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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age

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Announcement Type: New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/EUR-SCA-09-45. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 00.000.

Key Dates:

Application Deadline: June 4, 2009.

Executive Summary

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a new exchange program for Turkish and American young people while in Ankara on March 7, 2009. This two part program, called “Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age,” will bring 20 to 30 emerging leaders (ages 20-35) from the two countries together to develop grassroots initiatives that will positively impact people's lives and will result in stronger ties between the two nations.

ECA is seeking proposals from qualified applicants for two separate programs. The Bureau expects total funding in the amount of $500,000 to be available. ECA expects to award a total of two grants in this competition of up to $250,000, one for each topic.

The first project, “Political Challenges for Future Leaders” will enable 10-15 young professionals from Turkey and the United States to participate in a structured bi-national dialogue on foreign policy issues of importance to both countries, both face-to-face and via the full range of communication media.

The second project, “Social and Economic Challenges for Future Leaders” will work to expand the capacity of grassroots organizations to empower women, to improve job skills for young people in economically disadvantaged communities and to raise environmental awareness and activism.

Note:

Applicants may not submit more than one proposal in this competition. Applicants that do so will be declared technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Authority

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.

Purpose

The initiative “Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age” is built around two new exchange programs that will bring emerging young leaders (ages 20-35) in Turkey and the United States together to develop grassroots initiatives that will positively impact people's lives and deepen ties between the future leaders of both countries. It will also reach beyond the two new exchanges to network with alumni of previous leadership exchange programs in both countries to build a solid foundation of mutual understanding.

Applicants must identify the U.S. and Turkish organizations and individuals with whom they are proposing to collaborate and describe previous cooperative activities, if any. Information about the mission, activities, and accomplishments of partner organizations should be included in the submission. Proposals should contain letters of commitment or support from partner organizations for the proposed project. Applicants should clearly outline and describe the role and responsibilities of all partner organizations in terms of project logistics, management and oversight.

Competitive proposals will include the following:

  • A brief description of the theme to be addressed and how it relates to Turkey and the United States. (Proposals that request resources for an initial needs assessment will be deemed less competitive under the review criterion Program Planning and Ability to Achieve Objectives, per item V.1 below.);
  • A clear, succinct statement of program objectives and expected outcomes that responds to Bureau goals as listed in this RFGP. Desired outcomes should be described in qualitative and quantitative terms. (See the Program Monitoring and Evaluation section per item V.1 below, for more information on project objectives and outcomes.);Start Printed Page 15040
  • A proposed timeline;
  • A description of participant recruitment and selection processes;
  • Letters of support from Turkish and U.S. partners. (Letters from prospective partner institutions should demonstrate a capacity to arrange and conduct U.S. and overseas activities.);
  • An outline of the applicant organization's relevant expertise in the project theme and working in Turkey;
  • An outline of relevant experience managing previous exchange programs;
  • Resumes of experienced staff who have demonstrated a commitment to implement and monitor projects and ensure outcomes;
  • A comprehensive plan to evaluate whether program outcomes will achieve the specific objectives described in the narrative. (See the Program Monitoring and Evaluation section [IV.3d.d below] for further guidance on evaluation.);
  • A post-grant plan that demonstrates how the grantee plans to maintain contacts initiated through the program. Applicants should discuss ways that U.S. and Turkish participants or host institutions will collaborate and communicate after the ECA-funded grant has concluded. (See Review Criterion #5, per item V.1 below for more information on post-grant activities.)
  • Successful projects will demonstrate the importance Americans place on community service as an element of active citizenship and may include ideas and projects to strengthen civil society through community service either during participants' stay in the U.S. or upon their return to Turkey.
  • In addition to addressing the specific themes described below, proposals should develop partner organizations' capacity in such areas as strategic planning, performance management, fund raising, financial management, human resources management, and decision-making.

U.S. Embassy Involvement: Before submitting a proposal, all applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Washington, DC-based State Department contact, Brent Beemer; tel: 202-453-8147; e-mail: BeemerBT@state.gov. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to consult with Public Affairs Officers at U.S. Embassy in Ankara as they develop proposals responding to this. For direct contact information at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, please contact the Washington, DC-based State Department officer for this competition, Brent Beemer, listed above. Also, it is important that the proposal narrative clearly state the applicant's commitment to consult closely with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara to develop plans for project implementation and to select project participants. Proposals should also acknowledge U.S. Embassy involvement in the final selection of all participants. Applicants should state their willingness to invite representatives of the Embassy to participate in program sessions or site visits.

Project Details:

Project 1: Political Challenges for Future Leaders: A Foreign Policy Dialogue Among Emerging Leaders

This project is designed to support and to promote the participation of young Turkish leaders in the transatlantic dialogue on foreign policy issues. This program intends to show how democratic nations/governments/citizens can disagree—and very strongly—on specific issues with other countries, but still maintain healthy bilateral and interpersonal relationships. The program should work to bring together an equal number of Turkish and American professionals who, for the duration of the project, will work together, for the duration of the project, on fostering personal and institutional linkages through dialogue. This dialogue should center on major foreign policy issues of importance to the United States and Turkey, specifically regional cooperation, conflict management and resolution, and policy advocacy in a modern democracy. Competitive proposals will outline a framework for this dialogue and activities to foster the linkages to be developed. ECA envisions a program where U.S. and Turkish professionals form a core dialogue group that, with facilitation, develops an action plan that will be developed and implemented over the course of the exchanges and continued post-program to maintain engagement between the organizations. The action plan might include policy proposals to be presented to governmental officials in both countries, the development of a free-standing continuous dialogue association in both countries, the use of “new media” outlets such as weblogs, online videos, and social networking for joint projects, etc.

Audience: Emerging leaders selected through merit-based competitions (10-15 from the U.S. and 10-15 from Turkey) age 20-35 involved in international affairs from youth wings of political parties, NGOs with youth focus, universities, business organizations, active politicians, journalists, business people, think tanks, and cultural figures. Participants should include individuals who work at the local, state, and federal levels.

A successful program will provide participants:

  • The opportunity to engage in serious, important, and productive dialogue on international issues in ways that strengthen civil society and the democratic process.
  • New links between a core group of emerging leaders in Turkey and the United States who will work together on policy formulation issues.
  • Development of negotiation and advocacy skills among the participants.
  • A better understanding of the processes involved in developing foreign policy including input from academia, think-tanks, media, interest groups, as well as government actors.
  • A fuller understanding of the U.S. and Turkish political, social, and cultural structures that influence and shape foreign policy formulation.

Ideal Program Model:

  • An open recruitment and selection of a core group of participants from the U.S. and Turkey. In Turkey, recruitment and selection should include close consultation with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section.
  • A two to three week U.S.-based program where the core group of American and Turkish participants come together as one group. The majority of this program should include “hands on” work between the core group on skills trainings, leadership development, new technology opportunities, and the development of a joint action plan by the core group. Outside site visits, job-shadowing opportunities, and homestays—ideally with the U.S. participants—that compliment the core group work are encouraged. Should also include a one or two-day debriefing session at the end of the program in Washington, DC.
  • A one to two week Turkey-based program where the core group of American and Turkish participants come together as a follow-on to what was done during the previous U.S.-based program. The majority of this program should continue facilitated work between the core group on skills trainings, leadership development, and the completion of the joint action plan by the core group. Outside site visits, job-shadowing opportunities, and homestays for the U.S. participants with the Turkish participants that compliment the core group work are encouraged.
  • A follow-on period where the implementation of the joint action plan is completed. During this period, travel by select participants (one or two) to Turkey and/or the U.S. to further the Start Printed Page 15041implementation plan could be planned. Use of new information and communication technologies to enhance and broaden the dialogue should be implemented at this point.

Project 2: Social and Economic Challenges for Future Leaders: Grassroots Development in a Modern Democracy

This project will work to expand the capacity of Turkish grassroots organizations (NGOs) to empower women, to improve job skills for young people in economically disadvantaged communities and to raise environmental awareness and activism. ECA envisions a “hands on” program where U.S. and Turkish grassroots organizations with similar missions will partner on joint projects (addressing women's empowerment, job skills for young people, and environmental awareness) that will be developed and implemented over a series of exchanges and continued post-program engagement between the organizations. ECA seeks competitive proposals that will build NGO capacity in practice, giving NGO leaders from the two countries opportunities to adopt best practices by doing. Joint projects should be developed, implemented, monitored and evaluated by both sides. The implementing U.S. grantee will be required to partner and involve one or more Turkish grassroots organizations in the program that have demonstrated a commitment to civil society development and the establishment of a dialogue between the government and non-governmental sectors in Turkey. Applicants should consult with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara when selecting these partners.

Audience: Emerging grassroots leaders (10-15 from the U.S. and 10-15 from Turkey selected through merit-based competitions) age 20-35 involved with grassroots efforts in empowering women, improving job skills for young people in economically disadvantaged communities, and environmental awareness and activism.

A successful program will provide participants:

  • Developed leadership skills, including how to conceptualize and develop community-based projects to reach diverse citizenry, using clear objectives, solid management structures and evaluation feedback mechanisms at the local level;
  • An understanding and review of the impact of public interest and government policies on the primary issues, as well as a comprehensive discussion of proposed solutions;
  • An introduction to volunteerism and the ways in which different NGOs and charities give service to their communities. This includes knowledge of how the needs of a community are identified, how service organizations find their niches, how service projects are funded, and how they are organized;
  • New links between emerging grassroots leaders and organizations in Turkey and the United States;
  • A review of new technologies, such as weblogs, online videos, and social networking sites, and how these new media can be used to effect positive change in their communities.
  • A fuller understanding of American and Turkish policies, political structures, societies, and cultures.

Ideal Program Model:

  • A two to three week U.S.-based program that would mainly focus on the development of a joint community-based project that both Turkish and U.S. participants would develop and implement for the rest of the program. This program could also include seminars; site visits; and individual mentoring for the Turkish participants. Programs should also include a one- or two-day debriefing and evaluation session at the end of the program in Washington, DC.
  • A one to two week program in Turkey for U.S. participants. This would mainly focus on the continual implementation of the joint community-based project originally started during the U.S.-based program. This program could also include seminars; site visits; and on-site consultancies by U.S. participants to Turkish organizations/workplaces. It should also include a one- or two-day debriefing and evaluation session at the end of the program.
  • The project should establish a plan for regular communication between participants through electronic and digital image communications. Also, the project should reach out to participants in other similar ECA exchange programs in Turkey. Programs could also support materials translated into Turkish, small grants for projects designed to expand the exchange experience and support for the development of alumni association.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant Agreement ECA's level of involvement in this program is listed under number I above.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2009.

Approximate Total Funding: $500,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: 2.

Approximate Average Award: $250,000.

Ceiling of Award Range: $250,000.

Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, September 1, 2009.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: August 31, 2011.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible Applicants

Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3).

III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching Funds

There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23—Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements

Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates making two one awards, in an amount up to $250,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Note:

Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants Start Printed Page 15042until the proposal review process has been completed.

IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package

Please contact the Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C, Room 220, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, (202) 453-8147, gustafsondp@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/EUR-SCA-09-45 located at the top of this announcement when making your request.

Alternatively, an electronic application package may be obtained from grants.gov. Please see section IV.3f for further information.

The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation.

Please specify Program Officer Brent Beemer and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/EUR-SCA-09-45 located at the top of this announcement on all other inquiries and correspondence.

IV.2. To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at http://exchanges.state.gov/​grants/​open2.html, or from the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov.

Please read all information before downloading.

IV.3. Content and Form of Submission

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The application should be submitted per the instructions under IV.3f. “Application Deadline and Methods of Submission” section below.

IV.3a. You are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the U.S. Government. This number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, access http://www.dunandbradstreet.com or call 1-866-705-5711. Please ensure that your DUNS number is included in the appropriate box of the SF-424 which is part of the formal application package.

IV.3b. All proposals must contain an executive summary, proposal narrative and budget.

Please Refer to the Solicitation Package. It contains the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document for additional formatting and technical requirements.

IV.3c. You must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application. Please note: Effective January 7, 2009, all applicants for ECA federal assistance awards must include in their application the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees, regardless of amount of compensation). In fulfilling this requirement, applicants must submit information in one of the following ways:

(1) Those who file Internal Revenue Service Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” must include a copy of relevant portions of this form.

(2) Those who do not file IRS Form 990 must submit information above in the format of their choice.

In addition to final program reporting requirements, award recipients will also be required to submit a one-page document, derived from their program reports, listing and describing their grant activities. For award recipients, the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees), as well as the one- page description of grant activities, will be transmitted by the State Department to OMB, along with other information required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), and will be made available to the public by the Office of Management and Budget on its USASpending.gov Web site as part of ECA's FFATA reporting requirements.

If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.

IV.3d. Please take into consideration the following information when preparing your proposal narrative:

IV.3d.1 Adherence to all Regulations Governing the J Visa

The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the official program sponsor of the exchange program covered by this RFGP, and an employee of the Bureau will be the “Responsible Officer” for the program under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, organizations receiving awards (either a grant or cooperative agreement) under this RFGP will be third parties “cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.” The actions of recipient organizations shall be “imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with” 22 CFR part 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization receiving an award under this competition will render all assistance necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR part 62 et seq.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places critically important emphases on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by recipient organizations and program participants to all regulations governing the J visa program status. Therefore, proposals should explicitly state in writing that the applicant is prepared to assist the Bureau in meeting all requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62. If your organization has experience as a designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR part 62 et seq., including the oversight of their Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants, provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants, monitoring of participants, proper maintenance and security of forms, recordkeeping, reporting and other requirements.

The Office of Citizen Exchanges of ECA will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program.

A copy of the complete regulations governing the administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at http://exchanges.state.gov or from: United States Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD-SA-44, Room 734, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Telephone: (202) 203-5029, FAX: (202) 453-8640.

IV.3d.2 Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, Start Printed Page 15043religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the ‘Support for Diversity’ section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into your proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that “in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,” the Bureau “shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.” Public Law 106-113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

IV.3d.3. Program Monitoring and Evaluation:

Proposals must include a plan to monitor and evaluate the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that your proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The Bureau expects that the recipient organization will track participants or partners and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, learning as a result of the program, changes in behavior as a result of the program, and effects of the program on institutions (institutions in which participants work or partner institutions). The evaluation plan should include indicators that measure gains in mutual understanding as well as substantive knowledge.

Successful monitoring and evaluation depend heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Your evaluation plan should include a description of your project's objectives, your anticipated project outcomes, and how and when you intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “smart” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable time frame), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your project objectives link to the goals of the program described in this RFGP.

Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. Output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes.

We encourage you to assess the following four levels of outcomes, as they relate to the program goals set out in the RFGP (listed here in increasing order of importance):

1. Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.

2. Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.

3. Participant behavior, concrete actions to apply knowledge in work or community; greater participation and responsibility in civic organizations; interpretation and explanation of experiences and new knowledge gained; continued contacts between participants, community members, and others.

4. Institutional changes, such as increased collaboration and partnerships, policy reforms, new programming, and organizational improvements.

Please note:

Consideration should be given to the appropriate timing of data collection for each level of outcome. For example, satisfaction is usually captured as a short-term outcome, whereas behavior and institutional changes are normally considered longer-term outcomes.

Overall, the quality of your monitoring and evaluation plan will be judged on how well it (1) specifies intended outcomes; (2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; (3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and (4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups). (Please note that evaluation plans that deal only with the first level of outcomes [satisfaction] will be deemed less competitive under the present evaluation criteria.)

Recipient organizations will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.

IV.3e. Please take the following information into consideration when preparing your budget:

IV.3e.1. Applicants must submit SF-424A—“Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs” along with a comprehensive budget for the entire program. Budget requests may not exceed $250,000 per proposal. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

IV.3e.2. Allowable costs for the program include the following:

1. Travel. International and domestic airfare; airline baggage and seat fees; visas; transit costs; ground transportation costs. Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. There is no charge for J-1 visas for participants in Bureau sponsored programs.

2. Per Diem. For U.S.-based programming, organizations should use the published Federal per diem rates for individual U.S. cities. Domestic per diem rates may be accessed at: http://www.gsa.gov/​Portal/​gsa/​ep/​contentView.do?​ programId=9704&channelId=-15943 &ooid=16365&contentId=17943& pageTypeId=8203&contentType=GSA_BASIC&program Page=%2Fep%2Fprogram%2FgsaBasic.jsp&P=MTT.

ECA requests applicants to budget realistic costs that reflect the local economy and do not exceed Federal per diem rates. Foreign per diem rates can be accessed at: http://aoprals.state.gov/​web920/​per_​diem.asp.

3. Interpreters. For U.S.-based activities, ECA strongly encourages applicants to hire their own locally based interpreters. However, applicants may ask ECA to assign State Department interpreters. One interpreter is typically needed for every four participants who require interpretation. When an applicant proposes to use State Department interpreters, the following expenses should be included in the budget: Published Federal per diem rates (both “lodging” and “M&IE”) and “home-program-home” transportation in the amount of $400 per interpreter. Salary expenses for State Department interpreters will be covered by the Bureau and should not be part of an applicant's proposed budget. Bureau funds cannot support interpreters who Start Printed Page 15044accompany delegations from their home country or travel internationally.

4. Book and Cultural Allowances. Foreign participants are entitled to a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per person, plus a book allowance of $50. Interpreters should be reimbursed up to $150 for expenses when they escort participants to cultural events. U.S. program staff, trainers or participants are not eligible to receive these benefits.

5. Consultants. Consultants may be used to provide specialized expertise or to make presentations. Honoraria rates should not exceed $250 per day. Organizations are encouraged to cost-share rates that would exceed that figure. Subcontracting organizations may also be employed, in which case the written agreement between the prospective grantee and sub-grantee should be included in the proposal. Such sub-grants should detail the division of responsibilities and proposed costs, and subcontracts should be itemized in the budget.

6. Room rental. The rental of meeting space should not exceed $250 per day. Any rates that exceed this amount should be cost shared.

7. Materials. Proposals may contain costs to purchase, develop and translate materials for participants. Costs for high quality translation of materials should be anticipated and included in the budget. Grantee organizations should expect to submit a copy of all program materials to ECA, and ECA support should be acknowledged on all materials developed with its funding.

8. Equipment. Applicants may propose to use grant funds to purchase equipment, such as computers and printers; these costs should be justified in the budget narrative. Costs for furniture are not allowed.

9. Working meal. Normally, no more than one working meal may be provided during the program. Per capita costs may not exceed $15-$25 for lunch and $20-$35 for dinner, excluding room rental. The number of invited guests may not exceed participants by more than a factor of two-to-one. When setting up a budget, interpreters should be considered “participants.”

10. Return travel allowance. A return travel allowance of $70 for each foreign participant may be included in the budget. This allowance would cover incidental expenses incurred during international travel.

11. Health Insurance. Foreign participants will be covered during their participation in the program by the ECA-sponsored Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE), for which the grantee must enroll them. Details of that policy can be provided by the contact officers identified in this solicitation. The premium is paid by ECA and should not be included in the grant proposal budget. However, applicants are permitted to include costs for travel insurance for U.S. participants in the budget.

12. Wire transfer fees. When necessary, applicants may include costs to transfer funds to partner organizations overseas. Grantees are urged to research applicable taxes that may be imposed on these transfers by host governments.

13. In-country travel costs for visa processing purposes. Given the requirements associated with obtaining J-1 visas for ECA-supported participants, applicants should include costs for any travel associated with visa interviews or DS-2019 pick-up.

14. Administrative Costs. Costs necessary for the effective administration of the program may include salaries for grantee organization employees, benefits, and other direct and indirect costs per detailed instructions in the Application Package. While there is no rigid ratio of administrative to program costs, proposals in which the administrative costs do not exceed 25% of the total requested ECA grant funds will be more competitive under the cost effectiveness and cost sharing criterion, per item V.1 below. Proposals should show strong administrative cost sharing contributions from the applicant, the in-country. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3f. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission:

Application Deadline Date: June 4, 2009.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/EUR-SCA-09-45.

Methods of Submission: Applications may be submitted in one of two ways:

(1.) In hard-copy, via a nationally recognized overnight delivery service (i.e., Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.), or

(2.) Electronically through http://www.grants.gov.

Please Note:

ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1., below rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov Web portal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in these RFGPs, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Reference Number in Box 11 on the SF-424 contained in the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the solicitation document.

IV.3f.1 Submitting Printed Applications

Applications must be shipped no later than the above deadline. Delivery services used by applicants must have in-place, centralized shipping identification and tracking systems that may be accessed via the Internet and delivery people who are identifiable by commonly recognized uniforms and delivery vehicles. Proposals shipped on or before the above deadline but received at ECA more than seven days after the deadline will be ineligible for further consideration under this competition. Proposals shipped after the established deadlines are ineligible for consideration under this competition. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of application. It is each applicant's responsibility to ensure that each package is marked with a legible tracking number and to monitor/confirm delivery to ECA via the Internet. Delivery of proposal packages may not be made via local courier service or in person for this competition. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Only proposals submitted as stated above will be considered.

Important note:

When preparing your submission please make sure to include one extra copy of the completed SF-424 form and place it in an envelope addressed to “ECA/EX/PM”.

The original and 8 copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/EUER-SCA-09-45, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

Applicants submitting hard-copy applications must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal in text (.txt) or Microsoft Word format on a PC-formatted disk. The Bureau will provide these files electronically to the appropriate Public Affairs Section(s) at the U.S. embassy(ies) for its(their) review.

IV.3f.2—Submitting Electronic Applications

Applicants have the option of submitting proposals electronically through Grants.gov http://www.grants.gov. Complete solicitation Start Printed Page 15045packages are available at Grants.gov in the “Find” portion of the system.

Please Note:

ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1. above, rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov webportal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in these RFGPs, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

Several of the steps in the Grants.gov registration process could take several weeks. Therefore, applicants should check with appropriate staff within their organizations immediately after reviewing this RFGP to confirm or determine their registration status with Grants.gov.

Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your internet connection. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

The Grants.gov Web site includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the Grants.gov process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the “For Applicants” section of the Web site. ECA strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly the Grants.gov Web site, well in advance of submitting a proposal through the Grants.gov system. ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

Direct all questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission to: Grants.gov Customer Support, Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726, Business Hours: Monday—Friday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Eastern Time, e-mail: support@grants.gov.

Applicants have until midnight (12 a.m.), Washington, DC time of the closing date to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the Grants.gov site. There are no exceptions to the above deadline. Applications uploaded to the site after midnight of the application deadline date will be automatically rejected by the grants.gov system, and will be technically ineligible.

Please refer to the Grants.gov Web site, for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications.

It is the responsibility of all applicants submitting proposals via the Grants.gov web portal to ensure that proposals have been received by Grants.gov in their entirety, and ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications: Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.

V. Application Review Information

V.1. Review Process

The Bureau will review all proposals for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance award grants resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria:

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:

1. Program Planning and Ability to Achieve Objectives: Program objectives should be stated clearly and should reflect the applicant's expertise in the subject area and region. Objectives should respond to the topics in this announcement and should relate to the current conditions in the target country/countries. A detailed agenda and relevant work plan should explain how objectives will be achieved and should include a timetable for completion of major tasks. The substance of workshops, internships, seminars and/or consulting should be described in detail. Sample schedules should be outlined. Responsibilities of proposed in-country partners should be clearly described. A discussion of how the applicant intends to address language issues should be included, if needed.

2. Institutional Capacity: Proposals should include (1) the institution's mission and date of establishment; (2) detailed information about proposed in-country partner(s) and the history of the partnership; (3) an outline of prior awards—U.S. government and/or private support received for the target theme/country/region; and (4) descriptions of experienced staff members who will implement the program. The proposal should reflect the institution's expertise in the subject area and knowledge of the conditions in the target country/countries. Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau Grants Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program's goals. The Bureau strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners.

3. Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Overhead and administrative costs in the proposal budget, including salaries, honoraria and subcontracts for services, should be kept to a minimum. Proposals in which the administrative costs do not exceed 25% of the total requested ECA grant funds will be more competitive (see IV.3e.2 #14 for clarification on this). Applicants are strongly encouraged to cost share a portion of overhead and administrative expenses. Cost-sharing, including contributions from the applicant, proposed in-country partner(s), and other sources should be included in the budget request. Proposal budgets that do not reflect cost sharing will be deemed not competitive on this criterion.

4. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities). Start Printed Page 15046Applicants should refer to the Bureau's Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) and the Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines section, Item IV.3d.2, above for additional guidance.

5. Post-Grant Activities: Applicants should provide a plan to conduct activities after the Bureau-funded project has concluded in order to ensure that Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events. Funds for all post-grant activities must be in the form of contributions from the applicant or sources outside of the Bureau. Costs for these activities must not appear in the proposal budget, but should be outlined in the narrative.

6. Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Proposals should include a detailed plan to monitor and evaluate the program. Program objectives should target clearly defined results in quantitative terms. Competitive evaluation plans will describe how applicant organizations would measure these results, and proposals should include draft data collection instruments (surveys, questionnaires, etc.) in Tab E. Successful applicants (grantee institutions) will be expected to submit a report after each program component concludes or on a quarterly basis, whichever is less frequent. The Bureau also requires that grantee institutions submit a final narrative and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of a grant.

VI. Award Administration Information

VI.1a. Award Notices

Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures. Successful applicants will receive a Federal Assistance Award (FAA) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The FAA and the original proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The FAA will be signed by an authorized Grants Officer, and mailed to the recipient's responsible officer identified in the application.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the ECA program office coordinating this competition.

VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions for the Administration of ECA agreements include the following:

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, “Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.”

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.”

OMB Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Governments.”

OMB Circular No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Nonprofit Organizations.

OMB Circular No. A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments.

OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.

Please reference the following Web sites for additional information:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants

http://fa.statebuy.state.gov

VI.3. Reporting Requirements

You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one electronic copy of the following reports:

(1) A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award;

(2) A concise, one-page final program report summarizing program outcomes no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award. This one-page report will will be transmitted to OMB, and be made available to the public via OMB's USAspending.gov Web site—as part of ECA's Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) reporting requirements.

(3) A SF-PPR, “Performance Progress Report” Cover Sheet with all program reports.

Award recipients will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. (Please refer to IV. Application and Submission Instructions (IV.3.d.3) above for Program Monitoring and Evaluation information.)

All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.

All reports must be sent to the ECA Grants Officer and ECA Program Officer listed in the final assistance award document.

VI.4. Optional Program Data Requirements

Award recipients will be required to maintain specific data on program participants and activities in an electronically accessible database format that can be shared with the Bureau as required. As a minimum, the data must include the following:

(1) Name, address, contact information and biographic sketch of all persons who travel internationally on funds provided by the agreement or who benefit from the award funding but do not travel.

(2) Itineraries of international and domestic travel, providing dates of travel and cities in which any exchange experiences take place. Final schedules for in-country and U.S. activities must be received by the ECA Program Officer at least three work days prior to the official opening of the activity.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, contact: Brent Beemer, Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C, Room 220, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, (202) 453-8147, beemerbt@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/EUR-SCA-09-45. Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

VIII. Other Information

Notice:

The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements per section VI.3 above.

Start Signature
Start Printed Page 15047

Dated: March 25, 2009.

C. Miller Crouch,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E9-7302 Filed 4-1-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P