U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY Tbilisi, PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SECTION
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Funding Opportunity Title: American Spaces Strategic Planning Program
Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-GEO-23-006-02032023
Deadline for Applications: 04/28/2023
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs/19.441 ASSF
Total Amount Available: $439,000
Maximum for Each Award: $439,000
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Embassy Tbilisi’s Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its American Spaces Strategic Planning Program. This is Notice of Funding Opportunity, outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding. Please carefully follow all instructions below.
Purpose of the Program:
The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, through Memorandums of Understanding with municipal governments and nonprofit organizations, has established a network of American Spaces in Georgia. The network currently includes nine American Corners and six American Shelves, although only the nine American Corners are eligible for strategic programming support from the U.S. government. Strategic programs are approved by a rolling basis by PDS staff and typically range from $100 to $6,000 for each project.
With this notice of funding opportunity, the Embassy seeks to establish partnership with one NGO partner to manage funds through cooperative agreements issued before October 1, 2023, to oversee programming and operations at the nine American corners. Note that funding often comes from different sources at different times and therefore requires separate agreements. Each agreement will be for a term of up to 12 months.
The partner NGO will work closely with the nine American Corners to develop operational and programming budgets, monitor and ensure effective spending and tracking of expenses, review project proposals before submission to the Embassy for approval, transfer funds to vendors for project implementation, report budget updates to the Embassy, and complete all required U.S. government documentation.
Authorizing legislation, type, and year of funding:
The source of funding is FY23 19.040 Smith-Mundt Public Diplomacy Programs and 19.441 Fulbright-Hays American Spaces Support Funds
- FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: Two awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $200,000 to a maximum of $439,000
Total available funding: $439,000
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2023 Public Diplomacy Funding and ASSF
Anticipated program start date: 10.01.2023
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation. The Public Diplomacy Section staff will review and approve every project funded by the NGO partner. The Public Diplomacy Section will monitor and evaluate those projects.
Program Performance Period: Proposed cooperative agreements should be completed in 12 months or less. The Department of State will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.
- ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
- Eligible Applicants
The Public Affairs Section encourages applications from Georgia:
- Registered local and international not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming and financial management experience
For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.
- Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required.
- Other Eligibility Requirements
Applicants are invited to submit one proposal per organization.
In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.
NOTE: sam.gov is not a State Department website and the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi is not involved in its operations. Please forward all questions related to registration process to sam.gov helpdesk. Instructions and FAQs are available on Embassy web site under Program Announcement Additional Resources. PDS will not be answering questions related to registration on sam.gov
If the SAMS.gov registration has not been finalized, applicants must demonstrate proof of their request for registration in SAMS.gov. See Required Registrations below for further information.
- APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
- Address to Request Application Package
Application forms required below are available at the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi website and on grants.gov
- Content and Form of Application Submission
Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.
Content of Application
- The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
- All documents are in English
- All budgets are in U.S. dollars
- All pages are numbered
- All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
- All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
The following documents are required:
- Mandatory application forms
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
- SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
- Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
- Proposal (5 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
- Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
- Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
- Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. Please develop your goals and objectives based on the Purpose of the Program as described in Section A.
- Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives. You are required to work closely with the American Corners, ensure they meet the budget criteria when requesting funding, screen/edit proposals before submitted for the Embassy’s review, monitor budget spending and provide monthly budget updates / spending report to the Embassy.
- Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
- Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program? We anticipate two staff members engaged in this program (e.g., accountant, project manager).
- Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissionsbelow for further information. Please see the budget template for detailed list of Corners’ operational and programming expenses and all required line items in the section H. The Embassy provides budgets for operational and programming line items; these amounts cannot be changed. Applicants may only add “Staffing” and “NICRA/Indirect Costs” line items to the budget.
- 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
- Official permission letters, if required for program activities
- Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.
Note: As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.
The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number. Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.
Note: The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
- Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at www.fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:
NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):
An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
- An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
- For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.
Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.
- Submission Dates and Times
The Public Diplomacy Section will accept proposals according to the following schedule:
- Proposals received between March 20, 2023 and April 28, 2023 will be reviewed by May 16, 2023, with responses going out by June 30, 2023.
- Funding Restrictions
Alcoholic Beverages: Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.
- Other Submission Requirements
All application materials must be submitted by email to Tbilisigrants@state.gov
Please include the Funding Opportunity Title in the email subject line
- APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined but not limited to below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.
Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PDS is confident of its ability to undertake the program. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Budget: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
- Review and Selection Process
A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.
For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:
- That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
- That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;
iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.
- FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
- Federal Award Notices
The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.
Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.
Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.
- Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply. These include:
2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at: https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.
Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.
- FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PDS at: Tbilisigrants@state.gov.
Note: We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO. Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.
- OTHER INFORMATION
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
Indirect Costs: These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating. If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.
Tentative budget template with line items
|Strategic Programming||$ 162,980.00|
|General programming||$ 30,000.00|
|Multimedia, Promotion items and Outreach||$ 54,100.00|
|Design and Furnishing||$ 34,490.00|
|Food and supplies for programming||$ 43,520.00|
|English classes for Spaces’ staff||$ 3,000.00|
|NICRA/Indirect costs||$ 30,000.00|
|Total budget||$ 438,270.00|