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:             EducationUSA Singapore Partnership
Funding Opportunity Number:       PAS-SINGAPORE-FY21-001
Deadline for Applications:              December 31, 2020
CFDA Number:                                 19.040
Total Amount Available:                 $10,000 – $75,000 USD
  

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore announces an open competition for local partners to host the EducationUSA Singapore Advising Center and collaborate on various U.S. higher education outreach initiatives. U.S. Embassy Singapore will provide some funds to support an advisor salary and basic operational costs, access to EducationUSA resources including advisor training, and marketing and promotion support. Partnerships will leverage a shared interest to promote U.S. higher education and to provide educational advising and access to a special collection of reference materials about higher education in the United States to the local community in Singapore to build a next generation with globally minded perspectives, diverse networks, and innovative thinking.

EducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 Advising Centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. EducationUSA Advising Centers actively promote U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, unbiased, comprehensive, objective, and timely information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities. Millions of prospective students learn about U.S. study opportunities through EducationUSA Advising Centers each year. The EducationUSA program in Singapore has grown year on year, and U.S. Embassy Singapore is now seeking a partner to help the program be more accessible to potential students.

  1. Priority Region: Singapore
  1. Program Objectives:

 To build and support a mutually beneficial partnership between EducationUSA and a local partner organization in order to:

  • Provide reliable, non-biased access to information about U.S. higher education opportunities to students, families, and school representatives in Singapore at no cost;
  • Provide training and information to secondary and post-secondary teachers, counselors, and administrators to empower them to support their students in taking advantage of U.S. higher education opportunities;
  • Collaborate with the public and private sector in Singapore and the United States to align EducationUSA Singapore programming with industry needs when appropriate.
  1. Participants and Audiences:

Students seeking information and advising in preparation for undergraduate, graduate, technical/vocational, and study abroad programs in the United States. Day-to-day advising focuses on reaching students, families, and education professionals. Regular outreach events will seek to engage a wide range of stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, counselors, local and national governmental organizations, and U.S. higher education admissions representatives.

  1. Elements of the Program Proposal:

Proposals should outline how the partner organization will (A) provide full or part-time advising to students seeking information about U.S. higher education opportunities; (B) actively conduct outreach and host in-person, hybrid, or virtual events that share information with relevant audiences; (C) provide the necessary basic infrastructure to host the Advising Center. 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 expected.

Proposals should outline how the recipient will utilize U.S. government funds and cost-sharing to provide for the following:

  • Office space, to include a minimum of one private room/office for the exclusive use of the EducationUSA Advisor as an office, meeting space, and storage for reference materials. The space should include sufficient room for and be equipped with at least one bookshelf for the reference collection, one table with multiple chairs for visitors to read and research, one office work-station with Internet-accessible computer for the EducationUSA Advisor, and one additional computer for public use. This space should also display the EducationUSA logo, mission statement, and principles of ethical advising.
  • Hours of operation for visitors to use the services of the EducationUSA Advising Center (which has been defined by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as at least twenty hours per week).
  • Ideally, venue space and logistical support for EducationUSA events, such as lectures, presentations, workshops, etc.
  • Overhead costs, including but not limited to electricity, telephone service, and Internet connection.
  • Maintenance for all materials and equipment purchased with U.S. government funds within the EducationUSA Advising Center.
  • Recruitment and management of partner organizations in Singapore that can collaborate on various aspects of the campaign, possibly including relevant government entities; educational institutions; or other organizations, associations, or groups.
  • Advertising, publicity, and outreach to attract attendees to in-person and virtual events and to amplify the program’s impact to wider audiences through traditional media and digital platforms.

In addition, proposals should include how the partner intends to:

  • Provide visibility for EducationUSA services. For example, the partner may post public hours, services, and contact information on their website, or display EducationUSA logo/affiliation at the EducationUSA Advising Center.
  • Design and execute a monitoring and evaluation plan, which must measure program outcomes and impacts.
  • Coordinate with the U.S. Embassy on possible future engagement programs that will leverage combined resources (for example, enhanced outreach for virtual or in-person college fairs; workshops to train teachers, counselors, students, and/or parents; access to industry experts or U.S. university alumni events to provide speakers for events, etc.).

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: One
Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $75,000 USD
Total available funding: Up to $75,000 USD of FY21 ECA and U.S. Embassy Singapore 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): March 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 U.S. Embassy in Singapore, the Recipient shall develop a robust reporting system, a schedule of program events, and division of roles and responsibilities with EducationUSA and U.S. Embassy Singapore.

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 the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, including, but not limited to:

  • Office and venue space;
  • Choices of specific programs, dates, and venues;
  • Design and content of all collaterals, marketing, publicity, and media products; and
  • Selection of any sub-awardees or other partner organizations or collaborators.

The U.S. Embassy in 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.

  1. Program Performance Period:

One year, to begin approximately March 1, 2021 and conclude February 28, 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 education, international relations, and/or events and programming are invited to submit a proposal.

  1. Eligible Applicants:

 The U.S. Embassy in Singapore welcomes applications from:

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

For-profit entities are not eligible to apply. Successful U.S.-based applicants will demonstrate strong linkages with a Singapore-based partner organization.

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching:

 Cost sharing is expected. Cost-sharing components, including partnerships with other organizations, must be pre-approved by the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.

  1. 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.

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: a description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program; if applicable, list previous projects with U.S. Embassy Singapore or other U.S. government entities;
  • 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.
  • 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 narrative and financial proposal, applicants must submit the following mandatory application forms including:

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs)
  • SF424B(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 Partnership – 20 points: The proposal is well developed, covers each item in the cost-share agreement, and explains the shared values of the partner organization and EducationUSA and the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. The proposal should include a reasonable implementation timeline.
  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 20 points: The S. Embassy in 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 organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. 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 the U.S. Embassy in 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 the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, nor does it commit the U.S. Embassy in 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, the U.S. Embassy in 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 the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.

Payment Method – Upon approval of a cooperative agreement and pending availability of funds, the U.S. Embassy in 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. The U.S. Embassy in 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