U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY LITHUANIA, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy Lithuania PDS Annual Program Statement
Funding Opportunity Number: PDS-LH500-FY23-01
Deadline for Applications: 11:59 PM Lithuanian time (GMT +3, UTC+2), July 15, 2023
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Total Amount Available: Variable
Grants may range from: $ 1,000 – $ 20,000
A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Embassy Lithuania Public Affairs Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy 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. Please carefully follow all instructions below.
Purpose of Small Grants: PDS Lithuania invites proposals for programs that strengthen cultural ties between the U.S. and Lithuania through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. All programs must include an American 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 perspectives.
Priority Program Areas: PDS is currently accepting proposals that include, but are not limited to, the following Embassy goals and priorities:
- Promoting shared democratic values, including human rights and societies inclusive of minorities and vulnerable groups. The Embassy welcomes applications with a particular focus on combatting antisemitism and Holocaust distortion and promoting LGBTQI+ human rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of refugees, and women’s empowerment;
- Supporting independent regional media and civil society in developing media literacy and critical thinking skills and countering disinformation;
- Encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth in under-served areas;
- Combatting climate change;
- Support for inclusive programming and raising awareness for persons with disabilities, with a particular focus on education for children with disabilities.
Participants and Audiences:
All programs must have an American element and must reach a Lithuanian audience. Preference will be given to proposals that are part of long-term initiatives, reach audiences of strategic importance, and/or can demonstrate a sustained positive impact in the community.
The following types of programs, activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:
- Programs relating to partisan political activity;
- Charitable or development activities;
- Construction programs;
- Programs that support specific religious activities;
- Fund-raising 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.
- Paying to complete activities already begun;
- Ongoing salary costs;
- Alcoholic beverages
Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:
1) Fulbright-Hays Act, which allows the U.S. Department of State to use funds for the purpose of supporting international exchanges that address issues of mutual interest to the United States.
2) Smith-Mundt Act, which specifies the terms under which the U.S. government can engage global audiences.
The source of funding is FY2023 Public Diplomacy Funding.
B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: 2 to 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: 20-40 awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $1000 to a maximum of $20.000
Total available funding: variable
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2023 Public Diplomacy Funding
Anticipated program start date: variable
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
*The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to award more or less than the funds described and for a longer or shorter period than described in the absence of worthy applications or under such other circumstances as it may deem to be in the best interest of the U.S. government.
Funding Instrument Type: Grant, Fixed Amount Award (FAAs), or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements and some FAAs are different from grants in that PDS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation (“Substantial Involvement”).
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.
C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
- Eligible Applicants
The Public Affairs Section encourages applications from U.S. and Lithuanian:
- Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
- Non-profit or governmental educational institutions
- Governmental institutions
In deciding which proposals to support, the Embassy will consider the full range and diversity of Lithuanian nonprofit organizations – cultural, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and educational – and will seek to target geographically and demographically diverse audiences in Lithuania. Lithuanian and U.S. citizens may apply as individuals, but preference is generally given to projects proposed by organizations.
For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.
- Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required but 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. Cost sharing is not required but will make a proposal considerably more competitive.
- Other Eligibility Requirements
Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.
In order 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. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.
D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
The Public Affairs Section will accept proposals throughout the year and will review proposals every 4-6 weeks. We recommend submitting proposals at least three months in advance of the start of a project.
Organizations or individuals wishing to submit proposals should complete the forms listed below and submit one application package to the Public Affairs Section at the following email address: VilniusGrants@state.gov. Include “PDS FY23 NOFO” and the organization’s name in the subject line.
The Embassy will confirm the receipt of the application by email. Applicants are typically informed about the decision regarding their application within 4-8 weeks from the submission of the documents.
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.
Should you wish to view our training on the Small Grants Program and all the application process explained in Lithuanian recorded on June 7, 2022, you can do it via the link. The total length of the recording is 1 hour 15 min.
Content of Application:
- 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 Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
Application forms required below are available at https://lt.usembassy.gov/education-culture/small-grants-program/.
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.
The following documents are required:
- Mandatory application forms
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance- individuals)
Instructions: SF424_Organization_Instructions; SF424_Organization_Instructions_Lithuanian
- SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
Instructions: SF424A_Instructions; SF424A_Instructions_Lithuanian
Instructions: SF424B_Organization_Instructions; SF424B_Individual_Instructions
Tips for downloading SF424 forms.
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2. Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end dates, and brief purpose of the program.
3. 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.
- 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 PDSt 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. What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and XXX will be improved? 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Future Funding or SustainabilityApplicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
- Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate file to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
- Attachments (suggested examples):
- One-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
- Official permission letters, if required for program activities
Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.
Note: As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.
The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number. Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.
Note: The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
- Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:
NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):
An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
- An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
- For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.
Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.
Submission Dates and Times
Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of 11:59 PM Lithuanian time (GMT +3, UTC+2), July 15, 2023 No applications will be accepted after that date.
Other Submission Requirements
All application materials must be submitted by email to VilniusGrants@state.gov. (or: Applications may be submitted electronically through www.Grants.gov or by email to VilniusGrants@state.gov)
E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.
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.
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, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Embassy priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy XXX’s priority areas or target 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.
Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able 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.
- Review and Selection Process
A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.
- Responsibility/Qualification Information in SAM.gov (formerly, 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 over the period of performance (see §200.01 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants that:
i. 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 U.S. government designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
ii. An applicant, at its option, may review and comment on any information about itself in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM that a Federal awarding agency previously entered;
iii. 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
F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
- 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.
Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.
- 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.
In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, proposals should demonstrate how the program advances equity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. The proposal should also demonstrate how the program will further engagement in underserved communities and with individuals from underserved communities. Proposals should demonstrate how addressing racial equity and underserved communities will enhance the program’s goals and objectives, as well as the experience of participants.
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
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PDS at: VilniusGrants@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.
Note about Budget Lines for Media Coverage or Amplification: Budget lines for media coverage or amplification (including on social media) will be heavily scrutinized, as they should be reasonable, justifiable, and take into account the U.S. Embassy’s ability to be an informational partner on all awarded grants. For example, the U.S. Embassy will NOT fund costs for drafting and placement of news articles/press releases.