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Notice of Funding Opportunity
77 MINUTE READ
October 11, 2023

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY FINLAND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy in Finland Public Diplomacy Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number: PDS-FI-FY24-01

CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Date Opened: October 11, 2023

Deadline for Applications: Proposals will be considered on a rolling basis until July 31, 2024 

Award Floor: $5,000.00   

Award Ceiling: $50,000.00

 

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Finland, U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy 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.  Please carefully follow all instructions below. 

Purpose of Small Grants: PDS Finland invites proposals for programs that promote bilateral cooperation and highlight shared values.  All programs must include an American perspective, societal or cultural 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 viewpoints.  A confirmed local Finnish organization (or partnering organization) must be identified in the grant application.Additionally, programs must include a public outreach component(s), such as livestreaming, masterclasses, traditional media, digital outreach, or events open to audiences.

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

  • Academic and professional lectures, and seminars;
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs;
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions

Priority Program Areas:

  • Proposals that relate to the Arctic and increasing cooperation between Arctic states and communities;
  • Addressing climate change and changing environmental conditions;
  • Proposals that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA);
  • Proposals that address global security challenges and increasing understanding of NATO, including programs in support of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) initiatives;
  • Proposals that increase collaboration and exchange between American and Finnish students and teachers;
  • Proposals that promote economic prosperity, entrepreneurship, and innovation
  • Proposals that counter disinformation 

 The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activities;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization;
  • Programs intended for an individual’s personal enrichment or career development;
  • Programs that do not include an organization based in Finland;
  • Grants to for-profit entities

Authorizing legislation, type, and year of funding:  Funding authority rests in Smith-Mundt and Fulbright-Hays.  The source of funding is FY2024 Public Diplomacy Funding. 

 

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 3 to 24 months

Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $5000 to a maximum of $50,000. Project scalability in proposals is encouraged.

This notice is subject to availability of funding. In the event of a lapse in appropriations or a continuing resolution, the committee will release funds to awarded projects in tranches as funds become available.

Funding Instrument Type: Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative Agreement.  Cooperative Agreements differ from grants in that PDS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.  Substantial involvement could include, but is not limited to, selection of speakers and/or program participants.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.  PDS 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 Public Diplomacy Section considers applications from the United States and Finland, including: 

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations; 
  • Individuals; 
  • Non-profit educational institutions; 
  • Governmental institutions 

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

2. Cost Sharing or Matching 

Cost sharing is not required. 

3. Other Eligibility Requirements 

Valid and active registration on www.SAM.gov prior to the submission of an application is required.  Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations. 

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package 

Application forms required below are available at grants.gov. 

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. 

Content of Application 

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; 
  • The proposal narrative does not exceed two pages 

The following documents are required:

1.

a. Mandatory application forms 

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals) 
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) 
  • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) 

 

 

 

  1.  b.Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program. 
  1.  c. Proposal (2 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do.  Your proposal 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 or Individual Applying: A description of past and present operations, showing the 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.  Describe any unusual features of the project, such as design or technological innovations.  Detail anticipated outcomes. 
  • Proposed Program Schedule: The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events. 
  • Key Personnel: 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? 
  • Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.  Describe any social and community involvement. 
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants.  Throughout the timeframe 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? 
  • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable. 

 

  1. d. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget, use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.  Budget numbers must be provided in U.S. dollars.  Cost sharing is not required. 

 

2. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) 

Required Registrations: 

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain a SAM.gov registration.  Registration is free of charge: 

  • SAM.gov registration 

Proceed to register in SAM by logging onto https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually. 

3. Submission Dates and Times 

The Public Diplomacy Section will accept proposals throughout the year and will review proposals according to the following schedule: 

  • Proposals received between October 11-December 10 will be reviewed by December 30 with responses going out on/around January 31. 
  • Proposals received between December 11-February 11 will be reviewed by February 28 with responses going out on/around March 31. 
  • Proposals received between February 12-April 12 will be reviewed by April 30 with responses going out on/around May 31. 
  • Proposals received between April 13-June 13 will be reviewed by June 30 with responses going out on/around July 31. 
  • Proposals received between June 14-July 31 will be reviewed by August 15 with responses going out on/around August 31. 

No applications will be accepted after July 31, 2024.  Applicants who have not heard from PDS after the deadlines indicated above may contact Helsinki Grant Requests HelsinkiGrants@state.gov.  Organizations or individuals whose applications will not be funded will be notified via email. 

4. Funding Restrictions 

Our grants policy does not permit the use of U.S. government funds for the following: 

  • Alcoholic beverages; 
  • Costs or partial costs for first-class or business class tickets without prior justification and authorization from PDS; 
  • Fees associated with the participation of U.S. federal government employees; 
  • Banquets and entertainment. 

 

5. Other Submission Requirements 

All application materials must be submitted either by email to Helsinki Grant Requests HelsinkiGrants@state.gov or via electronic submission through www.Grants.gov (please do not submit the same proposal to both).  Please state the name of your organization in the subject line of your email submission. 

Incomplete proposals will not be considered. 

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria 

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

Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PDS 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: The program idea is well developed and contains detail of how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. 

Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated, and the program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results. 

U.S. Embassy priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy priority areas or audiences. 

Budget: 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.  Note: Cost sharing is not required, and scalability of projects is encouraged. 

Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates the 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: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program. 

2. Review and Selection Process 

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications. 

3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates 

Applicants should apply for grants with enough lead time to factor in both the anticipated grant evaluation dates above as well as a four-week processing period. 

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

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. 

PDS reserves the right to award more or less than the funds described as it may deem to be in the best interest of the U.S. government.  However, the U.S. government may make the award based on initial applications received, without negotiation or discussion.  Each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. 

The U.S. government reserves the right to enter into discussion with one or more applicant to obtain clarification, additional details, or to suggest refinements in the program description, budget, or other aspects of the application. 

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. 

Organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified via email. 

2. 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. 

All awards issued under this announcement will require either a program and/or financial report on a frequency specified in the award agreement.  The disbursement of funds may be tied to timely submission of these reports. 

To be eligible for a grant award, in addition to other conditions of this request for applications, individuals and organizations must have a commitment to non-discrimination with respect to beneficiaries and adherence to equal opportunity employment practices.  Non-discrimination includes equal treatment without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. 

3. 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.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PDS at: Helsinki Grant Requests HelsinkiGrants@state.gov.

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 include 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 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. 

Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Embassy in Finland Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I need to pay a fee to complete the SAM registration/renewal process?      
SAM.gov is the official U.S. government website for entity registration.  Please note there is no cost to register.  Maintaining and renewing your registration is free of charge.  If you are asked to pay money to complete or renew your SAM.gov registration, be cautious.  These messages are not from the federal government.  You engage third party vendors at your own risk. 

On the application for federal assistance (SF424-individual), what is the “Name of Federal Agency”?
State Department (U.S. Embassy Helsinki). 

Do “project description” and “short proposal summary” have a similar meaning?
Yes. 

If I have two potential budgets for the same project, should I submit both as different grant applications?
One grant/budget submission indicating scalability is fine.  

What if my project changes after submitting the application?
Please communicate updates to applications via the U.S. Embassy grants email. 

What if I have changes to a grant after it has been issued?
Depending on the nature of the change requested, and based on award provisions, terms, and conditions, there may be an opportunity to amend a grant to reflect updates to the project.  However, amendments are not always possible, particularly if changes would alter the scope of the grant. 

My project will not take place for several months (into 2024). Can I apply now under this current annual program statement?
Yes.