusual features of the project such as design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and community involvement.

Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments to be achieved for each function or activity in such terms as the number of people to be served and the number of activities accomplished.

Evaluation

Provide a narrative addressing how the conduct of the project and the results of the project will be evaluated. In addressing the evaluation of results, state how you will determine the extent to which the project has achieved its stated objectives and the extent to which the accomplishment of objectives can be attributed to the project. Discuss the criteria to be used to evaluate results, and explain the methodology that will be used to determine if the needs identified and discussed are being met and if the project results and benefits are being achieved. With respect to the conduct of the project, define the procedures to be employed to determine whether the project is being conducted in a manner consistent with the work plan presented and discuss the impact of the project's various activities on the project's effectiveness. Start Printed Page 23222

Geographic Location

Describe the precise location of the project and boundaries of the area to be served by the proposed project. Maps or other graphic aids may be attached.

Additional Information

Following are requests for additional information that need to be included in the application:

Staff and Position Data

Provide a biographical sketch and job description for each key person appointed. Job descriptions for each vacant key position should be included as well. As new key staff is appointed, biographical sketches will also be required.

Organizational Profiles

Provide information on the applicant organization(s) and cooperating partners, such as organizational charts, financial statements, audit reports or statements from CPAs/Licensed Public Accountants, Employer Identification Numbers, names of bond carriers, contact persons and telephone numbers, child care licenses and other documentation of professional accreditation, information on compliance with Federal/State/local government standards, documentation of experience in the program area, and other pertinent information. If the applicant is a non-profit organization, submit proof of non-profit status in its application.

The non-profit agency can accomplish this by providing: (a) A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS Code; (b) a copy of a currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate, (c) a statement from a State taxing body, State attorney general, or other appropriate State official certifying that the applicant organization has a non-profit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals; (d) a certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes non-profit status, (e) any of the items immediately above for a State or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization is a local non-profit affiliate.

Third-Party Agreements

Provide written and signed agreements between grantees and subgrantees or subcontractors or other cooperating entities. These agreements must detail scope of work to be performed, work schedules, remuneration, and other terms and conditions that structure or define the relationship.

Letters of Support

Provide statements from community, public and commercial leaders that support the project proposed for funding. All submissions should be included in the application OR by application deadline.

Budget and Budget Justification

Provide a budget with line item detail and detailed calculations for each budget object class identified on the Budget Information form. Detailed calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. Also include a breakout by the funding sources identified in Block 15 of the SF-424.

Provide a narrative budget justification that describes how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocability of the proposed costs.

General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification. Both Federal and non-Federal resources shall be detailed and justified in the budget and narrative justification. “Federal resources” refers only to the ACF grant for which you are applying. “Non-Federal resources” are all other Federal and non-Federal resources. It is suggested that budget amounts and computations be presented in a columnar format: First column, object class categories; second column, Federal budget; next column(s), non-Federal budget(s), and last column, total budget. The budget justification should be a narrative.

Personnel

Description: Costs of employee salaries and wages.

Justification: Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known. For each staff person, provide the title, time commitment to the project (in months), time commitment to the project (as a percentage or full-time equivalent), annual salary, grant salary, wage rates, etc. Do not include the costs of consultants or personnel costs of delegate agencies or of specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Fringe Benefits

Description: Costs of employee fringe benefits unless treated as part of an approved indirect cost rate.

Justification: Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs such as health insurance, FICA, retirement insurance, taxes, etc.

Travel

Description: Costs of project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization (does not include costs of consultant travel).

Justification: For each trip, show the total number of traveler(s), travel destination, duration of trip, per diem, mileage allowances, if privately owned vehicles will be used, and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances. Travel costs for key staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops should be detailed in the budget.

Equipment

Description: “Equipment” means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of (a) the capitalization level established by the organization for the financial statement purposes, or (b) $5,000. (Note: Acquisition cost means the net invoice unit price of an item of equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, and installation shall be included in or excluded from acquisition cost in accordance with the organization's regular written accounting practices.)

Justification: For each type of equipment requested, provide a description of the equipment, the cost per unit, the number of units, the total cost, and a plan for use on the project, as well as use or disposal of the equipment after the project ends. An applicant organization that uses its own definition for equipment should provide a copy of its policy or section of its policy which includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description: Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category.

Justification: Specify general categories of supplies and their costs. Show computations and provide other information which supports the amount requested. Start Printed Page 23223

Contractual

Description: Costs of all contracts for services and goods except for those that belong under other categories such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc. Include third party evaluation contracts (if applicable) and contracts with secondary recipient organizations, including delegate agencies and specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Justification: Demonstrate that all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients, other than States that are required to use Part 92 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceed the simplified acquisition threshold fixed at 41 U.S.C. 403(11) (currently set at $100,000).

Recipients might be required to make available to ACF pre-award review and procurement documents, such as request for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc.

Note:

Whenever the applicant intends to delegate part of the project to another agency, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and budget narrative for each delegate agency, by agency title, along with the required supporting information referred to in these instructions.

Other

Enter the total of all other costs. Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to insurance, food, medical and dental costs (noncontractual), professional services costs, space and equipment rentals, printing and publication, computer use, training costs, such as tuition and stipends, staff development costs, and administrative costs.

Justification: Provide computations, a narrative description and a justification for each cost under this category.

Indirect Charges

Description: Total amount of indirect costs. This category should be used only when the applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant Federal agency.

Justification: An applicant that will charge indirect costs to the grant must enclose a copy of the current rate agreement. If the applicant organization is in the process of initially developing or renegotiating a rate, upon notification that an award will be made, it should immediately develop a tentative indirect cost rate proposal based on its most recently completed fiscal year, in accordance with the cognizant agency's guidelines for establishing indirect cost rates, and submit it to the cognizant agency. Applicants awaiting approval of their indirect cost proposals may also request indirect costs. When an indirect cost rate is requested, those costs included in the indirect cost pool should not also be charged as direct costs to the grant. Also, if the applicant is requesting a rate which is less than what is allowed under the program, the authorized representative of the applicant organization must submit a signed acknowledgement that the applicant is accepting a lower rate than allowed.

Program Income

Description: The estimated amount of income, if any, expected to be generated from this project.

Justification: Describe the nature, source and anticipated use of program income in the budget or refer to the pages in the application which contain this information.

Evaluation Criteria

The following evaluation criteria appear in weighted descending order. The corresponding score values indicate the relative importance that ACF places on each evaluation criterion; however, applicants need not develop their applications precisely according to the order presented. Application components may be organized such that a reviewer will be able to follow a seamless and logical flow of information (i.e., from a broad overview of the project to more detailed information about how it will be conducted).

In considering how applicants will carry out the responsibilities addressed under this announcement, competing applications for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated against the following criteria:

Approach (25 Points)

Adequacy and appropriateness of the program approach or design, including project goals and structure (policies, procedures, activities); training and technical assistance; loan funds, lending criteria, and fees, if included in the design; whether the business targets are start-ups, expansions, strengthenings, or all of the above, and how the applicant will aid each type of client; partner agencies; and credit provision.

Results or Benefits Expected (20 Points)

Extent to which the expected outcomes and unit costs of the project are appropriate, consistent with reported nationwide performance in microenterprise projects, and reasonable in relation to the proposed activities. Results may include the impact of business income and business assets on clients' welfare status, if applicable, and on economic self-sufficiency as well as projected outcomes for business income, employment, and survivability.

Organizational Profiles (20 Points)

Demonstrated organizational and management capacity including bilingual/bicultural competent services and experience serving refugees and other economically disadvantaged populations; description of experience in organizational management, including previous experience in managing grants of similar size; description of experience in providing microenterprise development services and in the management of loan funds, including a projected monthly cash flow chart for the loan fund for the four-year period beginning September 30, 2005; description of results achieved under any previous grant awarded by ORR for microenterprise; and experience in collaboration with the specific refugee community(ies) and coalition building among refugee and non-refugee service providers.

Objectives and Need for Assistance (20 Points)

Quality of the description of the prospective refugee communities' profile with respect to welfare utilization, English language proficiency, length of time in the U.S., interest in microbusiness, and the description of local capital needs and capital market gaps for refugee microentrepreneurs, including their ability to access mainstream financial services. This should include data regarding refugee hardships, the climate for business startups in relation to the overall cost of living, and a market analysis of the general business community.

Budget and Budget Justification (15 Points)

Appropriateness and reasonableness of the proposed budget, including the relative distribution of funds for administrative costs, training, technical assistance, and loan capital. The application should include project timelines and a narrative justification supporting each budget line item.

2. Review and Selection Process

No grant award will be made under this announcement on the basis of an incomplete application. Start Printed Page 23224

The ORR Director and program staff use review panel scores when considering competing applications. Review panel scores will weigh heavily in funding decisions, but will not be the only factors considered. Applications generally will be considered in order of the average scores assigned by the review panel. Because other important factors are taken into consideration, highly ranked applications are not guaranteed funding. These other considerations include the timely and proper completion by the applicant of projects funded with ORR funds granted in the last five (5) years; comments of reviewers and government officials; ORR staff evaluation and input; amount and duration of the grant requested and the proposed project's consistency and harmony with ORR goals and policy; administrative costs associated with any sub-grantees; geographic distribution of applications; previous program performance of applicants; compliance with grant terms under previous HHS grants; audit reports; investigative reports; and applicant's progress in resolving any final audit disallowance or program review finding on previous ORR or other Federal agency grants.

Approved But Unfunded Applications

Applications that are approved but unfunded may be held over for funding in the next funding cycle, pending the availability of funds, for a period not to exceed one year.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

Successful applicants will be notified through the issuance of a Financial Assistance Award document, which sets forth the amount of funds granted, the terms and conditions of the grant, the effective date of the grant, the budget period for which initial support will be given, the non-Federal share to be provided (if applicable), and the total project period for which support is contemplated. The Financial Assistance Award will be signed by the Grants Officer and transmitted via postal mail.

Organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified in writing.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Grantees are subject to the requirements in 45 CFR Part 74 (non-governmental) or 45 CFR Part 92 (governmental).

Direct Federal grants, subaward funds, or contracts under this ACF program shall not be used to support inherently religious activities such as religious instruction, worship, or proselytization. Therefore, organizations must take steps to separate, in time or location, their inherently religious activities from the services funded under this Program. Regulations pertaining to the prohibition of Federal funds for inherently religious activities can be found on the HHS Web site at http://www.os.dhhs.gov/​fbci/​waisgate21.pdf.

3. Reporting Requirements

Program Progress Reports: Semi-annually.

Financial Reports: Semi-annually.

Grantees will be required to submit program progress and financial reports (SF 269) throughout the project period. Program progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period. In addition, final programmatic and financial reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period.

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact

Lisa Campbell, Project Officer, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 8th Floor West, Washington, DC 20447. Phone: 202-205-4597. E-mail: lcampbell@acf.hhs.gov.

Grants Management Office Contact

Sylvia Johnson, Grants Management Officer, Office of Grants Management, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 4th Floor West, Washington, DC 20447. Phone: 202-401-5513. E-mail: ACFOGME-Grants@acf.hhs.gov.

VIII. Other Information

Notice: Beginning with FY 2006, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) will no longer publish grant announcements in the Federal Register. Beginning October 1, 2005 applicants will be able to find a synopsis of all ACF grant opportunities and apply electronically for opportunities via: http://www.Grants.gov. Applicants will also be able to find the complete text of all ACF grant announcements on the ACF Web site located at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​grants/​index.html.

ORR typically sponsors two training workshops per year, which grantees are required to attend; therefore applicants should budget accordingly.

Please reference Section IV.3 for details about acknowledgement of received applications.

Start Signature

Dated: April 27, 2005.

Nguyen Van Hanh,

Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  Eligibility for refugee social services includes: (1) Refugees; (2) asylees; (3) Cuban and Haitian entrants under section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-422); (4) certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are admitted to the U.S. as immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, as included in the FY 1988 Continuing Resolution (Pub. L. 100-202); (5) certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are U.S. citizens under Title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1989 (Pub. L. 100-461), 1990 (Pub. L. 101-167), and 1991 (Pub. L. 101-513); and (6) victims of a severe form of trafficking who receive certification or eligibility letters from ORR and certain family members who have been granted derivative T visas (see 45 CFR 400.43 and ORR State Letters Number 01-13 as modified by State Letter Number 02-01 and Number 04-12 on trafficking victims). For convenience, the term “refugee” is used in this notice to encompass all such eligible persons. Additional information on eligibility is available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​orr/​policy/​s101-13.htm;​ http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​orr/​policy/​s102-01.htm;​ and http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​orr/​policy/​s104-12.htm.

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[FR Doc. 05-8898 Filed 5-3-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4184-01-P