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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Youth Leadership Program With Central Europe

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Announcement Type: New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.415.

Application Deadline: May 19, 2010.

Executive Summary: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division, of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the Youth Leadership Program with Central Europe. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit proposals for a reciprocal exchange program between four European countries—Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia—and the United States. Applicants should plan to recruit and select between 50 and 75 youth and adult participants in Europe and in the United States to participate in short-term exchanges in the partner countries. The exchange activities will focus broadly on the themes of civic rights and responsibilities, leadership, and community activism, and specifically on the theme of common global issues in the American-European relationship. Activities will be geared toward preparing participants to conduct projects at home that serve community needs.

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 Youth Leadership Program with Central Europe enables teenagers (ages 16-18) and adult educators to participate in intensive, thematic exchanges in the United States and in Europe that will help nurture the transatlantic relationship among the participating countries, as well as European integration, through the themes of civic rights and responsibilities, leadership, community activism. Exploring common global and social issues, such as climate change or the challenges and rewards of increasingly multicultural societies, will be a central focus for the activities. A key component of the program will be a regional gathering of the European alumni with the American participants in Europe during which the participants will deepen their understanding of the benefits of community service.

Goals: The goals of the program are: (1) To foster mutual understanding and respect among high school students and educators from Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the United States; (2) To introduce young Europeans and Americans to each other's countries, focusing on how citizens help strengthen democratic Start Printed Page 16545institutions and civil society; and (3) To develop a cadre of community activists who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers through positive action.

Applicants should identify their own specific objectives and measurable outcomes based on these program goals and the project specifications provided in this solicitation.

European participants from Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia—10 to 15 from each country—will travel together to the United States for a three-week exchange that will increase their understanding of American society and democracy and provide the students and educators with skills that they can put to use in becoming active and engaged citizens in their home countries. Participants will travel to one or more U.S. locations and engage in seminars, workshops, site visits, school visits, community service, and leadership and diversity training. The program will introduce them to activities that encourage young people to be involved in their schools and communities.

Students will participate in homestays to give them the opportunity to experience American family life. The program will include elements to prepare participants to become active alumni in their home countries, such as project planning workshops, media relations, and team building activities.

The program will also enable 10-15 American students and educators to travel to Central Europe for two to three weeks to meet with participants of the Europe-to-U.S. exchange and engage in community service projects. Activities will include visits with youth centers and schools, and the planning and implementation of a service project. This component of the program could take place in one or more of the European countries listed above. ECA urges applicants to include Serbia as one of the destination countries, if feasible, but recognizes that the strength of in-country partners may vary and prefers that the exchange take place where there are particularly strong local partner organizations that can organize educational activities.

The program should allow for interaction between the European and American participants for at least one week. This includes time spent together in both the United States and the European destination(s). The European exchange to the United States will take place first.

A strong, on-going, alumni component is essential to the success of the program and any proposal must include a detailed plan for alumni activity and involvement in the years following the exchanges. Alumni involvement should include a Web-based component with social networking. It must also include a physical reunion of the European participants after their U.S.-based exchange, to take place while the Americans are in Europe. This reunion could occur in any of the European countries while the American participants are there. The European alumni should have the chance to further their relationships, increase understanding of each other's countries, and engage in community service and workshops during a three- to five-day period. The program should include a substantive community service project in which the participants can engage together along with additional skills training specifically related to alumni activities.

Applicants must demonstrate their capacity for doing projects of this nature, focusing on three areas of competency: (1) Provision of programs that address the goals and themes outlined in this document; (2) age-appropriate programming for youth; and (3) previous experience working with the countries of Central Europe. In addition to their U.S. presence, applicants, or their partner organizations, need to have the necessary capacity in each of the four European countries to recruit and select participants for the program and to provide follow-on activities for them, and to provide a content-rich exchange program for the American participants in the selected country or countries. The European partners need to have an active role in the preparation of the proposal submitted in response to this RFGP.

Guidelines: The grant will begin on or about September 1, 2010. The grant period will be approximately 16 to 20 months in duration, according to the applicant's program plan. Applicants should propose the timing of the exchanges, which will take place in 2011. Dates may be shifted by the mutual agreement of the Department and the grant recipient.

In pursuit of the goals outlined above, the program will include the following:

  • Recruitment and merit-based selection of a diverse group of youth and adult educators in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States;
  • Pre-departure and arrival orientations;
  • Design and planning of exchange activities in the United States and in Europe that provide a creative and substantive program on the specified themes and offer a thorough introduction to the host countries;
  • Logistical arrangements, including homestay arrangements and other accommodations, disbursement of stipends, local travel, and travel between sites;
  • Monitoring of the participants' safety and well-being while on the exchange;
  • Follow-on activities in the participants' home countries designed to reinforce the ideas and skills imparted during the exchange program.

Recruitment and Selection: Once a grant is awarded, the grant recipient and/or its partners must consult with the Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassies in Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, and Ljubljana and with the ECA program officer to review a recruitment and participant selection plan. Organizers must strive for a diverse applicant pool within all countries. Small groups of participants should be from the same town or region so that they can support one another in their projects upon their return home. The Department of State and/or its overseas representatives reserve final approval of all selected delegations.

Participants: Applicants should present the number of participants it expects to be able to accommodate based on its program design and budget. The total number must not be less than 50 (10 from each country) and may be up to 75 (15 from each country). Additional participants may be included if supported by other sources of funding, and must complete the same screening process for suitability as an exchange participant that the grant-funded participants do. Each country delegation will include one or two adult participants.

Participants will have strong English language skills and will demonstrate an intellectual curiosity and an interest in community engagement. The youth participants will be secondary school students, aged 16 to 18 at the time of the exchange and with at least an academic semester remaining in secondary school before graduation. They should represent the diversity of their country and demonstrate an interest in international affairs, community service, and the other project themes. The exchange participants will also include adult teachers, school administrators, and/or community leaders who work with at least some of the selected youth; they will have the dual role of both exchange participant and chaperone.

Exchange Activities: The U.S.-based component of the program should offer the participants exposure to the variety of lifestyles in the United States. The Start Printed Page 16546exchange should focus primarily on interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities to learn about the fundamentals of a civil society, community service, tolerance and respect for diversity, and building leadership skills. Suggestions for activities include simulations, volunteer service projects, and leadership training exercises. Homestays with local families must be arranged for a majority of the exchange period. Cultural and recreational activities will balance the schedule.

Since the group will be large, applicants must present a plan for breaking up the delegation into smaller groups for more manageable logistics and for more individualized attention for the participants. Applicants are granted flexibility in how they choose to address this, which may include splitting the group among different communities or within a community. It is also acceptable to conduct two separate exchanges, each for 20-30 participants, but each must be a mixed group from all four European countries.

The European-based exchange component should take place in one or more of the European partner countries, with a preference for Serbia as one of the destinations if local capacity permits. The program should focus on interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities to learn about Central Europe, community service, and leadership skills. This exchange will also feature homestays and cultural activities.

Applicants are urged to present creative plans for activities that will foster interaction between the American and European delegations, as well as other peers in the host country.

Given the youth of the participants, the grant recipient will be required to provide proper staff supervision and facilitation to ensure that the European and American teenagers have safe and pedagogically robust programs while visiting the other countries. Staff, along with the adult participants, will need to assist the students with cultural adjustments, to provide societal context to enhance learning, and to counsel students as needed. Applicants should describe their plans to meet these requirements in their proposals.

Follow-on Activities: In addition to the reunion described above, the grant recipient is required to offer follow-on activities for the exchange alumni, particularly in facilitating continued engagement among the participants, advising and supporting them in the implementation of their community service projects, and offering opportunities to reinforce the lessons and themes of the exchange. Applicants should present creative and effective ways to address the project themes, for both program participants and their peers, as a means to amplify the program impact. Follow-up visits with alumni by project staff or trainers are recommended.

In the long-term, a strong multi-year alumni component is a key element of this program. Applicants should present plans to encourage on-going contact and activity among participants even beyond the life of the grant.

Proposals must demonstrate how the stated objectives will be met. The proposal narrative should provide detailed information on the major program activities, and applicants should explain and justify their programmatic choices. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please be sure to refer to the complete Solicitation Package—this RFGP, the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI), and the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)—for further information.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant Agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2010.

Approximate Total Funding: $500,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: One.

Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2010.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: 16-20 months after start date, to be specified by applicant based on project plan.

Additional Information: Pending successful implementation of the project and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, ECA reserves the right to renew grants for up to two additional fiscal years before openly competing grants under this program again.

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 U.S.C. 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 one award, in an amount up to $500,000 to support the 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 until the proposal review process has been completed.

IV.1. Contact Information to Request an Application Package

Please contact the Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, SA-5, 3rd Floor, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20522-0503, Tel (202) 632-6072, E-mail BookbinderJB@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42 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 Start Printed Page 16547application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. It also contains the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition.

Please specify Bureau Program Officer Carolyn Lantz and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42 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 and the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) 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 62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR 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 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 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 62. If your organization has experience as a designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR 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, record-keeping, 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: Office of Designation, ECA/EC/D, SA-5, Floor C2, Department of State, Washington, DC 20522-0582.

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, religion, 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 Start Printed Page 16548not 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, including concrete actions taken 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 $275,000. 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. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3f.

Application Deadline and Methods of Submission

Application Deadline Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42.

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.

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 Start Printed Page 16549extra copy of the completed SF-424 form and place it in an envelope addressed to “ECA/EX/PM”.

The original and six copies of the application should be sent to:

Program Management Division, ECA-IIP/EX/PM, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42, SA-5, Floor 4, Department of State, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0504.

With the submission of the proposal package, please also e-mail the Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, and Budget sections of the proposal, as well as any attachments essential to understanding the program, in Microsoft Word, Excel, and/or PDF, to the program officer at LantzCS@state.gov. The Bureau will provide these files electronically to the Public Affairs Sections at the relevant U.S. Embassies for 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 packages are available at Grants.gov in the “Find” portion of the system.

Please Note:

ECA bears no responsibility for applicant timeliness of submission or data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

Please follow the instructions available in the ‘Get Started’ portion of the site (http://www.grants.gov/​GetStarted).

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 awards (grants) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below.

1. Quality of the program idea: The proposed program should be well developed, respond to design outlined in the solicitation, and demonstrate originality. It should be clearly and accurately written, substantive, and with sufficient detail. Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission.

2. Program planning: A detailed agenda and work plan should clearly demonstrate how project objectives would be achieved. The agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. The substance of workshops, seminars, presentations, school-based activities, and/or site visits should be described in detail. Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. The proposal should clearly demonstrate how the organization will meet the program's objectives and plan.

3. Support of diversity: The proposal should demonstrate the recipient's commitment to promoting the awareness and understanding of diversity in program content. Applicants should demonstrate readiness to accommodate participants with physical disabilities.

4. Institutional capacity and track record: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by the Bureau's Office of Contracts. The Bureau will consider the past performance.

5. Follow-on activities: Proposals should provide a plan for Bureau-supported follow-on activities to help the participants stay connected and to apply and share what they have learned. In addition, applicants should also provide on-going support, both with and without Bureau funding, that ensures that these exchanges are not isolated events.Start Printed Page 16550

6. Program evaluation: The proposal should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The proposal should include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The grant recipient will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded.

7. Cost-effectiveness and cost sharing: The applicant should demonstrate efficient use of Bureau funds. The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. The proposal should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions, which demonstrates institutional and community commitment.

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 copy of the following reports:

(1) Interim program and financial reports, as required in the grant agreement;

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

(3) 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 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.

(4) 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. 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. Draft schedules for in-country and U.S. activities must be received by the ECA Program Officer at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the activity.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, contact: Carolyn Lantz, Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20522-0503, Tel (202) 632-6421, Fax (202) 632-9355, LantzCS@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-42.

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

Dated: March 24, 2010.

Maura M. Pally,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2010-7357 Filed 3-31-10; 8:45 am]

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