U.S. Embassy is seeking partner to implement America House program in Balti

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PROGRAM SUMMARY

American Spaces  in Moldova are the U.S. Embassy’s premier venues for cultural programs and outreach in Moldova. They support U.S. public diplomacy in Moldova by creating a welcoming, technology-forward space that fosters open discussion and debate, builds cultural bridges to deepen communication on key issues, provides opportunities for professional and personal skill-building, and sparks creativity, innovation, and collaboration around shared Moldovan and U.S. values. 

The recipient organization will be responsible for staffing and operating America House Balti in close cooperation with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy. Key program activities under this cooperative agreement include managing local Moldovan staff with expertise in program and event management; purchasing and maintaining all necessary technology, materials, and supplies to support engagement with in-person and remote Moldovan audiences; and designing a flexible and dynamic program of activities each month to interact with Moldovan visitors and encourage visitors to return regularly to the America House Balti. Decisions on staffing and program content will be made in consultation with the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau. 

  

Title:   

Balti America House Program

Opportunity Number:  

PAS-CHISINAU-FY20-18-PDPR02

Assistance Listing Number:  

Public Diplomacy Programs

Assistance Listing Title:

19.040

Program:  

American Spaces

Announcement Type:

Open Competition

Announcement Date:

August 7, 2020

Submission Deadline:

August 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. (Chisinau Time)

Anticipated Award Date:  

September 30, 2020

 

FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

The U.S. Embassy will consider awarding one grant  of up to $75,000. Any requests outside of these limits will not be considered. Please read section ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION about requirements and criteria. 

Total budget for the competition: $75,000.00

Assistance Instrument: Cooperative Agreement

 

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION 

Applications may be submitted by Moldovan or U.S. public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3). 

Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience working in Moldova and should have a legally registered local office to provide program oversight. The applicant organization must be able to demonstrate the ability to administer all components of the program as outlined in this solicitation, and in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau. 

Third country organizations and individuals are not eligible. 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The America House Balti is one of 650 American Spaces supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State.  American Spaces exemplify the U.S. commitment to a core tenet of democracy: the citizen’s right to free access to information. 

The America House Balti also supports the foundation of public diplomacy by creating a place for in-person engagement with Moldovan audiences. Embassy personnel, official visitors, and implementing partners regularly connect with Moldovans, especially young leaders and young professionals, to inspire dialogue on issues that matter most to U.S.-Moldovan relations. 

American Spaces worldwide provide welcoming environments where visitors can connect with and learn about the United States. Hosted in embassies, libraries, universities, and other partner institutions worldwide, American Spaces are platforms for providing information about the United States, our policy, culture, and values; English language learning; alumni activities, and information about study in the U.S. A multifunctional platform for public diplomacy programs, American Spaces promote open dialogue, counteract negative preconceptions, and build bridges of understanding. 

Programs at American Spaces are free and open to the public, equipping the U.S. government with effective and attractive platforms for person-to-person foreign interaction on topics including media literacy, economic development and American culture, society and values.

The direct audience engagement at the core of American Spaces provides the U.S. government with influential opportunities to counter disinformation, promote policy objectives and exert a strong, positive impact on how the United States is understood and viewed around the world.

Program Structure: 

American Spaces are funded principally through ECA, with in-country oversight by the Public Affairs Staff at U.S. Embassies and Consulates where they are located. The recipient organization should be able to administer the daily operation of America House Balti with little direct supervision of the U.S. Embassy. 

At the same time, critical decisions on programming, staffing, and major supplies (such as computers and other technology) will be made in close coordination and with the approval of U.S. Embassy Public Affairs staff. The Public Affairs staff overseeing American Spaces include: the Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO), American Spaces, and several locally Employed embassy employees. In addition, the Regional Public Engagement Specialist (REPS) will work closely with the America House Balti and staff to ensure that employees are properly trained and are able to design and deliver innovative programming. Also, the Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) will provide guidance and support to the EducationUSA component. 

This cooperative agreement will provide funding for one year of activity. For up to two years, additional funds may be provided to maintain and upgrade the center (pending successful implementation of the program and availability of funds). 

Program Activities: 

The implementing partner should lead the process in finding a site or location for the America House Balti.  Implementing partners are encouraged to consider and propose locations where space can be made available as an-kind contribution. If leasing space will be necessary, the implementing partner will be responsible for obtaining a lease and paying associated expenses with funds provided by the Embassy. 

The location should be centrally-located, close to public transport and offer approximately 100 square meters in usable space. The ideal venue would include a multi-purpose space and one or two breakout rooms. The Embassy must approve any related decisions. 

Staffing America House Balti:
Applicants should propose a plan for recruiting and selecting (with U.S. Embassy approval) local Moldovan staff for AHB operations. The U.S. Embassy envisions the winning proposal including positions to support the following areas:

Program Manager: Overseeing day-to-day programming and administrative tasks in compliance with U.S. Embassy policies. 

Communications Assistant: Assisting Production Coordinator with Content Production and Dissemination via social media platforms. 

Production Coordinator (IT and Technology Innovations): Supporting the technology of AHB, utilizing the most current digital tools to expand the audience for America House Balti, taking photos at the events, etc 

  1. For the purpose of this project, the award recipient organization will act as the employer of all locally hired, full-time and temporary staff. The award recipient will be responsible for establishing transparent and fair employment practices. All policies are subject to review by the U.S. Embassy. It is the responsibility of the award recipient to ensure that labor agreements are prepared and signed with each employee in full accordance with current Moldovan law, and all social security and tax deductions are accurately and timely performed by the employer. 
  2. The award recipient will advise all locally hired staff of the fact that the employee is employed by a U.S. Government partner does not absolve him/her from payment of any taxes imposed by any level of government in Moldova. The U.S. Government bears no liability or responsibility for the employment, benefits or welfare of the employee under employment agreement between the award recipient and the employee, nor will any credit for employment be given by the U.S. Government should the employee ever apply for a position with the U.S. Government. 

Implementing Programs at America House Balti: 

  1. The America House Balti’s programs are planned in consultation with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy and should be low-cost or even free to produce with the help of volunteers and local partners. The AHB supports a dynamic events calendar that includes English conversation clubs, film screenings, workshops/roundtable discussions for U.S. exchange program alumni, EducationUSA advising, cultural events, and events that feature high-level U.S. and Moldovan officials. 
  2. The proposal should also include program activities that will be supported by funds through the cooperative agreement. These may include, but are not limited to: virtual lectures and discussions with Americans, dialogue programs with exchange program alumni, performances, presentations from representatives of U.S. universities, training workshops, MOOCs, honoraria for local guest speakers, etc. Approximately 15% of funding should be used for program activities. 
  3. In March 2020, American Spaces worldwide shifted their presence on-line through virtual programming, webinars, virtual conversations clubs, virtual movie creenings and discustions, and an enhanced on-line and social media presence. The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau continues to encourage American Spaces in Moldova to keep their presence on-line and expects the  award recipient to come up with innovative virtual programming. 
  4. The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, both through the Public Affairs Section (PAS) and other embassy sections, also provides other programming opportunities at America House Balti. For example, the Public Affairs Section administers a robust cultural and academic exchange portfolio that includes visiting artists, musicians, academics, students, and American speakers. Additional programs managed by partner organizations (alumni events, lectures by Fulbright scholars, etc.) also regularly take place at American Spaces. All activities of this kind organized or sponsored by the U.S. Embassy will be integrated into the activities of the AHB when appropriate. Therefore, AHB programs proposed by the recipient are only some of the range of programming that ultimately will be provided at the center. 

 

Day-to-Day Operations at America House Balti: 

  1. The proposal should include a detailed operational plan for managing a full-fledged cultural center that is open to the public five days a week. This includes, but is not limited to, staff schedule to ensure coverage, plans to procure supplies and materials necessary to provide the full range of services and programming typical of the American Soaces including: 
  2. ∙  Internet services, IT support (including software), and maintenance of equipment such as photocopiers and A/V equipment 
  3. ∙  Communications (telephone, postal services, etc.) 
  4. ∙  Supplemental furniture if needed 
  5. ∙  Supplemental equipment (additional or replacement iPads, computers, TV monitors, copy machine, printers) if needed 
  6. ∙  Marketing materials and promotional signs 
  7. ∙  Contractual services to maintain the center’s activities, including equipment repair as 
  8. needed, interpretation services, and delivery of drinking water 

Responsibilities: 

The award recipient’s specific responsibilities for this program include, but may not be limited to: 

1. Hiring America House Balti  (AHB) staff, as outlined above, recruiting new staff as needed; 

2. Providing space for the AHB including electricity, building repairs, and some office supplies. The space should be close to public transport and centrally located;

3. Developing programs and events at AHB: creating proposals (including budgets) for programs developed under the cooperative agreement, submitting those proposals for approval by the U.S. Embassy one week before the start of each calendar month, and executing those proposals, ensuring that a minimum average of ten programs per week are taking place at AHB;

4. Provide logistical and operational support for programs and events initiated through PAS Chisinau’s public diplomacy programming or by PAS’s partner organizations; 

5. Assisting visitors to AHB;

6. Managing a member database and encouraging repeat visitors to AHB; 

7. Marketing AHB to target audiences, ensuring at a minimum 100 visitors per week to the Center within eight months of the start of the cooperative agreement; 

8. Providing weekly updates on program attendance and a monthly report on AHB operations and programs to PAS Chisinau; 

9. Develop a robust monitoring and evaluation plan to provide regular feedback to PAS Chisinau on AHB operations, visitors, and program impact;

10. Actively managing social media presence for AHB; 

11. Purchasing materials and supplies for AHB including, but not limited to books, DVDs, games, software, technology, and resource materials on an as-needed basis; 

12. Ensuring that AHB is clean and all equipment is well-maintained; 

13. Procuring and supervising catering for a small number of events as approved by PAS Chisinau; 

In a cooperative agreement, the U.S. Embassy is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine award monitoring. The Embassy’s activities and responsibilities for this program are as follows: 

1. Approve selection of the venue;

2. Approve hiring of all America House Balti staff; 

3. Approve the purchase of major supplies, including but not limited to computers, iPads, books, DVDs; 

4. Provide policy guidance on key themes to be promoted in program development; 

5. Approve the monthly calendar of events at AHB; 

6. Provide guidance and oversight on the further development of AHB;

7. Provide additional programming opportunities through Public Affairs programs;

8. Provide guidance on the State Department’s licensing agreement for film showings. 

FUNDING LEVELS AND ALLOWABLE EXPENSES: 

  1. Subject to availability of funds, up to $75,000 is available for this program, which will support one cooperative agreement for the operation of America House Balti over the period of two years. Allowable costs are those directly related to the project activities. The program encourages organizations to provide in-kind contributions and/or coordinate funding with other donors. The Embassy reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. 
  2. Suggested program costs include, but are not limited to, the following:  

● Staff salaries, benefits, taxes 

● Materials and supplies 

● Honoraria for program facilitators

● Cultural and social activities 

● Meeting and workshop costs 

● Evaluation 

● Other justifiable expenses directly related to supporting program activities 

While there is no rigid ratio of administrative to program costs, the Embassy urges applicants to keep administrative costs as low and reasonable as possible. 

Proposals may not include funding requests for the following: 

● Ongoing operating costs and capital improvements 

● Purchase of vehicles 

● Activities that convey the appearance of partisanship or support for electoral campaigns

● Social welfare projects

● Academic or analytical research (if not part of a larger project) 

● Scholarships

● Medical and psychological research 

● Clinical studies 

● Provision of health care services 

● Entertainment costs (receptions, social activities, ceremonies, alcoholic beverages, cocktail parties, guided tours) 

● Costs associated with travel to the United States and activities in the United States

● Commissioning or creating art work (unless part of a broader project) 

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION: 

Period of Performance: The new cooperative agreement will be valid from October 1, 2020 until September 30, 2022. Awards for additional years may be provided on a non-competitive basis pending successful completion of the first two years of the program and pending the availability of funds. 

Application Submission Process: Application materials must be submitted by email to MoldovaGrants@state.gov. The subject line of submission emails should follow this format: American Resource Center Program: Name of Individual or Organization. For assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, please email MoldovaGrants@state.gov. 

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted by email on or before August 24, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (Chisinau Time). Applications submitted after that time will be ineligible for consideration. There will be no exceptions to this application deadline. 

Application Content and Format: Applicants must follow the instructions and conditions contained herein and supply all information required. 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: 

Applicants should submit a proposal describing the program in a convincing and comprehensive manner. Since there is no opportunity for applicants to meet with reviewing officials, the proposal should respond to the criteria set forth in the solicitation and other guidelines as clearly as possible. Proposals should address succinctly, but completely, the elements described below and must follow all format requirements. 

NOTE: Proposals must be submitted and only in the following formats: 

- Microsoft Word 

- Microsoft Excel
- Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) 

Proposals should include the following items under the section headings in the Application Checklist: 

Standard Forms: 

“SF-424 Mandatory Form”
“SF-424A Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs “ “SF-424B Assurances for Non-construction Programs” “SF-LLL Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” if applicable 

The forms can be found on the Grants.gov website under the FORMS tab. 

Executive Summary 

In one double-spaced page, provide a summary of the proposed program including information on the applicant, an overview of program activities, and funding level requested from the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau. 

Narrative 

Within 20 double-spaced, single sided pages with one inch margins, in a size 12 New Times Roman font, provide a detailed description of the project addressing the areas listed below. In the narrative, applicants should not only describe major program activities but also explain and justify their programmatic choices. 

1. Vision: Describe the venue, project objectives and the desired outcomes. What about venue? 

2. Staffing: Describe how the applicant will provide adequate oversight of the programming through program and administrative staff in support of the project. 

3. Project Activities: Describe the key components of the program including a monthly program of activities for visitors and programs not limited to local and U.S. embassy guest speakers, workshops, English-language clubs, book clubs, virtual lectures and discussions with Americans, dialogue programs with exchange program alumni, presentations from representatives of U.S. universities, and other thematic programming in support of key issues and topics of importance to Moldovan audiences and U.S. foreign policy goals; providing and maintaining all necessary supplies and services for American Resource Center programming including. 

4. Monitoring: Detail how the applicant will ensure the program will be effectively monitored throughout its duration. 

5. Evaluation: In the submitted proposal, applicants should include a plan describing how success in meeting the stated goals of the program will be measured and reported. The Embassy recommends that the proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other method. 

6. Diversity: Explain how the program managers will proactively support diversity in program content, demonstrating how diversity can contribute to a vibrant civil society. Diversity should be defined broadly to include geographic, urban/rural, ethnic, racial, socio-economic, sexual orientation and religious diversity. To the greatest extent possible, America House Balti programs and activities should be made available online to Moldova’s national American Spaces network. 

7. Institutional Capacity and Project Management: Outline the applicant organization’s capacity to conduct projects of this nature, focusing on the provision of educational and thematic programs; and previous work in the region. If applicable, outline how the applicant can tie in additional programs and resources from existing projects that can strengthen and diversify America House Balti programming. 

8. Work Plan/Schedule: Outline the phases of the project planning and implementation for the entire award period. Provide a sample draft schedule of activities in a given month. 

Additional Attachments 

● Work Plan / Calendar of Activities 

● Resumes of key personnel 

● Copy of indirect agreement, if applicable 

● Detailed budget (excel) 

● Budget narrative 

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS: 

All organizations applying to receive Federal assistance must have a Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS), a CCR (NCAGE) number, and an active account with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) before an award can be made

Dun &Bradstreet DUNS - A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or requesting on-line at www.dnb.com. The DUNS number is a nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities. All organizations applying for U.S. government grant funds must have a DUNS number. To obtain a DUNS number, please follow the steps below: 

1. Go to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/CCRSearch.jsp. 

2. Select the country where your organization is physically located. Complete and submit the form. Organizations will need to provide basic information, including physical and mailing addresses, name and title of the chief executive, primary Standard Industrial Code (SIC), and annual revenue. Typically, organizations can complete this process in one day and have a DUNS number emailed to them. For technical difficulties in obtaining this number, please contact D&B at: govt@dnb.com. 

System for Award Management (SAM) - SAM is a U.S.-government wide registry of vendors doing business with the U.S. federal government and requires annual renewal. The system centralizes information about grant applicants/recipients, and provides a central location for grant applicants/recipients to change organizational information. More information about SAM.gov and useful guides for setting-up a new account, updating an existing account, or renewing an expired account can be found at: https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Pages/SAMInfo.aspx 

Foreign-based applicants are strongly encouraged to review these guides when creating an account with SAM.gov. Further, applicants must maintain an active account, with current information, while its application is under consideration for funding. To keep an active SAM.gov account, Applicants must renew it at least once each year. If an account expires, the 

Organization cannot submit a grant application until it is renewed. To create a new account, please follow the steps below: 

1. Go to http://www.sam.gov. 

2. Select Create User Account, and then select Create an Account on the left-hand side of the 

screen under Individual Account Details. Organizations must have DUNS number and a CAGE number (US Domestic Organizations) or a NCAGE number (Foreign Organizations), to create an account. 

3. Complete and submit the online form. If the applying organization already has the necessary information on hand (see the SAM User Guide), the online form takes approximately one hour to complete, depending upon the size and complexity of the applying entity. Because of the different steps in the process, it can take anywhere from three to fourteen days to complete the process of creating an account with the system. 

For help with SAM.gov, please visit their support page at: https://www.fsd.gov or contact them at: (+1) 334-206-7828. 

AUTHORITY: 

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright- Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations...and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation. 

SELECTION CRITERIA: 

The Embassy Public Diplomacy Grants Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate proposals received in response to this funding opportunity: 

Program Goals and Objectives/Activities Plan: A clear overview of the program, as well as goals and objectives, should be indicated in the proposal. The Embassy Public Diplomacy Grants Committee will closely consider whether the overall objectives match the stated goals of the program. Applicants should describe what they propose to do and how they will do it. The proposed activities must directly relate to meeting the goals and objectives, and applicants should include information on how they will measure activities’ effectiveness. Proposals should have a clear monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure proper implementation of the program. The Grants Committee will evaluate the activities planned in terms of their relevance to the current situation and the program goals and objectives, the feasibility of the proposed activities, and their timeline for completion. 

Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional resources in both the United States and Ukraine should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record of successful programs in the host country, including responsible fiscal management and adherence to local laws. The proposal should demonstrate and ability to function independently in the host country, ideally with a local office that is able to provide constant oversight of the program in country. 

Program Monitoring and Evaluation: The proposal should include a plan to evaluate the program’s success in meeting its goals, both as the activities unfold and after they have been completed. The proposal should include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique, plus a description of a methodology to link outcomes to original project objectives. The award recipient will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded. 

Budget: Costs should be reasonable and realistic in relation to the program activities. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible so that the committee may determine the extent to which the request represents an efficient use of U.S. government resources. The budget should be consistent with the narrative description of the program and should reflect the applicant’s understanding of the allowable cost principles established by Title 2 CFR 200.306 (part 230) on cost principles for non-profit organizations. 

Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is strongly encouraged; however, it is not a requirement of an application in response to this funding announcement. 

NOTE: The cooperative agreement can be renewed twice on an annual basis pending successful implementation of the program, and subject to availability of funds. 

DISCLAIMER: 

Applicants can expect to be notified of the status of their application by no later than September 20th, 2020. Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the United States Government (USG). It does not commit the USG to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. The USG reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received. If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award. The USG reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements. 

CONTACT INFORMATION: 

Should additional information be required, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova at MoldovaGrants@state.gov

 

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