Notice of Funding Opportunity – American Space & Makerspace Almaty

Department of State – U.S. Consulate General, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Notice of Funding Opportunity

Program Office: Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate General – Almaty

Funding Opportunity Title: American Space & Makerspace Almaty

Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement

Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-KAZ-ALM-PAS-20-012

Deadline for Applications: September 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. GMT+2

CFDA: 19.441 – American Spaces

CONTACT INFORMATION

  1. For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
  2. For assistance with this solicitation, contact: KZ-PAS-Proposals@state.gov

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. SUMMARY
  2. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  3. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  4. FUNDING LEVELS AND ALLOWABLE EXPENSES
  5. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
  6. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
  7. REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS

A.SUMMARY

American Space & Makerspace Almaty (AS&MS) is the U.S. Mission’s premier venue for cultural programs and outreach in Kazakhstan. AS&MS supports U.S. public diplomacy in Kazakhstan by creating a welcoming, technology-forward space that fosters open discussion and debate, builds cultural bridges to deepen communication on key issues, provides opportunities for professional and personal skill-building, and sparks creativity, innovation, and collaboration around shared Kazakhstani and U.S. values.

The recipient organization will be responsible for staffing and operating AS&MS in close cooperation with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty. Key program activities under this cooperative agreement include managing local Kazakhstani staff with expertise in program and event management; purchasing and maintaining all necessary technology, materials, and supplies to support engagement with in-person and remote Kazakhstani audiences; and designing a flexible and dynamic program of activities each month to interact with Kazakhstani visitors and encourage visitors to return regularly to AS&MS. Decisions on staffing and program content will be made in consultation with the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty.

B. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

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

Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience working in Kazakhstan and should have a legally registered local office to provide program oversight. The applicant organization must be able to demonstrate the ability to administer all components of the program as outlined in this solicitation, and in cooperation with the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty.

Third country organizations and individuals are not eligible.

Cost Sharing or Matching

Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.

C.PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

American Space & Makerspace Almaty is one of more than 600 American Spaces supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State. American Space & Makerspace Almaty serves as the hub of a network of 10 American Spaces in Kazakhstan generating innovative program ideas that support the public diplomacy goals of the U.S. Mission in Kazakhstan. American Spaces exemplify the U.S. commitment to a core tenet of democracy: the citizen’s right to free access to information. American Space & Makerspace Almaty also supports the foundation of public diplomacy by creating a place for in-person engagement with Kazakhstani audiences. Mission personnel, official visitors, and implementing partners regularly connect with Kazakhstanis, especially young leaders and young professionals, to inspire dialogue on issues that matter most to U.S.-Kazakhstan relations.

In the nearly three years since its opening, American Space & Makerspace Almaty has become a widely-recognized, full-fledged cultural center that provides emerging leaders in Kazakhstan with a place to learn more about the United States, improve their English in an authentic environment, and interact with Americans. American Space & Makerspace has provided consistently high-quality programming and a professional and attractive online presence with over 18,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. The staff have partnered with over many local organizations to offer a dynamic and vibrant program of events that attracts an average of 2,500 visitors per month. Events are regularly streamed to online audiences to expand high-quality cultural and educational programs throughout the network of American Spaces in Kazakhstan. Also, as part of its tech-forward mission, American Space & Makerspace Almaty runs a makerspace with state-of-the-art design, prototyping, and audio-visual equipment to support business start-ups, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals. Dedicated staff provide training and mentor visitors to help them complete their projects. All services and events are currently free to the public.

Program Structure:

American Spaces are funded through ECA, with in-country oversight by the Public Affairs Staff at U.S. Embassies and Consulates where they are located. The recipient organization should be able to administer the daily operation of American Space & Makerspace Almaty without direct supervision of, but in close coordination with the U.S. Consulate General Almaty.

This cooperative agreement will provide funding for one year of activity. For up to two years, additional funds will be provided to maintain and upgrade the center (pending successful implementation of the program and pending availability of funds).

Program Activities:

  • Staffing American Space & Makerspace Almaty:

Applicants should propose a plan for providing employment to current American Space & Makerspace Almaty staff members as well as recruiting and selecting (with U.S. Consulate approval) new local Kazakhstani staff on an as-needed basis. The U.S. Consulate envisions the winning proposal including positions to support the following areas:

  1. Innovative Programming: Identifying and working with partners on initiatives that support the U.S. Embassy’s mission and public diplomacy goals.

  2. IT and Technology Innovations: Supporting the tech-forward nature of American Space & Makerspace Almaty, utilizing the most current digital tools to expand the audience for AS&MS events.

  3. Outreach and Social Media: Actively promoting American Space & Makerspace Almaty events and resources, maintaining dynamic and engaging website and social media platforms.

  4. Administration and Operations: Overseeing day-to-day administrative tasks in compliance with U.S. Embassy policies.

For the purpose of this project, the award recipient organization will act as the employer of all locally hired, full-time and temporary staff. The award recipient will be responsible for establishing transparent and fair employment practices. All policies are subject to review by the U.S. Consulate General Almaty. It is the responsibility of the award recipient to ensure that labor agreements are prepared and signed with each employee in full accordance with current Kazakhstan law, and all social security and tax deductions are accurately and timely performed by the employer.

The award recipient will advise all locally hired staff that the fact that the employee is employed by a U.S. Government partner does not absolve him/her from payment of any taxes imposed by any level of government in Kazakhstan.  The U.S. Government bears no liability or responsibility for the employment, benefits or welfare of the employee under employment agreement between the award recipient and the employee, nor will any credit for employment be given by the U.S. Government should the employee ever apply for a position with the U.S. Government.

  • Implementing Programs at American Space & Makerspace Almaty:

American Space & Makerspace Almaty programs are planned in consultation with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General and should be low-cost or even free to produce with the help of volunteers and local partners.

The proposal should include program activities that will be supported by funds through the cooperative agreement. These may include, but are not limited to: virtual lectures and discussions with Americans, translation support, dialogue programs with exchange program alumni, master classes in the arts, performances, presentations from representatives of U.S. universities, training workshops, MOOCs, honoraria for local guest speakers, etc. Approximately 40% of funding should be used for program activities.

The U.S. Consulate General in Almaty, both through the Public Affairs Section (PAS) and other Mission’s sections, also provides other programming opportunities at American Space & Makerspace Almaty. All activities of this kind organized or sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General will be integrated into the activities of American Space & Makerspace when appropriate. Therefore, programs proposed by the recipient are only some of the range of programming that ultimately will be provided at the Space.

  • Day-to-Day Operations at American Space & Makerspace Almaty:

The proposal should include a detailed operational plan for managing a full-fledged cultural center and STEM lab that is open to the public seven days a week. This includes, but is not limited to, a staff schedule to ensure coverage, and plans to procure supplies and materials necessary to provide the full range of services and programming typical of American Space & Makerspace including:

  • Internet services (in consultation with the host institution), IT support (including software), and maintenance of equipment such as photocopiers and A/V equipment
  • American Space & Makerspace Almaty social media platforms
  • Communications (telephone, postal services, etc.)
  • Supplemental furniture if needed
  • Supplemental equipment (additional or replacement iPads, computers, TV monitors, copy machine, printers) if needed
  • Marketing materials and promotional signs
  • Contractual services to maintain the center’s activities, including equipment repair, and furniture and flooring cleaning as needed.

Responsibilities:

  • The award recipient’s specific responsibilities for this program include, but may not be limited to:
  1. Hiring American Space & Makerspace Almaty (AS&MS) staff, as outlined above, recruiting new staff as needed;
  2. Developing programs and events at AS&MS: creating proposals (including budgets) for programs developed under the cooperative agreement, submitting those proposals for approval by the U.S. Consulate General one week before the start of each calendar month, and executing those proposals, ensuring that a minimum average of ten programs per week are taking place at AS&MS.
  3. Provide logistical and operational support for programs and events initiated through PAS Almaty’s public diplomacy programming or by PAS’s partner organizations;
  4. Assisting visitors at AS&MS;
  5. Managing a member database and encouraging repeat visitors to AS&MS;
  6. Marketing AS&MS to target audiences,
  7. Providing weekly updates on program attendance and a monthly report on AS&MS operations and programs to PAS Almaty;
  8. Develop a robust monitoring and evaluation plan to provide regular feedback to PAS Almaty on AS&MS operations, visitors, and program impact.
  9. Actively managing a social media presence for AS&MS;
  10. Purchasing materials and supplies for AS&MS including, but not limited to books, DVDs, games, magazines, software, technology, and resource materials on an as-needed basis;
  11. Ensuring that AS&MS is clean and all equipment is well-maintained;
  12. Procuring and supervising catering for a small number of events as approved by PAS Almaty;
  13. Liaise with the host institution, SmArt.Point.
  14. Provide capacity-building and support for the network of American Spaces in Kazakhstan through online or in-person trainings and periodic program initiatives.
  • In a cooperative agreement, the U.S. Consulate General is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine award monitoring. The Consulate’s activities and responsibilities for this program are as follows:
  1. Approve all American Space & Makerspace staff;
  2. Approve the purchase of major supplies, including but not limited to computers, iPads, books, DVDs;
  3. Provide policy guidance on key themes to be promoted in program development;
  4. Approve the monthly calendar of events at AS&MS;
  5. Provide guidance and oversight on the further development of AS&MS.
  6. Maintain the mutually beneficial partnership with the host institution, SmArt.Point.
  7. Provide additional programming opportunities through Public Affairs programs.
  8. Provide guidance on the State Department’s licensing agreement for film showings.

D. FUNDING LEVELS AND ALLOWABLE EXPENSES:

Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement

Anticipated period of performance: 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: 2

Floor of Individual Award Amounts: $50,000

Ceiling of Individual Award Amounts: $150,000

Subject to availability of funds, up to $150,000 is available for this program, which will support one cooperative agreement for the operation of American Space & Makerspace Almaty over the period of one year. Allowable costs are those directly related to the project activities. The program encourages organizations to provide in-kind contributions and/or coordinate funding with other donors. The Consulate reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.

Suggested program costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Staff salaries, benefits, taxes
  • Materials and supplies
  • Honoraria for program facilitators
  • Cultural and social activities
  • Meeting and workshop costs
  • Evaluation
  • Other justifiable expenses directly related to supporting program activities

While there is no rigid ratio of administrative to program costs, the Consulate urges applicants to keep administrative costs as low and reasonable as possible.

Proposals may not include funding requests for the following:

  • Ongoing operating costs and capital improvements
  • Purchase of vehicles
  • Activities that convey the appearance of partisanship or support for electoral campaigns
  • Social welfare projects
  • Academic or analytical research (if not part of a larger project)
  • Scholarships
  • Medical and psychological research
  • Clinical studies
  • Provision of health care services
  • Entertainment costs (receptions, social activities, ceremonies, alcoholic beverages,

cocktail parties, guided tours)

  • Costs associated with travel to the United States and activities in the United States
  • Commissioning or creating art work (unless part of a broader project)

E. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Period of Performance: The new cooperative agreement will be valid from November 1, 2020 until October 30, 2021. Awards for two additional years may be provided on a non-competitive basis pending successful completion of the first year of the program and pending the availability of funds. The U.S. Consulate General in Almaty anticipates that there will be no disruption in the operation of American Space & Makerspace Almaty programs and activities.

Application Deadline: All applications must be received on or before September 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. GMT+2. Applications submitted after that time will be ineligible for consideration. There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.

Applications are accepted in English only, and final grant agreements will be concluded in English. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement will not be considered.

Application Submission Process: There are two submissions methods available to applicants. Applicants may submit their application using Submission Method A or Submission Method B outlined below.

  • Submission Method A: Submitting all application materials directly to the following email address: KZ-PAS-Proposals@state.gov. Applicants opting to submit applications via email to KZ-PAS-Proposals@state.gov must include the Funding Opportunity Title and Funding Opportunity Number in the subject line of the email like so: American Space & Makerspace Almaty Program: Name of Individual or Organization.
  • Submission Method B: Submitting all application materials through Grants.gov. For those opting to apply through Grants.gov, thorough instructions on the application process are available at http://www.grants.gov. For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or go to https://www.grants.gov/support.html. Please note that KZ-PAS-Proposals@state.gov is unable to assist with technical questions or problems applicants experience with Grants.gov.

Applicants utilizing Grants.gov must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application. Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it could take as long as two weeks to have the registration validated and confirmed. Please begin the registration process immediately to ensure that the process is completed well in advance of the deadline for applications. Until that process is complete, you will not be issued a user password fo Grants.gov, which is required for application submission.

There are four steps that you must complete before you are able to register:

  1. Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)
    1. DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, if your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
    2. NCAGE application: Application page here (but need to click magnifying glass and then scroll down to click new registration) https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
      1. Instructions for the NCAGE application process:https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf
        1. For help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
        2. For help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
      2. Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code. After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov/
  2. Step 2: Once DUNS and NCAGE are obtained, continue to SAM registration on www.SAM.gov
  3. Step 3: Once SAM registration is confirmed, continue to Grants.gov organization registration http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html.Organizations must maintain an active SAM registration (www.SAM.gov) with current information at all times during which they have an active Federal award or an application under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. SAM registration must be renewed annually. Given the volume of applications, review may take up to 90 days, and we are unable to individually confirm receipt of proposals.
  4. Step 4: Register yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and be authorized as an AOR by your organization on www.grants.gov

For more information, go to www.grants.gov. Please note that your SAM registration must be annually renewed. Failure to renew your SAM registration may prohibit submission of a grant application through Grants.gov.

Timely receipt requirements and proof of timely submission

All applications must be received by the deadline communicated in this NOFO. Proof of timely submission is automatically recorded by Grants.gov. An electronic time stamp is generated within the system when the application is successfully received by Grants.gov. Applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a tracking number from Grants.gov with the successful transmission of their application. Applicants should print this receipt and save it as proof of timely submission.

When PAS successfully retrieves the application from Grants.gov and acknowledges the download of submissions, Grants.gov will provide an electronic acknowledgment of receipt to the email address of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Proof of timely submission shall be the date and time that Grants.gov receives your application. Applications received by Grants.gov after the established due date for the program will be considered late and will not be considered for funding.

Applicants using dial-up connections should be aware that transmission should take some time before Grants.gov receives it. Grants.gov will provide either an error or a successfully received transmission message. The Grants.gov Contact Center reports that some applicants abort the transmission because they think that nothing is occurring during the transmission process. Please be patient and give the system time to process the application. Uploading and transmitting many files, particularly electronic forms with associated XML schemas, will take some time.

Applications are due no later than September 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. GMT+2

Application Content and Format: Applicants must follow the instructions and conditions contained herein and supply all information required.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

 

Applicants should submit a proposal describing the program in a convincing and comprehensive manner. Since there is no opportunity for applicants to meet with reviewing officials, the proposal should respond to the criteria set forth in the solicitation and other guidelines as clearly as possible. Proposals should address succinctly, but completely, the elements described below and must follow all format requirements.

NOTE: Proposals must be in the following formats:

– Microsoft Word

– Microsoft Excel

– Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)

Proposals should include the following items under the section headings in the Grant Solutions Application Checklist:

Online Forms

SF-424, “Application for Federal Assistance”

SF-424A, Budget Information – Non-Construction Programs

SF-424B, “Assurances – Nonconstruction Programs”

SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,” if applicable

Executive Summary

In one double-spaced page, provide a summary of the proposed program including information on the applicant, an overview of program activities, and funding level requested from the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty.

Narrative

Within 20 double-spaced, single sided pages with one inch margins, in a size 12 New Times Roman font, provide a detailed description of the project addressing the areas listed below. In the narrative, applicants should not only describe major program activities but also explain and justify their programmatic choices.

  1. Vision: Describe the project objectives and the desired outcomes.
  1. Staffing: Describe how the applicant will provide adequate oversight of the programming through program and administrative staff in support of the project.
  1. Project Activities: Describe the key components of the program including a monthly program of activities for visitors and programs not limited to local and U.S. Mission guest speakers, workshops, English-language clubs, book clubs, virtual lectures and discussions with Americans, dialogue programs with exchange program alumni, presentations from representatives of U.S. universities, and other thematic programming in support of key issues and topics of importance to Kazakhstani audiences and U.S. foreign policy goals; providing and maintaining all necessary supplies and services for American Space & Makerspace Almaty programming including.
  1. Monitoring: Detail how the applicant will ensure the program will be effectively monitored throughout its duration.
  1. Evaluation: In the submitted proposal, applicants should include a plan describing how success in meeting the stated goals of the program will be measured and reported. The Embassy recommends that the proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other method.
  1. Diversity: Explain how the program managers will proactively support diversity in program content, demonstrating how diversity can contribute to a vibrant civil society. Diversity should be defined broadly to include geographic, urban/rural, ethnic, racial, socio-economic, sexual orientation and religious diversity. To the greatest extent possible, American Space & Makerspace programs and activities should be made available online to Kazakhstan’s national American Spaces network.
  1. Institutional Capacity and Project Management: Outline the applicant organization’s capacity to conduct projects of this nature, focusing on the provision of educational and thematic programs; and previous work in the region. If applicable, outline how the applicant can tie in additional programs and resources from existing projects that can strengthen and diversify American Space & Makerspace programming.
  1. Work Plan/Schedule: Outline the phases of the project planning and implementation for the entire award period. Provide a sample draft schedule of activities in a given month.

Additional Attachments

  • Work Plan / Calendar of Activities
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Copy of indirect agreement, if applicable
  • Detailed budget (excel)
  • Budget narrative

Technical Requirements

Address to Request Application Package

This NOFO document and any amendments can be found at www.grants.gov (search by Opportunity Number).

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

Please ensure:

  1. The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  2. All documents are in English
  3. All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  4. All pages are numbered
  5. All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  6. All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms: Standard Forms 424 are available, along with guidance for completing these forms, at: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms.html under the heading, “SF-424 Family.”
    1. SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
    2. SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
    3. SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  2. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, project title, project period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the project.
  3. Proposal (30 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.
    1. Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
    2. Introduction to the Organization Applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the project, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
    3. Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed
    4. Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
    5. Project Activities: Describe the project activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
    6. Program Methods and Design: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate
    7. Proposed Project Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the project activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events
    8. Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the project. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this project?
    9. Project Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees
    10. Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal will outline in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and objectives (listed above). A strong proposal will include:
      1. Any outcomes the grantee expects to occur because of their program. Outcomes could include: change in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group; etc. Proposals should also include how the grantee will know those outcomes are occurring (surveys, interviews, observations, etc.)
        1. For example: If the program expects that a teacher-training program will improve the skills of a teacher, a proposal may explain the skills the teacher would gain and plan to perform a pre and post survey that would show a change in understanding due to the program.
      2. A schedule of when grant activities will occur (such as participant selection, workshops, travel, lectures, trainings, etc.), and when the grantee will check the grant’s progress to know how it is performing. Results of those checks are expected to be reported in the quarterly reports.
      3. A plan to include the grantee’s reflection of how their program, as a whole, contributed to the program’s goals. As applicable, a strong final report would be supported by success stories, behaviors changed, lessons learned, and results obtained.
    11. Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  4. Budget Justification Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
    1. Publishing short informational publications, manuals and public informational materials are allowable. All publishing should be clearly linked to the project activity, should describe the intended audience, provide a clear understanding of the material’s content, how materials will be distributed, and specify who is responsible for the distribution of the materials. The Public Affairs Section reserves the right to review and approve all funded publications.
    2. Salaries (including income tax and social deductions), equipment, and other administrative expenses are allowable only as they relate to specific project activities. Salary or honoraria should be listed according to rate of pay and percentage of time spent on program-related activities. While salary expenses are permissible for local personnel, payment of honoraria and other expenses for foreign experts will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Public Affairs Section strongly urges applicants to consider utilizing local and regional experts.
    3. Equipment bought with Public Affairs Section grant money can only be procured locally. Any request for computer equipment must include the procurement of original, not pirated, software.
    4. Any equipment which is procured grant funds is loaned to the NGO and remains the property of the U.S. Embassy for a minimum of three years. This is to ensure that equipment will not be used for personal matters and that equipment will be returned to the U.S. Embassy should the NGO cease its activities. At the end of project or three years, the Public Affairs Section will review the work of the NGO to determine whether 1) the loan will be extended, 2) the equipment will be given permanently to the NGO, or 3) the equipment will be returned to the U.S. Embassy.
    5. Coffee breaks and working lunches only will be considered on case by case basis and should be clearly justified and limited to a maximum of 10% of the total award amount.
    6. Lodging costs should be indicated separately from meal costs related to the project activities.
  5. Organization Information
    1. Applicant Organization Survey: Applicants must complete and submit the survey (Attachment 1).
    2. A copy of the organization’s registration should be provided with the proposal application. U.S.-based organizations should submit a copy of their IRS determination letter. Kazakhstan-based organizations should submit a copy of their certificate of registration from the appropriate government organization.
  6. Attachments:
    1. 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the project
    2. Letters of support should be included for sub-awardees or other partners. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership. The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length.
    3. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
    4. Official permission letters, if required for project activities.

Please note:

  1. Other items NOT required/requested for submission, but which may be requested if your application is approved for funding include:
    1. Copies of an organization or program audit within the last two (2) years
    2. Copies of relevant human resources, financial, or procurement policies
    3. Copies of other relevant organizational policies or documentation that would help the Department determine your organization’s capacity to manage a federal grant award overseas.
  1. The Embassy reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial information regarding the proposal.

Applications are accepted in English only, and final grant agreements will be concluded in English.

F. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS:

All organizations applying to receive Federal assistance must have a Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS), a CCR (NCAGE) number, and an active account with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) before an award can be issued.

Dun &Bradstreet DUNS – A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or requesting on-line at https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/index.jsp. The DUNS number is a nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities. All organizations applying for U.S. government grant funds must have a DUNS number. To obtain a DUNS number, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/CCRSearch.jsp.
  2. Select the country where your organization is physically located. Complete and submit the form. Organizations will need to provide basic information, including physical and mailing addresses, name and title of the chief executive, primary Standard Industrial Code (SIC), and annual revenue. Typically, organizations can complete this process in one day and have a DUNS number emailed to them. For technical difficulties in obtaining this number, please contact D&B at: SAMHelp@dnb.com

System for Award Management (SAM) – SAM is a U.S.-government wide registry of vendors doing business with the U.S. federal government and requires annual renewal. The system centralizes information about grant applicants/recipients, and provides a central location for grant applicants/recipients to change organizational information. More information about SAM.gov and useful guides for setting-up a new account, updating an existing account, or renewing an expired account can be found at: https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Pages/SAMInfo.aspx

Foreign-based applicants are strongly encouraged to review these guides when creating an account with SAM.gov. Further, applicants must maintain an active account, with current information, while its application is under consideration for funding. To keep an active SAM.gov account, Applicants must renew it at least once each year. If an account expires, theOrganization cannot submit a grant application until it is renewed.

To create a new account, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to http://www.sam.gov.
  2. Select Create User Account, and then select Create an Account on the left-hand side of the screen under Individual Account Details. Organizations must have DUNS number and a CAGE number (US Domestic Organizations) or a NCAGE number (Foreign Organizations), to create an account.
  3. Complete and submit the online form. If the applying organization already has the necessary information on hand (see the SAM User Guide), the online form takes approximately one hour to complete, depending upon the size and complexity of the applying entity. Because of the different steps in the process, it can take anywhere from three to fourteen days to complete the process of creating an account with the system.

For help with SAM.gov, please visit their support page at: https://www.fsd.gov or contact them at: (+1) 334-206-7828.

G. REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS

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.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

The Consulate Public Diplomacy Grants Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate proposals received in response to this funding opportunity:

Program Goals and Objectives/Activities Plan: A clear overview of the program, as well as goals and objectives, should be indicated in the proposal. The Embassy Public Diplomacy Grants Committee will closely consider whether the overall objectives match the stated goals of the program. Applicants should describe what they propose to do and how they will do it. The proposed activities must directly relate to meeting the goals and objectives, and applicants should include information on how they will measure activities’ effectiveness. Proposals should have a clear monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure proper implementation of the program. The Grants Committee will evaluate the activities planned in terms of their relevance to the current situation and the program goals and objectives, the feasibility of the proposed activities, and their timeline for completion.

Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional resources in both the United States and Kazakhstan should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record of successful programs in the host country, including responsible fiscal management and adherence to local laws. The proposal should demonstrate and ability to function independently in the host country, ideally with a local office that is able to provide constant oversight of the program in country.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation: The proposal should include a plan to evaluate the program’s success in meeting its goals, both as the activities unfold and after they have been completed. The proposal should include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique, plus a description of a methodology to link outcomes to original project objectives. The award recipient will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded.

Budget: Costs should be reasonable and realistic in relation to the program activities.

Applicants are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible so that the committee may determine the extent to which the request represents an efficient use of U.S. government resources. The budget should be consistent with the narrative description of the program and should reflect the applicant’s understanding of the allowable cost principles established by Title 2 CFR 200.306 (part 230) on cost principles for non-profit organizations.

Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is strongly encouraged; however, it is not a requirement of an application in response to this funding announcement.

NOTE: The cooperative agreement can be renewed twice on an annual basis pending successful implementation of the program, and subject to availability of funds.

Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

  • Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 20 points: The program idea should be innovative and well developed, with sufficient detail about how project activities will be carried out. The proposals should demonstrate originality and outline clear, achievable objectives. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The project scope is appropriate and clearly defined.
  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 25 points:
    • The project proposal demonstrates that the organization has sufficient expertise, skills, and human resources to implement the project.
    • The organization demonstrates that it has a clear understanding of the underlying issue that the project will address.
    • The organization demonstrates capacity for successful planning and responsible fiscal management. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
    • Applicants who have received grant funds previously have been compliant with applicable rules and regulations.
    • Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides curriculum vitae (CVs) for persons responsible for the project and financial administration. Proposed personnel, institutional resources, and partners are adequate and appropriate
  • Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 30 points: The project plan is well developed, with sufficient detail about how activities will be carried out. The proposal specifies target audiences, participant recruitment, and geographic areas of implementation. The proposal outlines clear, achievable objectives. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The project scope is appropriate and clearly defined.
    • A media or amplification plan (if appropriate) that shows how the organization will use social or traditional media or otherwise increase the number of people who gain exposure to the issue and knowledge of the activities beyond the core participants.
  • Budget – 15 points: The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently detailed. The budget demonstrates that the organization has devoted time to accurately determine expenses associated with the project instead of providing rough estimates. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project. Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation – 10 points: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The organization has clearly articulated how it will assess and measure its own performance throughout the project implementation phase using concrete quantitative and qualitative assessment tools.

DISCLAIMER:

Applicants can expect to be notified of the status of their application by no later than September 20, 2020. Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the United States Government (USG). It does not commit the USG to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. The USG reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received. If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Consulate General Almaty has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award. The USG reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements.

H. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: KZ-PAS-Proposals@state.gov

For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.

To inquire about the process for obtaining a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) contact Donald Hunter at HunterDS@state.gov.