Notice of Funding Opportunity: 2020 U.S. Elections Programming

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY SINGAPORE

Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Funding Opportunity Title:             2020 U.S. Elections Programming
Funding Opportunity Number:       PAS-SINGAPORE-FY20-001
Deadline for Applications:              February 28, 2020
CFDA Number:                                 19.040
Total Amount Available:                 USD $10,000 – $75,000
 

A.  PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore announces an open competition for proposals to design, plan, and implement a multi-event public diplomacy initiative to foster greater understanding of U.S. elections among Singaporeans. Themes should be educational in nature and may focus on a range of topics, including presidential campaigns, debates, grassroots advocacy, civil society participation, primaries and caucuses, political parties, the electoral college, political polling, elections reporting, media literacy, combating disinformation, voting processes, and peaceful transitions of power. Programs should focus on promoting mutual understanding between Americans and Singaporeans through a dynamic cultural and informational exchange. Activities may not be partisan in nature.

1.  Priority Region: 

Singapore

2.  Program Objectives:

Proposals should contain detailed plans for a series of events or activities that build a deeper, more accurate understanding of the U.S. electoral system among Singaporeans based around the 2020 United States presidential election. Proposed activities could include:

  • An election returns watch party the morning of Wednesday, November 4.
  • Mock student debates focused on U.S. election issues.
  • Expert speakers focused on topics such as: an overview of the U.S. electoral process; the role of women and minorities in U.S. politics; how the U.S. political party system works; the role of the media in U.S. elections; combating disinformation in politics; the role of civil society and community organizations in U.S. elections, etc.
  • Debate watch parties and/or interactive Q&A.
  • U.S. election trivia night.
  • Screenings of American movies about elections.
  • Post-election discussions and expert Q&A.

While this list contains examples of the types of activities that may be funded through this opportunity, applicants are not limited to these examples and are encouraged to propose innovative ideas. Activities may not be partisan in nature.

3.  Participants and Audiences:

Specific events may be designed to reach different audiences, but the overall program should prioritize both emerging voices among young Singaporeans as well as established opinion leaders, including academics/researchers, media, community leaders, etc.

4.  Elements of the Program Proposal:

Proposals should include detailed descriptions of how each activity will be administered, including:

  • Management of project logistics and administrative tasks such as scheduling, staffing, and venue rentals, as required.
  • Recruitment of and management of organizations in Singapore that can partner on various aspects of the campaign, possibly including relevant government entities; educational institutions; or civic and other organizations, associations, or groups.
  • Implementation of all planned programs.
  • Execution of a media strategy and a digital engagement strategy including advertising, publicity, and outreach to attract attendees to in-person events and to amplify the program’s impact to wider audiences through traditional media and digital platforms.
  • Production of sets and program materials, including printing and branding of any program materials, banners, backdrops, and other printed materials. Printed and online materials must comply with branding requirements as described in the cooperative agreement, including branding with the U.S. Embassy Singapore logo.
  • Design and development of a monitoring and evaluation plan, which must measure program outcomes and impacts.

B.  FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: Up to three
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
Type of Funding:  FY20 Public Diplomacy Funds
Anticipated program start date (of program planning): April 1, 2020
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 of this cooperative agreement shall develop a robust program, schedule the events at mutually agreed upon dates and locations in Singapore, and generate content for traditional and social media distribution.

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:

  • 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.

2.  Program Performance Period:

Proposed programs should be completed within 12 months, with primary program dates leading up to and immediately after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020.

C.  ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

U.S. and local organizations with significant experience in program/event planning and implementation are invited to submit a proposal.

1.  Eligible Applicants:

U.S. Embassy Singapore welcomes applications from:

  • S.-based, Singapore-based, and foreign non-profit organizations/non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and
  • 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.

2.  Cost Sharing or Matching:

Cost sharing is not required but is encouraged. Cost-sharing partners must be pre-approved by U.S. Embassy Singapore.

 3.  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. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

D.  APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

1.  Application Package:

Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and on the U.S. Embassy Singapore website under the announcement title “2020 Olympics Programming” funding opportunity number PAS-SINGAPORE-FY20-002.  Please contact the point of contact listed in Section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.

 2.  Content and Form of Application Submission:

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

For all application documents, please ensure:

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

Required Documents: 

Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, proposed program start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.

3.  Proposal (20 pages maximum): 

The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.

Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.

Introduction to the Organization applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.

Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.

Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.

Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.

Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.

Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.

Key PersonnelNames, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?

Program Partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?

4.  Budget Justification Narrative:

After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  For ease of review, U.S. Embassy Singapore recommends applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed budget. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

Note:

Personnel costs
Personnel costs should include an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of key staff, their role in the project, base salary, fringe benefits, and time devoted to the project (noted as percentage of time over months associated with project activities). The budget narrative should provide additional information that might not be readily apparent in the detailed-line item budget, not simply repeat what is represented numerically in the budget, i.e. salaries are for salaries or travel is for travel.

Travel Arrangements
The Recipient may use grant funding to make reservations and purchase economy-class airline tickets and hotel rooms for experts from the United States, if appropriate. The Recipient will purchase the tickets at reasonable and cost-effective prices in accordance with Fly America Act regulations. The Recipient shall provide the tickets and/or other travel documents (travel itineraries and meeting schedules) to the traveler no later than five days prior to the start of travel. The Recipient will make arrangements and use grant funding to cover ground transportation on an as-needed basis.

5.  Attachments:

Please include:

  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by project and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding and therefore does not count against the submission page limitations. If your proposal involves sub-awards to organizations charging indirect costs, please submit the applicable NICRA also as a .pdf file. If your organization does not have a NICRA per 2 CFR 200. 414(f) the organization can elect to charge the de minimis rate of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68. The budget narrative should indicate what costs will be covered using the 10% de minimis rate.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Please note: U.S. Embassy Singapore retains the right to ask for additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additional information that successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award, may include:

  1. Written responses and/or revised application documents addressing any conditions or recommendations from the Review Panel;
  2. Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a Federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a Federal award.

6.  Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration

Instructions for Registering:

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

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

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf (PDF 1033KB)

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

7.  Submission Dates and Times:

Proposals are due no later than February 28, 2020 by email to SingaporePASCultural@state.gov

8.  Funding Restrictions:

U.S. Embassy Singapore will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance. Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-Federal award costs; however, the Grants Officer may approve pre awards cost on a case-by-case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under U.S. Embassy Singapore awards. Award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

 9.  Other Submission Requirements:

All application materials must be submitted by email to SingaporePASCultural@state.gov

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. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable solicitation and these instructions.

E.  APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

1.  Criteria:

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

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Ideas – 20 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the stated mission and include a reasonable implementation timeline. The proposal should also explain how the target audience will be engaged and how the program will impact participants.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 20 points: U.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.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 20 points: A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed.  A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization.  Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable, results-focused, and achievable in a reasonable timeframe. If applicable, applications should identify proposed locations for program activities and target audiences, among other pertinent details.

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.

2.  Review and Selection Process:

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.  

F.  FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

1.  Federal Award Notices:

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, 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.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

2.  Payment Method:

The Automated Clearing House Electronic Funds Transfer (ACH/EFT).

3.  Administrative and National Policy Requirements:

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications, which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include: 2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/.

Note the U.S. Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

4.  Reporting:

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

Applicants should be aware of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR 200 Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

G.  FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact:

SingaporePASCultural@state.gov

H. OTHER INFORMATION

1.  Guidelines for Budget Justification:

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 and consultants or speakers. 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), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

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.  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.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“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.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.