Federal Register: November 8, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 216)NoticesPage 63218-63222From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Public Notice 5987Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: Future Leaders Exchange Civic Education Workshop
Announcement Type: New Grant.
Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-08-03.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number:
Key Dates: Spring 2008.
Application Deadline: January 3, 2008.
Executive Summary: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the conduct of a spring 2008 Civic Education workshop for students participating in the academic year Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program. The goal of the workshop is to broaden the participants' knowledge and understanding of the democratic concepts that are integral to a civil society and provide them with tools they can take home to utilize as future leaders of their countries. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation
I. Funding Opportunity Description
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.
This workshop should provide an opportunity for participants to gain a better understanding of the democratic concepts and values that are an integral part of American society and culture. Concepts such as citizen empowerment, volunteerism, community action, and debate should be included in program components. The program should also enable participants to learn firsthand about the federal system of government, observe government institutions, hear about and discuss issues on the federal agenda, and interact with government officials. Dedicated time blocks should be provided for exposure to and education about the American electoral process, taking into account the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Special attention also should be paid to those issues that will be particularly significant to people from the countries of the former Soviet Union.
The recipient of the grant is responsible for developing and conducting the Civic Education Workshop based on the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) guidelines. The grantee organization will also be responsible for coordinating travel arrangements for each Workshop participant from his/her host community to Washington, D.C., and return, and for providing room and board for students during their time in Washington. The program should be arranged for seven days, including arrival and departure. The grantee organization will be provided with the names of the academic year students who will have been chosen for the Spring Workshop after competing in an essay contest. The essays will have been reviewed by independent, objective, specially-trained selectors.
The Workshop should be held in late winter or early spring 2008 during a time when Congress is in session. Proposals must effectively describe the organization's ability to accomplish the following essential components of the program:
1. Provide a one-week Civic Education workshop in Washington, DC, as described above and held at the time period indicated. Program components should include sessions on U.S. domestic and foreign policy, the role of the media in a civil society, citizen empowerment, volunteerism and community activism, and federalism.
2. In coordination with the Bureau's Youth Programs Division (ECA/ PE/C/PY), provide pre-program training for organization staff on the society and culture of participating countries.
3. Provide housing and meals for all students throughout the workshop.
4. Arrange roundtrip travel for participants from their U.S. host communities to Washington, DC, in coordination with FLEX placement organizations. (Note: Students will likely be coming from most of the 50 states.) Provide ground transportation for Workshop students in the DC area, including to and from Dulles Airport.
5. Provide opportunities to attend cultural events, and visit museums and monuments.
6. Coordinate with ECA/PE/C/PY and the Office of Legislative Affairs (H) in making appropriate arrangements for individual meetings for all Workshop participants with their respective Members of Congress (Senators and/or Representative).
7. Provide staff to assist in case of medical emergencies.
8. Incorporate a Workshop program component designed to facilitate students' transition from the DC program back to their host communities. Include a description of the ways in which all students will be encouraged to share what they have learned, both in their U.S. host communities and when they return to their home countries.
9. Provide a mechanism for evaluation of the program in terms of its impact on
[Page 63219]the students and its success in fulfilling the objectives.
A competitive proposal will incorporate important elements of American culture in sessions that are largely interactive and designed to appeal to high school-age students. The workshops must be substantive and academic while, at the same time, be paced realistically to meet the needs of young people.
Significant cost sharing is important since it will enable a greater number of students to participate. Therefore, those proposals that show more generous and creative cost sharing will be deemed more competitive. Please refer to the Program Objectives, Goals, and Implementation section of the Solicitation Package for greater detail regarding the design of component parts as well as other program information.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Grant Agreement.
Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2008.
Approximate Total Funding: $178,000.
Approximate Number of Awards: 1.
Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, March 2008.
Anticipated Project Completion Date: September 2008.
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 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 grant agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, the grantee organization must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as its 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 the organization does 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 awarding one grant, in an amount up to $178,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. As stated above, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost-sharing and funding from private sources in support of its programs.
(b.) Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the Application and Submission requirements described below or they will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.
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
The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division (ECA/PE/C/ PY), Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone (202) 203-7513; fax (202) 203-7529; e- mail: BeachLF@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. The Solicitation Package contains detailed award criteria, required application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. It also contains the POGI document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number (ECA/PE/C/PY-08-03) 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.
Please specify ECA Program Officer Diana Aronson and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number 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 grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov. Please read all lease 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. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission: Applicants 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 POGI for additional formatting and technical requirements.
IV.3c. You must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application. If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.
IV.3d. Please take into consideration the following information when preparing your proposal narrative:
IV.3d.1 Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa: The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the official program sponsor of the exchange program covered by this RFGP, and an employee of the Bureau will be the ``Responsible Officer'' for the program under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, organizations receiving grants under this RFGP will be third parties ``cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.'' The actions of grantee program organizations shall be ``imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with'' 22 CFR part 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization receiving a grant under this competition will render all assistance necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR part 62 et seq.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places critically important emphases on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by grantee program organizations and program participants to all regulations governing the J visa program status. Therefore, proposals should explicitly state in writing that the applicant is prepared to assist the Bureau in meeting all requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62. 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-44, Room 734, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Telephone: (202) 203-5029, FAX: (202) 453-8640.
IV.3d.2 Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines: Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non- political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. ``Diversity'' should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the ``Support for Diversity'' section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into your proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,'' the Bureau ``shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.'' Public Law 106-113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.
IV.3d.3. Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Proposals must include a plan to monitor and evaluate the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that your proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The Bureau expects that the grantee will track participants or partners and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, learning as a result of the program, changes in behavior as a result of the program, and effects of the program on institutions (institutions in which participants work or partner institutions). The evaluation plan should include indicators that measure gains in mutual understanding as well as substantive knowledge.
Successful monitoring and evaluation depend heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Your evaluation plan should include a description of your project's objectives, your anticipated project outcomes, and how and when you intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are ``smart'' (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable time frame), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your project objectives link to the goals of the program described in this RFGP.
Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. Output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes.
We encourage you to assess the following four levels of outcomes, as they relate to the program goals set out in the RFGP (listed here in increasing order of importance):
1. Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.
2. Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.
3. Participant behavior, 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.
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.)
The grantee organization will be required to provide reports analyzing its evaluation findings to the Bureau in its 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: Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. The award may not exceed $178,000. There must be a summary budget, as well as breakdowns
[Page 63221]reflecting both administrative and program budgets.
Organizations must bid on arranging a program for a minimum of 110 students but may increase the number of participants through cost sharing the additional expenses incurred. Proposals that maximize the number of students will be favorably viewed. One grant will be awarded for this activity.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further details, including a list of allowable costs for the program, complete budget guidelines, and formatting instructions.
IV.3f. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission: Application Deadline Date: Thursday, January 3, 2008. Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/ PY-08-03. 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., DHL, 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 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 seven copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/PY-08-03, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
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 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. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail from grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications.
It is the responsibility of all applicants submitting proposals via the Grants.gov Web portal to ensure that proposals have been received by Grants.gov in their entirety, and ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes. IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications: Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.
V. Application Review Information
V.1. Review Process
The Bureau will review all proposals for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants or 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. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission, as well as the objectives of the FLEX program. Program design must reflect an understanding of young people and of cultural traits that would be specific to this population.
2. 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.
3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan.
4. Multiplier effect/impact/follow on: Proposed programs should describe the impact that workshop participants will have on others, both in their U.S. host communities and in their respective Eurasian country after they return home. There should be a plan for providing students with tools they can take back to their Eurasian home countries to implement concepts and ideas they have gained from the workshop. Proposals also should explain how
[Page 63222]participants will be prepared to transition back to their host communities.
5. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (program venue and program evaluation) and program content (topics of program sessions and meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).
6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals.
7. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau Grant Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
8. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives are recommended. The successful applicant will be expected to submit a final report.
9. Cost-effectiveness/Cost-sharing: 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. Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.
VI. Award Administration Information
VI.1. 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 an Assistance Award Document (AAD) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The AAD and the original grant proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The AAD will be signed by an authorized Grants Officer, and mailed to the recipient's responsible officer identified in the application.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the ECA program office coordinating this competition.
VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions for the Administration of ECA agreements include the following:
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, ``Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.''
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, ``Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.''
OMB Circular A-87, ``Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Governments.''
OMB Circular No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.
OMB Circular No. A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments.
OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.
Please reference the following Web sites for additional information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants and http://exchanges.state.gov/education/grantsdiv/terms.htm#articleI.
You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one copy of a final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award.
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: Diana S. Aronson, Office of Citizen Exchanges/Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room 568, ECA/PE/C/PY-08-03, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Telephone (202) 203-7501, Fax (202) 203-7529, e-mail AronsonDS@state.gov.
All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/PY-08-03.
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
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.
Dated: October 29, 2007. C. Miller Crouch, Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
FR Doc. E7-21942 Filed 11-7-07; 8:45 amBILLING CODE 4710-05-P