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Notice

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

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Announcement Type: New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-10-41.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.415.

Application Deadline: May 28, 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 American Youth Leadership Program. 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 to implement a short-term exchange program for American high school students and educators that will enable the participants to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. Applicant organizations will recruit and select youth and adult participants from the United States and provide them with a three- to four-week exchange program abroad focused on dialogue and debate, leadership development, and community service. Upon returning home, the students will apply what they have learned to serve their schools and communities.

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 Start Printed Page 17990and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.

Overview

The American Youth Leadership Program will provide high school students and adult educators from the United States with an opportunity to travel abroad on a three- to four-week-long exchange program to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. The participants will have an academic and experiential education program focused on dialogue and debate, leadership development, and community service. The program activities will also focus on one of the following four themes that can be examined for both local and global impact:

1. The role of the media.

2. The environment and climate change.

3. Food security and nutrition.

4. Science and technology.

Applicants should choose from one of these four global themes and narrow it down to a more specific topic(s) within the subject area.

The exchange participants will engage in a variety of activities that provide an introduction to the civic, cultural, and educational institutions of the host country through workshops on leadership and service, community site visits related to the program themes, interactive training, simulations, debates, presentations, visits to high schools, cultural activities, and other activities designed to achieve the program's stated goals. It is essential that applicants engage local youth in a substantive and meaningful way in activities with the American students. Follow-on activities with the participants are an integral part of the program, as the students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their home communities. Exchange activities will be conducted in English, though participants should receive basic language instruction a few hours per week during the exchange.

Program Goals

1. Promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the partner country(ies).

2. Prepare youth leaders to become responsible citizens and contributing members of their communities.

3. Spark an interest in learning about foreign cultures among American youth.

4. Develop a cadre of Americans with cultural understanding who are able to advance international dialogue and compete effectively in the global economy.

Using these goals and themes above, applicant organizations should identify their own specific objectives and measurable outcomes based on these program goals and the project specifications provided in this solicitation.

Eligible Countries

The FY 2010 American Youth Leadership Program will focus on specific countries according to the guidelines below.

(1) Single-Country Projects. Applicants may submit one proposal to conduct one OR two separate exchange projects, each of which sends American participants to one of the following countries:

1. Bahrain.

2. Bangladesh.

3. Cambodia.

4. Japan.

5. Kenya.

6. Mongolia.

7. Namibia.

8. Norway.

(2) Multi-Country Projects. Applicants may propose to conduct one exchange project that sends American participants to each country in one of the following groupings:

1. Bulgaria and Romania.

2. Costa Rica and Panama.

3. Fiji and Samoa (including Tonga is optional).

4. Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

ECA plans to award multiple grants for the management of the American Youth Leadership Program for approximately eight projects; applicants should choose from the list of eight single-country projects and four multi-country projects above. Each single- or multi-country project should cost a total of approximately $250,000 for a group of 30 to 40 participants.

Applicants must propose a plan to break a large delegation into smaller cohorts for most of the exchange activities to maximize the educational experience and ensure individualized attention for each participant. For example, in a single-country project, a delegation of 40 participants could travel to the partner country at the same time, but be divided into three or four smaller groups that each visit a different city; or two separate delegations of 15 to 20 participants could travel to the partner country at different times. For multi-country projects, each country in the grouping must be visited by at least one delegation of students and educators, but the exchange activities may take various forms. For example, all 40 participants could travel to each of the countries listed during the three- to four-week period; or they could be broken up into smaller delegations that travel separately to just one country. Applicants are encouraged to be creative and flexible in their arrangements that will help meet our program goals.

Organizations may apply for one single-country project, two single-country projects, or one multi-country project, but must submit only ONE proposal under this competition. The Bureau strongly urges organizations to limit their applications to the country(ies) where they have the strongest institutional capacity. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal project configurations, budgets, and participant numbers in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.

Participants

Both the youth and adult participants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

1. Be U.S. citizens;

2. Be selected through a merit-based competition;

3. Represent the diversity of the United States; and

4. Demonstrate an interest in the partner country and the project themes.

Criteria for selection of the participants will include leadership skills, an interest in service to the community, strong academic and social skills, overall composure, openness and flexibility. It is desirable that a few participants live in the same community to facilitate future collaboration upon their return to the United States.

The youth participants must be high school students aged 15 to 17 years old, with at least one semester of high school remaining. The adult participants may be teachers, trainers, school administrators, and/or community leaders who work with youth; they will have the dual role of both exchange participant and chaperone. The ratio of youth to adults should be approximately 10:1, depending on the size of the exchange delegation.

Organizational Capacity

Applicants must demonstrate their capacity for conducting international youth exchanges, 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 on programs in the partner country. In addition to their U.S. presence, applicants must have the organizational Start Printed Page 17991capacity in the relevant country—or they must partner with an organization or institution with the requisite capacity—to provide a content-rich exchange program for the American participants. The importance of a viable, experienced in-country partner cannot be over-emphasized. The partner organization must have a functioning office in the host country and an established track record working with youth. Applicants should consult with their in-country partners and involve them in the preparation of the proposal. Applicants should consult with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassies in the country proposed for the exchange concerning the selection and reliability of the in-country partner organization(s). Please e-mail ECA Program Officer Jennifer Phillips for contact information.

U.S. Embassy Involvement

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 the host country, once a grant is awarded. Since this program involves U.S. citizen minors, the U.S. Embassy will provide oversight and monitoring; concur on housing arrangements, including host family locations (regions, neighborhoods); represent the U.S. Government while the exchange activities are taking place in the host country; and assist program staff and participants in the event of an emergency. At the same time, the requirements of the grant are that the grantee organization must be able to manage the program in the host country in its entirety, with little reliance on the embassy staff for support.

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, and will cover all aspects of the programming in the United States and the partner country—the recruitment, selection, and orientation of the participants, the three to four weeks of exchange activities, and support of follow-on activities. Planning and preparation will start in late summer 2010, and the exchange activity will take place in 2011. Applicants must consult with their overseas partners and propose mutually agreeable times for the exchange(s) in their proposals. For instance, while the summer months may be a good time for Americans to travel, it may not be a suitable time for hosting activities in the partner country. The exact timing of the project may be altered through the mutual agreement of the Department of State and the grant recipient.

The grant recipient will be responsible for the following:

Recruitment and Selection: Manage the recruitment and merit-based selection of a diverse group of youth and adult participants from the United States. Diversity addresses, but is not limited to, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. The Bureau will have final approval of all selected delegations.

Orientations: Provide pre-departure and arrival orientations for exchange participants and orientations for those participating from the host countries, including host families.

Logistics: Manage all logistical arrangements, including passport and visa applications, international and domestic travel, local transportation, accommodations, group meals, and disbursement of stipends. This includes provision of effective interpretation and translation, as needed.

Exchange Activities: Design and plan three to four weeks of exchange activities in the partner country that provide a creative and substantive program on the specified themes and offer a thorough introduction to the host country's culture and the civic, cultural, and educational institutions. In addition to visiting the capital city or major city of the host country, the delegations should spend their time in no more than one or two locations so that the participants have time to familiarize themselves with a community. The program should focus primarily on interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities that reveal various aspects of the host country, such as group dialogues with peers, volunteer service projects, or visits with community and government leaders. Participants will explore leadership through activities such as project planning, team building, and public speaking. Visits to different types of educational institutions should be a component of each exchange. All programming will involve as much sustained interaction as possible with peers of the host country, for both the youth and adult participants. Cultural, social, and recreational activities will balance the schedule. Please see the POGI for more details.

Accommodations: Arrange home stays for the participants with properly screened and briefed families for the majority of the exchange period. Host families may receive a modest stipend to offset the cost of hosting, but not to serve as a financial incentive. Alternate housing arrangements will be considered based on the local environment; applicants must provide justification if home stays cannot be arranged. Once a grant is awarded, organizations must seek and obtain approval about host family locations from the U.S. Embassy in the partner country.

Monitoring: Develop and implement a plan to monitor the participants' safety and well-being while on the exchange and to resolve any issues promptly. The grant recipient will be required to provide proper staff supervision and facilitation to ensure that the teenagers have safe and pedagogically robust programs. Staff, along with the adult participants, will assist the youth with cultural adjustments, provide societal context to enhance learning, and counsel students as needed. For the safety and security of the American participants abroad, applicants must provide similar protections and oversight traditionally afforded to foreign students in the United States under the J-1 visa regulations.

Follow-on Activities: Plan and implement activities in the United States, particularly in facilitating continued engagement among the participants, advising and supporting them in the implementation of community service projects, and offering opportunities to reinforce the ideas, values and skills imparted during 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.

Evaluation: Design and implement an evaluation plan that assesses the impact of the program.

Other Notes

All materials, publicity, and correspondence related to the program will acknowledge this as a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The Bureau will retain copyright use of and be allowed to distribute materials related to this program as it sees fit.

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.

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.Start Printed Page 17992

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant Agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2010.

Approximate Total Funding: $2,084,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: Four to eight.

Approximate Average Award: $500,000.

Floor of Award Range: $200,000.

Ceiling of Award Range: $500,000.

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: All proposals must comply with the following or they will result in your submission being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

(a) 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 multiple awards in amounts exceeding $60,000 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.

(b) Proposed sub-award recipients are also limited to grant funding of $60,000 or less if they do not have four years of experience in conducting international exchanges.

(c) Eligible applicants may not submit more than one proposal under this competition. Applicant organizations are defined by their legal name and EIN number as stated on their completed SF-424 form and additional supporting documentation outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document.

(d) Eligible applicants may only propose working with the countries and themes listed under this RFGP.

(e) Eligible applicants may only propose to conduct one single-country project, two single-country projects, or one multi-country project.

(f) Eligible applicants must include in their proposal a letter of support from their partner organization(s) in the host country(ies) stating their agreement to carry out the proposed activities.

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) 632-9352, E-mail YLP@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-41 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. 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 Jennifer Phillips and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-41 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 Start Printed Page 17993Organization 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.

It is acknowledged that outbound American participants are not governed by the same protections of the J-1 visa regulations governing exchange students coming to the U.S. For the safety and security of the American participants abroad, applicants must provide similar protections and oversight traditionally afforded to foreign students in the United States under the J-1 visa regulations.

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 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 timeframe), 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.Start Printed Page 17994

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 $500,000. 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: Friday, May 28, 2010.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-10-41.

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 extra 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-10-41, 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 PhillipsJA@state.gov. As appropriate, the Bureau will provide these files electronically to Public Affairs Section(s) at the 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, Start Printed Page 179957 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 website, 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 Affairs Sections 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. 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.

6. 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;Start Printed Page 17996

(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: Jennifer Phillips, Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20522-0503, Tel (202) 632-9352, Fax (202) 632-9355, PhillipsJA@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/PY-10-41.

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 31, 2010.

Maura M. Pally,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2010-7971 Filed 4-7-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P