Funding Opportunity: Alumni

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY HAVANA
, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

 

Funding Opportunity Title:             U.S. Embassy Havana PAS Alumni Small Grant Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number:       PAS-HAV-FY24-SG

Deadline for Applications:               The Public Affairs Section will accept proposals throughout the year and will review proposals according to the following schedule:

  • Proposals received between October 27, 2023 – December 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. local time will be reviewed by December 31, 2023. For this cycle, project start dates should be no earlier than January 1, 2024, and no later than March 1, 2024.
  • Proposals received between March 1, 2024 – May 1, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. local time will be reviewed by June 1, 2024. For this cycle, project start dates should be no earlier than July 1, 2024, and no later than September 30, 2024.

CFDA Number:                                19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available:                 $103,200

Maximum for Each Award:            $10,000

Minimum for Each Award:             $1,000

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy Havana is pleased to announce funding availability through its Public Diplomacy Alumni Small Grants Program.  This is an Annual Program Statement, outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.  This awards opportunity is only available for program alumni of U.S. programs.  U.S. Program alumni are graduates of programs from the following groups:

  • American Music Abroad (AMA) Program
  • Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)
  • Community Solutions Program (CSP)
  • English Language Professors of Havana
  • Fulbright-Humphrey Program
  • International Visitors Leaders Program (IVLP)
  • One Beat Program
  • Regional English Language Learning English Specialists Program with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education
  • Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Purpose of Small Grants

PAS Havana invites proposals from U.S. alumni for programs that strengthen societal and cultural ties, shared values, business ties, and bilateral cooperation between the United States and Cuba in support of U.S. Embassy Strategic Goals.  All programs must include a U.S. cultural, business, or educational element or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives and build partnerships between our citizens.

Examples of PAS Small Grants Program programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic and professional lectures, seminars, and speaker programs.
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions.
  • Awareness-raising programs on the challenges persons with disabilities face accessing the democratic process, including the lack of reasonable accommodations and information to exercise their political rights.
  • Business speaker to talk about economic, finance, or business-related issues.
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs.
  • Community-based projects that promote entrepreneurship in Cuba.
  • Programs that promote journalism and access to press.
  • Policy advocacy programs that promote and advance the rights of historically underserved and marginalized groups such as Afro-Cubans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+), persons with disabilities, and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent inequality.
  • Workshops to strengthen networks of U.S. government (USG) programs alumni, entrepreneurial networks, and/or educational groups.

Priority Program Areas: The Alumni Small Grants Program supports U.S. Mission Havana’s strategic objectives of advocating respect for human rights and providing support for the Cuban people to build a prosperous, inclusive, culturally rich society with opportunities that discourages irregular migration.  A wide range of projects related to these strategic objectives will be considered, including proposals that focus on the following:

  • Projects that encourage professional development, networking, and career advancement for alumni of U.S. programs.
  • Projects that empower new entrepreneurs and emerging private sector enterprises through training, capacity building, or peer-to-peer network development, especially activities that economically empower women, Afro-Cubans, LGBTQI+ persons, and other traditionally underserved populations.
  • Projects that help entrepreneurs establish social impact programs in local neighborhoods and communities, particularly programs that benefit traditionally marginalized populations. (Please note that grant funds cannot be used in support of for-profit entities or profit generating activities.) Projects that advance the rights and opportunities of persons with disabilities, build capacity of disability-rights organizations, or promote democracy and political participation of persons with disabilities.
  • Programs that improve the quality of investigative journalism and transparency, improve media literacy to combat disinformation, and/or increase awareness of the impact of stereotypical and biased reporting on women, girls, Afro-Cubans, LGBTQI+ persons, persons with disabilities, and other traditionally underserved populations.
  • Projects that raise awareness about the risks of irregular migration and safe and legal alternatives.
  • Projects supporting expanded educational opportunities, especially those that lead to meaningful, long-term employment opportunities in Cuba and focus on women, girls, Afro-Cubans, LGBTQI+ persons, persons with disabilities, and other traditionally underserved populations.
  • US. -Cuba cultural exchanges, especially those that build capacity in Cuba or that encourage the development of the cultural economy and arts entrepreneurship in Cuba.

Desired Results and Illustrative Indicators:

By the end of the project, grantees should demonstrate that their project has contributed to an increase in the Cuban public’s understanding of and affinity for U.S. policies and priorities through strategic cultural, educational, media, and digital programming.  Grant proposals including a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (M&E) with annual and end-of-project targets and results anticipated for key performance indicators will be given priority.

Illustrative outcome and output indicators for the projects are provided below.

The recipient is expected to identify targets for these indicators based on what it can reasonably achieve within the performance period of the project and based on the expected overall project results described above.

Example/Illustrative Outcome Indicators Illustrative targets:
Percentage of students experiencing bullying, punishment, harassment, violence, sexual discrimination and abuse by sex, age, disability, type of educational institution TBD
Percent of program participants who report taking environmental actions at home and their communities TBD
Percent of participants with more favorable opinions of the United States and the American People TBD
Change in participant’s understanding of the United States’ cultural diversity and/or policies TBD

 

Example/Illustrative Output Indicators Illustrative targets:
Kilograms of recycled material transformed into sustainable, eco-friendly products TBD
Number and type of awareness-raising activities about the rights of persons with disabilities and their contributions TBD
Number of people reached through messaging promoting American literature and culture. TBD
Number of Tweets calling attention to GBV as a social problem TBD

 

Participants and Audiences:

Embassy Havana encourages projects focusing on a wide range of audiences, with a particular emphasis on groups from socially and/or economically disadvantaged communities.

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity.
  • Charitable or development activities.
  • Construction programs.
  • Programs that support specific religious activities.
  • Fundraising campaigns.
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs.
  • Scientific research.
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: Up to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: PAS Havana anticipates issuing several awards under this NOFO, pending availability of funds.

Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000.

Total available funding: $103,200

Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2024 Public Diplomacy Funding

Anticipated program start date: Grant applications selected for funding under this NOFO (PAS-HAV-FY24-SG) must begin implementation before September 30, 2024.

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Grant, Sub-Grant, or Cooperative Agreement

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs must be completed in 12 months or less.  PAS will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations and entities in Cuba and/or in the United States are eligible to apply. Organizations must be legally registered:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with programming experience including at least one U.S. program alumni who will have a substantial leadership role in the proposed project.
  • Non-profit educational and cultural institutions including at least one U.S. program alumni who will have a substantial leadership role in the proposed project.
  • Individual citizens from Cuba who are program alumni.

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

      2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is allowed but not required.  This will not impact funding decisions.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

D.  APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application must be sent to USEmbassyHavanaGrants@state.gov

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Proposals should be submitted in the English language and be no more than five pages (including all attachments).  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.

Applicant Information

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity.
  • No more than five pages, including attachments.
  • All documents are in English.
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars.
  • All pages are numbered. Attachments required below (i.e., resumes, support letters from program partners, permission letters) do not count toward the page limit.
  • 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.

The following documents are strictly required for all application submissions:

  • Descriptive project Title/Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization (if any), program and year, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  • Any Previous U. Government Funding: Year and project title of all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Proposal: The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  1. Proposal Summary: Provide a short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  2. Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: Provide a description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program.
  3. Problem Statement: Provide a clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
  4. Program Goals and Objectives: List the overall project goal and describe what the program is intended to achieve.  How does the proposed project connect to the Priority Program Areas described above?  Please also list the primary sub-goals or objectives that should be reached as part of the project to show progress toward the overall goal. Objectives should be clearly achievable and measurable.
  5. Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  6. Program Methods and Design: Describe how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  7. Proposed Program Schedule: Provide a proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  8. Key Personnel: List the names, 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?
  9. Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees, if any.
  10. Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: Provide a detailed monitoring and evaluation plan. 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? How will you measure progress toward the overall goal and toward each objective?
  11. Future Funding or Sustainability: Describe plans for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  • Budget Justification Narrative: Use the budget categories described in section H, b Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions
  • Attachments
  1. 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
  2. Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner (optional).
  3. Official permission letters, if required for program activities.

      3. Submission Dates and Times

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time and will be reviewed with all the submissions received for that cycle.  The closeout dates for each cycle are as follows:

  • October 27, 2023 – December 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. local time
  • March 1, 2024 – May 1, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. local time

No applications will be accepted after the indicated dates and times.

  1. Funding Restrictions

Grants cannot be used to fund religious or partisan political activity or for: fundraising campaigns; commercial projects or for-profit ventures; individual academic research projects; construction projects; or projects whose primary objective is an organization’s institutional development or an individual’s personal enrichment or career development.

  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted in English by email to USEmbassyHavanaGrants@state.gov using the proposal instructions form.

     E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.  The criteria listed are closely related and are considered in judging the overall quality of an application.

Organizational capacity and record on previous grants (10 points): The organization has expertise in its stated field and PAS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea (20 points): The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Goals and objectives (20 points): Goals and objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).  The program approach is likely to provide achieve the proposed goals and objectives.

Supports Embassy priorities (20 points): Based on the materials submitted, the project supports U.S. Embassy Cuba’s priority areas and target audiences.

Budget (10 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.

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (10 points): Applicant demonstrates an ability to measure program success against key indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal.  The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability (10 points): Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

  1. Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

i. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;

iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

  1. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

All grant applications will be received and evaluated on a rolling basis and within the cycle they were received.  Upon receiving a proposal, the PAS team will review your application for completeness and confirm via email that it has been successfully received.  Please allow between 4-6 weeks of the corresponding cycle’s closeout date for information on the outcome of your application.  Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.

      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, the Department of State 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 Department of State.

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.

Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  Some grants may also require quarterly and other ad hoc reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

    G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at: USEmbassyHavanaGrants@state.gov.

Note: We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO.  Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.

   H. OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel: 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.  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.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E): If necessary, please allocate reasonable costs for M&E activities.

 

U.S. Embassy Havana Annual Program Statement