Notice of Funding Opportunity

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. Mission to NATO

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Program Office:                                U.S. Mission to NATO’s Office of the Public Affairs Advisor

Funding Opportunity Title:             NATO’s 70th Anniversary:  New challenges and changing landscapes

Funding Opportunity Number:      DOS-USNATO-PAA-2019-001

Deadline for Applications:             May 13, 2019

CFDA Number:                                19.040

Approximate Amount Available:    $250,000.00

 

I. Background 

On April 4, 2019, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrates 70 years as the most successful military alliance in history.  Since its creation, NATO has been the cornerstone of security for the transatlantic area and defined by its commitment to a free and peaceful Europe.  Today, the Alliance confronts new challenges, both physical and virtual.  The Alliance and its members must adapt to the changing security and political landscape if NATO is to continue playing its critical role of collective defense.

In December 2019, Allied Heads of State and Government will gather to the U.K. for a Leader’s Meeting.  In London, member nation leaders will assess the progress of commitments made from prior Summits, such as increasing defense spending to reach NATO military spending targets.  They will also look to strengthen their commitment to defense and deterrence campaigns and efforts to build stability on NATO’s periphery. As the Alliance transitions to the next 70 years, decisions from the Leader’s Meeting will be critical in shaping how the Alliance plans to remain the leader in global security for the next 70 years and beyond.

Program Description

The Office of the Public Affairs Advisor (PAA) at the U.S. Mission to NATO (USNATO) announces an open competition for not-for-profit, non-government organizations and think-tanks that focus on international affairs, defense and security issues, and U.S. and European relations to submit project proposals.  We encourage project proposals to include public, on-the-record discussions and creative public engagements in Europe and Canada on the major theme of “How the Alliance can address new challenges and changing landscapes for the next 70”.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.

USNATO seeks proposals that illustrate themes around NATO’s strategic focus on deterrence and defense and projecting stability. We seek to support work with specific emphasis on priority issues including burden sharing, disinformation, counterterrorism, cyber security, and other areas that will be of focus during the Leader’s Meeting in London. To successfully communicate these policies, the Alliance and its stakeholders must explain and debate these issues with policymakers, media, and their public in the coming months.

USNATO is pursuing proposals from qualified applicants that will outline how the Alliance can transform its intent on these broad policy questions into tangible actions and programs that NATO and its member states can implement. In addition to initiatives related to the Leader’s Meeting in December 2019; we will also accept proposals focused on NATO Allied members defense investment pledges, ways the Alliance can support counterterrorism efforts, and novel methods to support cyber defense commitments including ways to blunt disinformation. We look forward to reviewing proposals from partner institutions that discuss some or all of these important NATO-related topics. Additional topics that may be of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Defense investment including national plans to reach the 2% and 20% thresholds;
  • Building support for NATO with the next generation
  • The NATO-Russia relationship;
  • Russian government’s malign activities
  • Methods to identify and combat disinformation as well as approaches to evaluating the efficacy of those methods
  • Counterterrorism;
  • NATO’s efforts in the south and east;
  • NATO partnerships and cooperative security
  • Collaboration with European Union and other international institutions
  • Countering hybrid warfare;
  • Strengthening cybersecurity.

Successful proposals will emphasize the ability to deliver clear messages to selected audiences through traditional forums and new technologies. These proposals should include a narrative about the importance of the NATO Alliance and its mission to a broad non-U.S. audience including the general public, women, youth and future leaders, the security and defense community, policy makers, and opinion shapers in European countries. We hope to stimulate new ideas and to encourage public dialogue on the priorities for NATO in the upcoming years. Finally, all institutions submitting proposals should explain how the activities proposed will be measured and evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the proposal’s content.

The kinds of activities and work funded with this award may include (but should not be limited to):

  • conferences,
  • symposiums,
  • public debates and moderated discussions,
  • digital engagements,
  • round-table discussions.

Please note: all activities should be targeted at European and/or Canadian audiences and should take place in either Europe or Canada unless justification is provided.

We strongly encourage:

  • New and creative approaches that utilize digital technology, social media and other innovative means;
  • Programs that seek to reflect the diversity of thought and background as well as gender balance.
  • Forthright analysis about the gaps in NATO strategies along with practical solutions to address deficiencies.
  • Evaluation components that will help inform the measure of the proposal’s effectiveness, rather than merely its output.

Grant funding cannot be used for salaries, rent, or other general support of an organization, unless these expenses are directly tied to the project.

 

II. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 06 to 24 months

Number of awards anticipated: 1-4 awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $20,000 to a maximum of $100,000.00

Approximate available funding: $250,000.00

Type of Funding:  FY19 Fulbright Hayes Public Diplomacy Funds

Anticipated program start date:  10/01/2019

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.

 

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants

The following U.S. or foreign organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Public and private educational institutions
  • Public International Organizations and Governmental Institutions
  • Individuals are ineligible to apply

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

This program does not require cost sharing or spending matching by the grantee.

C. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section IV.C for information on how to obtain these registrations.

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. 

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

A. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at the U.S. Mission to NATO’s homepage at https://nato.usmission.gov or www.grants.gov.

B. 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
• All pages are numbered

The following documents are required:
1. Mandatory application forms
SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) at Grants.Gov
SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) at Grants.Gov
SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) at Grants.Gov

*Note – The SF-424B is required only for those applicants who have not registered in SAM.gov or recertified their registration in SAM.gov since February 2, 2019 and completed the online representations and certifications

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. USNATO Project Proposal Form (located in the “Related Documents” tab of the Grants.gov announcement.): The project proposal form (15 pages maximum) should contain sufficient information to effectively familiarize the reader with precisely what the applicant intends 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 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 (long term and short) 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.
 • Budget Justification Narrative: In addition to the SF-424A Budget (above), describe each of the budget expenses in as much detail as possible. See section VIII. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

4. Attachments
• 1-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
• If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
• Official permission letters, if required for program activities

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

Required Registrations:
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.

All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
• Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
• NCAGE/CAGE code
• www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov. SAM registration must be renewed annually.

D. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than May 13, 2019 11:59PM Brussels Time

E. Funding Restrictions

Award funding is not allowed to pay for the activities of any U.S. Government Employees. Additionally, the purchase of alcoholic beverages with award funding is prohibited.

F. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to USNATOPASProposals@state.gov.

V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

1. Criteria

The U.S. government will award grants to the applicants whose proposals represent the best value to USNATO on the basis of technical merit and cost. Each application will be evaluated by a review committee of USNATO staff. The evaluation criteria have been tailored to the policy priorities outlined in this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Proposals should be drafted along the framework outlined below. Applicants should note that the sections listed below will (1) serve as a standard against which all proposals will be evaluated, and (2) serve to identify the significant matters that should be addressed in all proposals.

   • 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. Positive performance and timely reporting on previous awards.

 • 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 – 15 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 – 5 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.

3. 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.

4. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

USNATO anticipates selection of proposals and award announcements by mid-September 2019. Federal award dates will be on or before September 28, 2019.

VI. 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: Payment will be made via EFT transfer.

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.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx
Note the U.S. Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

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.

VII. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: USNATOPASProposals@state.gov.

VIII. OTHER INFORMATION
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.