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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Cultural Visitors Program

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Announcement Type: New Cooperative Agreement.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.415.

Key Dates:

Application Deadline: May 20, 2010.

Executive Summary: The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks an organization with a strong Washington presence to assist the Office of Citizen Exchanges, Cultural Programs Division, in the implementation of short-term, high-visibility cultural exchanges taking place during calendar years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Approximately 60 visitors from countries around the world will participate in initiatives/projects in the United States designed to promote interaction between foreign participants and their American peers. Cultural Visitors will include artists and arts professionals as well as youth with a special interest in the arts.Start Printed Page 21120

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 goal of the Cultural Visitors Program is to provide foreign artists, arts professionals and foreign youth (aged 15-18 at the time of the exchange) with a special interest in the arts, an opportunity to travel to the United States to participate in intensive thematic and professional exchanges that will strengthen their career potential and deepen their understanding of U.S. society and culture. Specifically, this program will enable participants to:

  • Strengthen professional potential through training, workshops and meetings that also provide new contacts and build networks;
  • Foster understanding and build relationships with others from different ethnic, religious, and national groups;
  • Learn more about U.S. society and culture, thereby countering negative stereotypes;
  • Present their own culture to Americans;
  • Become part of a network of leaders who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers and the broader community.

The award recipient must provide overall programmatic, logistical, and administrative support for each of approximately 60 foreign visitors for U.S.-based exchanges of approximately 5-30 days. Participants will include foreign educators, social influencers, artists, arts managers, and foreign youth with special interest in the arts.

The Cultural Visitors Program will include participation in American cultural and historic projects developed in cooperation with the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), as well as individually-designed programs focused on the visual arts, dance, music, drama, film, literature, and other artistic and humanistic genres.

The award recipient will work closely with Cultural Programs Division staff, who will guide them through programmatic, procedural, and budgetary issues for the full range of Cultural Visitor programs. Most projects will start and end in Washington, DC. Other activities will take place at other sites in the United States. The exchange format will be intensive and interactive, weaving together both formal and informal sessions to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Applicants must present program plans that allow the participants to thoroughly explore the themes in a creative, memorable, and practical way. Activities should be designed to be replicable and provide practical knowledge and skills that the participants can apply back in their home country. Staff from the selected organizations will be expected to be available and/or attend certain components of the visitor programs, when necessary and appropriate, and in coordination with ECA.

Programs must contain substantive educational sessions or meetings that focus on program objectives presented by experts. Orientation sessions, meetings, site visits, and other program activities should promote dialogue between participants and their U.S. professional counterparts. Some cultural programs for adult participants may include a home stay or community visit.

In a cooperative agreement, ECA/PE/C/CU is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine monitoring. ECA/PE/C/CU responsibilities for this program are as follows:

  • Selection of participants, who can be from any country and any region in the world;
  • Participation in the general design and direction of program activities;
  • Approval and input on program timelines and agendas;
  • Guidance in execution of all program components;
  • Review and approval of all program publicity and recruitment materials;
  • Approval of decisions related to special circumstances or problems throughout duration of program;
  • Management of all SEVIS-related issues, including issuance of DS-2019s for travel to the U.S.;
  • Assistance with participant emergencies;
  • Liaison with relevant U.S. Embassies and country desk officers at the State Department.

In consultation with ECA, the recipient will:

  • Plan and coordinate all aspects of the visits, including generating suggestions for visitors based on their specific area of expertise;
  • Arrange and pay for all air travel (domestic and international) and local transportation;
  • Enroll participants in USG sponsored health care coverage (ASPE) and issue insurance cards upon arrival;
  • Oversee all logistical aspects for the arrival of the visitors to the United States, and their departure;
  • Prepare briefing materials;
  • Locate, reserve and pay for hotels and/or home stays as applicable;
  • Locate, reserve and pay for meeting rooms and/or other facilities;
  • Engage appropriate cultural figures and arrange for meetings/events with them;
  • Design and plan substantive and well-organized activities;
  • Coordinate and pay for escorts and interpreters;
  • Provide adult supervision for youth (aged 15-18 at the time of the exchange), including for overnight stays. Minors shall not stay with host families;
  • Arrange for orientation and de-briefing sessions.

For purposes of this proposal, please use the following Cultural Visitor program as a model: Two music teachers from Jakarta, Indonesia, working with at-risk youth, will participate in a five-day orientation in Washington, DC and a seven-day individually-designed professional study program in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon the conclusion of their workshop or study program, the two visitors will travel from St. Louis, Missouri to Atlanta, Georgia, where they will experience a three-day home stay, prior to returning to Indonesia. The total length of this program will be 15 days. Program theme is `using the arts as a mechanism for dealing with at-risk-youth.'

Proposals must demonstrate how these activities and/or objectives will be met and provide detailed information on major program activities as well as a justification for programmatic choices.

Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the complete Solicitation Package—this RFGP, the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI), and the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)—for further information.

For projects involving participants under the age of 18 specifically, please note the following:

The grant recipient must have a clear and careful recruitment, screening, and Start Printed Page 21121selection process for chaperones, and must also provide the chaperones with an orientation prior to the arrival of their exchange participants, emphasizing the goals of the program. The orientation will provide chaperones with detailed information on the exchange program, the parameters of their participation, duties, and obligations, and information on cultural differences and practices. Chaperone references should be checked.

Projects with minor participants will involve additional requirements, which will be determined and communicated by the program office prior to each individual project.

While exchange participants may share a hotel room with someone of a similar age and the same gender, each must have his or her own bed.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2010.

Approximate Total Funding: $500,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: One.

Approximate Average Award: $500,000.

Anticipated Award Date: August 25, 2010.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: June 30, 2012.

Additional Information

Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew this grant or cooperative agreement for two additional fiscal years, before openly competing it 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

(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 an award in an amount of $500,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement theses exchange programs. 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) Award recipients must have a Washington, DC presence. Applicants who do not currently have a Washington, DC presence must include a detailed plan in their proposal for establishing such a presence by October 1, 2010. The costs related to establishing such a presence must be borne by the award recipient. No such costs may be included in the budget submission in this proposal. The award recipient must have e-mail capability, access to Internet resources, and the ability to exchange data electronically with all partners involved in the Cultural Visitors Program.

(c) Proposals must demonstrate that an applicant has an established resource base of programming contacts and the ability to keep this resource base continuously updated. This resource base should include speakers, thematic specialists, or practitioners in a wide range of professional fields in both the private and public sectors.

(d) Technical Eligibility: In addition to the requirements outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) technical format and instructions document, all proposals must comply with the following or they will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

The Office does not support proposals limited to conferences or seminars (i.e., one- to fourteen-day programs with plenary sessions, main speakers, panels, and a passive audience). It will support conferences only when they are a small part of a larger project in duration that is receiving Bureau funding from this competition.

No funding is available exclusively to send U.S. citizens to conferences or conference-type seminars overseas; nor is funding available for bringing foreign nationals to conferences or to routine professional association meetings in the United States.

The Office of Citizen Exchanges does not support academic research or faculty or student fellowships.

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 Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C/CU, SA-05, Third Floor, U.S. Department of State, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0503, telephone number: 202-632-6422, fax number: 202-632-9355 or e-mail: ProctorLM@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54 located at the top of this announcement when making your request.

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

The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. 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 LaFaye Proctor and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54 located at the top of this announcement on all other inquiries and correspondence.

IV.2. To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​rfgps/​menu.htm, or from the Start Printed Page 21122Grants.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: United States Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD, SA-05, Floor C2, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0582, Telephone: (202) 632-9298, FAX: (202) 632-2900.

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 Start Printed Page 21123include 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.

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, demonstrating 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. The award request 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.

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

1. Educational materials;

2. Participant travel (domestic, local, and in some cases, international, transportation);

3. Orientations and de-briefings;

4. Cultural and social activities;

5. Meeting costs;

6. Food and lodging;

7. Interpreters and translation, when necessary;

8. Follow-on activities;

9. Evaluation;

10. Stipends or allowances;

11. Other justifiable expenses directly related to supporting program activities.

Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3f. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission

Application Deadline Date: May 20, 2010.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54.

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 ten copies of the application should be sent to: Program Start Printed Page 21124Management Division, ECA-IIP/EX/PM, Ref.: ECA/A/S/U-10-01, SA-05, Floor 4, Department of State, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0504.

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

IV.3f.2 Submitting Electronic Applications

Applicants have the option of submitting proposals electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov). Complete solicitation 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 cooperative agreements resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

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

1. Program Planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. Program schedules should reflect innovative and relevant itineraries, and creative and dynamic meetings and site visits.

2. Ability To Achieve Program Objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Your proposal should clearly demonstrate how your organization will meet the program's objectives and plan.

3. Multiplier Effect/Impact: The proposed program should strengthen long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages.

4. Support of Diversity: Your proposal should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).

5. Project Evaluation: Your proposal should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that the proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique, plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives.

6. Institution's Record/Ability/Institutional Capacity: Your proposal should demonstrate an institutional record of successful international exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by the Bureau's Grants Office. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project goals.Start Printed Page 21125

7. Cost-effectiveness: 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.

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.1b The Following Additional Requirements Apply to This Project

A critical component of current U.S. Government Iran policy is the support for indigenous Iranian voices. The State Department has made the awarding of grants for this purpose a key component of its Iran policy. As a condition of licensing these activities, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has requested the Department of State to follow certain procedures to effectuate the goals of Sections 481(b), 531(a), 571, 582, and 635(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (as amended); 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B; Executive Order 13224; and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6. These licensing conditions mandate that the Department conduct a vetting of potential Iran grantees and sub-grantees for counter-terrorism purposes. To conduct this vetting the Department will collect information from grantees and sub-grantees regarding the identity and background of their key employees and Boards of Directors.

Note:

To assure that planning for the inclusion of Iran complies with requirements, please contact LaFaye Proctor, telephone number 202-632-6422, e-mail ProctorLM@state.gov for additional information.

All awards made under this competition must be executed according to all relevant U.S. laws and policies regarding assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and to the West Bank and Gaza. Organizations must consult with relevant Public Affairs Offices before entering into any formal arrangements or agreements with Palestinian organizations or institutions.

Note:

To assure that planning for the inclusion of the Palestinian Authority complies with requirements, please contact LaFaye Proctor, telephone number 202-632-6422, e-mail ProctorLM@state.gov.

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 two copies of the following reports:

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

(2) A concise, one-page final program report summarizing program outcomes no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award. This one-page report will 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. A SF-PPR, “Performance Progress Report” Cover.

(3) Quarterly program and financial reports are required that provide concise information on all programs completed that quarter as well as a description of planning undertaken for programs taking place in the following quarter. Financial reports should describe funding allocated to each program completed as well as an estimated budget for programs to be undertaken in the next quarter.

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.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, contact: LaFaye Proctor, Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C/CU, 3-D11, ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54, U.S. Department of State, SA-5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0503, telephone number: 202-632-6422, fax number: 202-632-9355, e-mail ProctorLM@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number: ECA/PE/C/CU-10-54.

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.

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Start Printed Page 21126

Dated: April 15, 2010.

Maura M. Pally,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2010-9328 Filed 4-21-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P