Notice of Funding Opportunity

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U.S. Embassy Singapore Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce a funding opportunity through its Public Diplomacy Grants Program. Click here to learn more about the Embassy Small Grants Program.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

U.S. EMBASSY SINGAPORE

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title:                 U.S.-Singapore 55th Anniversary (USSG55) Virtual Photo Exhibition

Funding Opportunity Number:          PAS-SINGAPORE-FY21-003

Deadline for Applications:                  May 30, 2021

CFDA Number:                                     19.040

Total Amount Available:                     $30,000 USD

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore announces an open competition for local partners to curate, develop, and produce a virtual photo exhibition celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Singapore.

The United States has established strong and longstanding economic, defense, political, and people-to-people connections with Singapore since 1966.  In 2021, U.S. Embassy Singapore will commemorate the 55th anniversary of U.S.-Singapore diplomatic ties with a series of USSG55 programs.  Produced as part of a year-long USSG55 campaign, the USSG55 virtual photo exhibition will showcase the shared history of the United States and Singapore through photos and stories that promote understanding and appreciation of the United States and Singapore’s historic diplomatic relations and shared future.  The virtual exhibition will be launched by October 2021 and will be available for free public access.

 

U.S. Embassy Singapore will provide funds to support costs of curating, designing, and producing the virtual photo exhibition, facilitating public outreach efforts, and marketing and promotion support.  Partnerships will leverage a shared interest to promote close connections between the United States and Singapore and engage the public in activities that strengthen ties between the two countries.

  1. Priority Region: Singapore
  2. Program Objective:
    To curate, develop, and produce the USSG55 virtual photo exhibition to showcase the United States and Singapore’s shared history.
  3. Participants and Audiences:
    The virtual photo exhibition will engage public members that include Singaporeans, Americans, and other communities who are interested to learn more about U.S-Singapore relations.
  4. Elements of the Program Proposal:

Proposals should outline how the partner organization will: (A) Provide curation and design of the virtual photo exhibition; (B) Provide project management including administrative, logistical, and technical support to develop and produce the virtual photo exhibition; (C) Plan and facilitate public outreach efforts.

Proposals should outline how U.S. government funding will be utilized to achieve these goals, in addition to any cost-share to be provided by the partner organization.  Cost sharing is not a requirement.

Proposals should outline how the recipient will utilize U.S. government funds and cost-sharing to provide a robust set of services.  Please refer to the following example scope of work to develop the proposal.  Applicants are welcome to propose a different scope of work with the understanding that awarded funds will be commensurate with services provided:

  • (A) Curate the content of the virtual photo exhibition after conducting research and consultation with the Embassy. Present the photos through a compelling narrative and engaging storytelling that focus on themes covering U.S.-Singapore diplomatic relations, official visits, partnerships, businesses, and cultural exchanges.  Source photos (some to be provided by the Embassy, who owns the rights for use), ensure the selected photos are of high quality, and obtain all necessary intellectual property and copyrights for reproducing the photos.  Prepare and finalize the copywriting for the text/scripts of the exhibition, displays, and presentations that are suitable and easily understood by the target audience.  Multimedia files including photos, audio, and video files should be integrated into the photo exhibition.

The content should cover these thematic priorities:

    • The United States and Singapore’s shared history that has built a strong foundation for a secure, prosperous, and innovative shared future
    • The United States and Singapore’s enduring connections that bring strength and stability to the United States, Singapore, and the Indo-Pacific region
    • The indispensable partnership between the United States and Singapore
  • (A) Provide a domain and server hosting for two years. The website can be a microsite with the capability to be connected to the Embassy’s website.  Facilitate transfer of website management to the Embassy after two years.  The website must be compatible with commonly-used web browsers and come with a downloadable version, e.g. offline viewing version.  The website must support presentation of multimedia files including photos, audio, and video files.
  • (A) Provide a creative, functional, and responsive design for the website. Design should be responsive to scale and support all resolutions from desktop to mobile.  The user journey and navigation of the website should be intuitive and optimized, with emphasis on usability, readability, and interactivity.  User experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI) should enhance the user journey and facilitate online interaction with the photos.  The photos and videos exhibited on the website should be optimized with short loading time (less than five seconds).  The design and website should provide accessibility functions where possible. 
  • (B) Appoint a project management team that will curate, design, and produce the virtual photo exhibition in a cohesive manner on time and within budget. Ensure the team members have relevant experience in art, curation, exhibition design, web design, technical support, education, media and public outreach, international project management, and/or events and programming.  Manage the program schedule, costs, manpower, maintenance, and security.  
  • (B) Provide system maintenance and technical support. Provide a minimum of one year warranty period for maintenance against bugs and glitches after the website is published.  The website should be equipped with strong security features to safeguard the content and prevent unauthorized access.  Ensure personal data protection if any personal data is collected via the website.
  • (B) Coordinate with all relevant partners for the administrative, logistical, and technical arrangements. Secure and work with partners as needed for the implementation of the exhibition such as web designers, technical experts, media, and production companies, if applicable.
  • (C) Propose a public engagement and outreach plan to engage and educate the public, especially diverse audiences (e.g. schools, youth, and communities with connections and interest in U.S.-Singapore relations), and broaden the exposure of the virtual photo exhibition. Propose a minimum of three target groups (preferably youth and communities with connections and interest in U.S.-Singapore relations) who will participate in online activities that guide them through the virtual exhibition, and develop customized content and resources for them to interact with the virtual exhibition.  The plan should demonstrate online public outreach efforts and effective media and outreach strategies. 
  • (C) Set up web analytics system, Google analytics and tracking capabilities, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ensure the website is fully optimized and visitor numbers and feedback can be monitored.  Submit a report about the outcomes of the exhibition, including quantitative and qualitative data about the number and profile of visitors.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: One

Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 USD to a maximum of $30,000 USD

Total available funding: Up to $30,000 USD of FY 2021 public diplomacy program funds are available.  There is potential for more funds to be made available if the budget is commensurate with the project goals, pending approvals and availability of funds.

Anticipated program start date (of program planning): July 1, 2021.  This notice is subject to availability of funding.

     1. Funding Instrument Type: 

Cooperative agreement.  Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the project implementation.  Working closely with the Embassy, the recipient shall develop a robust reporting system, a schedule of program events, and clear division of roles and responsibilities.

Regular, transparent communications via email, phone and video conference calls, and face-to-face meetings (as appropriate) throughout the period of performance are critical to the success of this cooperative agreement.

All major elements of the program and its content require advance approval by U.S. Embassy Singapore, including, but not limited to:

  • Selection of photos, content development, and design of the virtual photo exhibition;
  • Selection of domain, server hosting, and other technical specifications;
  • Design and facilitation of public outreach efforts and activities;
  • Design and content of all collaterals, marketing, publicity, and media products; and
  • Selection of any sub-awardees or other partner organizations or collaborators.

U.S. Embassy Singapore may require revisions to any aspect of the program not previously approved.  The Embassy also reserves the right to require changes to previously agreed-upon elements of the program due to circumstances beyond our control.  Sufficient time shall be allowed for the approval process.

     2. Program Performance Period:

One year, to begin approximately July 1, 2021 and conclude July 1, 2022, with the possibility for future awards pending successful performance and availability of future funding.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

U.S. and local organizations with significant experience in art, curation, exhibition design, web design, technical support, education, media and public outreach, international project management, and/or events and programming are invited to submit a proposal.  Submissions by individuals will also be considered if experience and circumstances assure capability to implement the programs.

1. Eligible Applicants:

 U.S. Embassy Singapore welcomes applications from:

  • U.S.-based, Singapore-based, and foreign non-profit organizations/non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
  • U.S., Singapore, and foreign private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and
  • Individuals.

For-profit entities are not eligible to apply.  The applicant organization must have a curator assigned to design the exhibition.  Independent curators wishing to submit a proposal are welcome.  Successful U.S.-based applicants will demonstrate strong linkages with a Singapore-based partner organization.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching:

Cost-sharing components, including partnerships with other organizations, must be pre-approved by U.S. Embassy Singapore.  Past experience has shown that the overall cost of developing a photo exhibition of this scale is considerably higher than actual U.S. Embassy Singapore funding that can be provided.  The applicant may need to contribute cost-sharing from their own organizational resources or other partnership in order to curate, develop, and produce the photo exhibition, and provide the required education and public programming.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements:

Awards can only be issued to organizations that are registered in SAM.gov.  Detailed instructions and tips on the registration process can be found here.  Grants to individuals do not require SAM.gov registration but the individual will undergo a background check if selected to receive an Award.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Proposal Content: Proposals must include the following:

  • Proposal Summary: a short narrative outlining the key elements of the program, including objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introductionto the Organization Applying: an overview of profile of the organizations and portfolio of related work done previously that includes photos and client lists; showing ability to carry out the program, if applicable, and listing previous projects with U.S. Embassy Singapore or other U.S. government entities. Provide credentials (Curriculum Vitae) of project team including project managers, curators, designers, and editors.
  • Problem Statement: a clear and concise statement of how the organization that is applying is prepared to address the objectives.
  • Program Objectives: a brief explanation of how the program will achieve the objectives.
  • Program Activities, Methods, and Design: a description of the deliverables, how the deliverables will be managed, and how the services will achieve the goal. The proposal should include a design and storytelling concept.  Preliminary sketches of design concept(s) and layout(s) of the photo exhibition should be attached.  Proposal should include technical specifications and proposals for user experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI).
  • Proposed Program Schedule: the proposed timeline for undertaking and completing the specific activities.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: an explanation of how the activities will be monitored throughout the timeframe of the grant to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how the program will be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant.
  • Program Sustainability: a summary of plans designed to help the value of the program live beyond the period of performance.
  • Proposed Budget: a list of relevant project expenses in U.S. dollars, consistent with the proposal narrative, broken down into the following categories and cost per item and quantities.
    • Personnel and Fringe Benefits:  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.
    • Travel:  Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries.  If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
    • Equipment:  Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program).
    • Supplies:  List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program.  If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
    • Contractual:  Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor or individual.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
    • Other Direct Costs:  Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories.  For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes.  All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
    • 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. Indirect costs should not exceed 10% of the total program budget without justification or a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA).

Mandatory Forms – In addition to the proposal and budget, applicants must submit the following mandatory application forms including:

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs)
  • SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction Programs)

** Note: form templates can be downloaded here.

All proposals must be submitted to SingaporePASCultural@state.gov with “PAS Grant Application” and the applicant organization’s name in the subject line.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that an application has been received in its entirety.  U.S. Embassy Singapore bears no responsibility for applications not received before the due date or for data errors resulting from transmission.

Faxed, couriered, or hardcopy documents will not be accepted.  Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons.  Email SingaporePASCultural@state.gov if you want to inquire about accommodations.

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Criteria – Evaluators will judge each application individually against the following criteria, listed below, and not against competing applications.

  • Quality and Feasibility of the Proposal – 20 points: The proposal is well developed, covers all elements of the program proposal, fulfils the program objectives, and explains the shared values of the partner organization and U.S. Embassy Singapore. The proposal should include a realistic and reasonable implementation timeline.
  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 20 points:S. Embassy Singapore will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants.  Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
  • Ability to Achieve Objectives – 20 points: A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the partner will contribute to the overall program objectives, and how each component of the partnership will be accomplished. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive progress and the logistical capacity of the organization.  Objectives should be ambitious yet measurable, results-focused, and achievable in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Plan – 20 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 monitoring and evaluation plan should include output and outcome indicators and show how and when those will be measured.  Outcomes should be evaluated based on participant satisfaction, participant perception about the United States and Americans as a result of the program, and participant behavior as a result of the program.
  • Budget – 20 points: 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.

Process – A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.  Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing.

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Budget Planning – The cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.  “Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the partner organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy Singapore.  It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.  Please also note that programs supported by U.S. Embassy Singapore cannot be profit-earning programs.  Income earned or derived from ticket sales or other sources related to the program must contribute to program costs not covered by U.S. Embassy grant funds.

Commitment of Funds – Issuance of this notice of funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of U.S. Embassy Singapore, nor does it commit U.S. Embassy Singapore to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the Embassy reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.  If a proposal is selected for funding, U.S. Embassy Singapore 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 U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Payment Method – Upon approval of a cooperative agreement and pending availability of funds, U.S. Embassy Singapore usually provides partial funding up-front, the amount of which is determined by the Grants Officer based on needs and length of program.  Subsequent payments will be tied to program deliverables.  U.S. Embassy Singapore reserves the right to amend the final amount to be reimbursed after reviewing the final progress and financial reports.

Reporting Requirements – Recipients are required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

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/.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact: SingaporePASCultural@state.gov.