Funding Opportunity Title: Small Grants Program
Deadline for Applications: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
CFDA Number: 19.040
The U.S. Embassy Bern seeks to promote mutual understanding among the American, Swiss, and Liechtenstein people. Traditionally, U.S. Embassy Bern has funded projects such as cultural programs where an American artist participates or is celebrated, projects that reach young people, and projects that raise awareness on important topics such as human rights, innovation and digitalization. For example, we have previously contributed to these programs:
• HackZurich: U.S. Embassy Bern funded the travel for Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin to judge the competition of the Hackathon because it supports the mutually shared value of innovation in technology.
• Arts Envoy Program: We helped Bernese orchestra to organize school outreach and concerts with U.S. artist Gaelynn Lea. The program focused on inclusive music, disability rights and youth outreach.
• International Office for Migration: We supported a campaign to raise awareness on human trafficking issues geared towards the general public and school classes.
• Museum for Digital Art Zurich: A grant was made for an exhibition showing works of U.S. digital artist Zach Liebermann. The exhibition exemplified how digitalization and art can work together to create unique and cutting-edge artworks.
The embassy welcomes proposals on these themes as well as new ones, such as:
• Digital and technological innovation
• Digital art
• Educational and economic exchanges
• Sustainable food in the U.S. and Switzerland
• Engagement of students and apprentices
The Embassy also welcomes proposals that do not fully fit into these categories.
Federal Award Information
Length of performance period: up to 12 months
Award amounts: Typical awards range from a minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $10,000
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2021
Anticipated program start date: No later than September 2021
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type: Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.
1. Eligible Applicants
U.S. Embassy Bern welcomes applications from both individuals and organizations based in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, whether public or private. Not-for-profit, civil society/non-governmental organizations, think tanks, educational institutions, and companies are all eligible.
Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance of U.S. Federal and Public Diplomacy regulations and guidelines and may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other State Department elements. Proposals will be funded based on an evaluation of how the proposal meets the solicitation review criteria, U.S. foreign policy objectives, and Embassy priorities.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost-sharing is not mandatory for projects, but highly encouraged.
Application and Submission Information
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
The following documents are required:
1. 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)
2. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, 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 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 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 Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
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. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
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.
Applicants must be prepared to obtain the registrations below if their proposal is selected for funding. All are free of charge:
• Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
• NCAGE code
• www.SAM.gov registration
Other Submission Requirements
All application materials must be submitted by email to BernPA@state.gov. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Application Review Information
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.
Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 25 points: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 25 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
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 – 15 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 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.
2. Review and Selection Process
A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.
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.
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, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions 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.
Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and/or 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.
Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
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, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), 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.