Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy Moscow Public Affairs Section FY 2022 Annual Program Statement (APS)
Funding Opportunity Number: DOSRUS-22-GR-001
Deadline for Applications: Rolling until July 15, 2022
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Funding
Total Amount Available: Amount pending funds availability
Maximum for Each Award: $25,000 – $250,000

BACKGROUND The United States condemns the Kremlin’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.  We remain committed to imposing a severe economic and diplomatic cost on the Government of Russia as it pursues a war that threatens the foundations of global peace and stability.  However, we do not hold the people of Russia responsible for President Putin’s war.  While there is no equivalency with the atrocities being carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine, President Putin has also systematically ratcheted up repression inside Russia, shutting down independent media, restricting internet access, and punishing dissent with harsh prison terms.  We recognize the terrible choices this presents for the Russian people who cannot make their voices heard.  In these dire times, cutting off contact with all Russian people does not serve the long-term interests of the United States.  To this end, the United States continues to pursue people-to-people exchanges and programs that welcome individual Russian students, scholars, and emerging civil society and business leaders to our academic institutions and our country to learn about the American people, values, and institutions.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION The U.S. Embassy Moscow Public Affairs Section (PAS) announces that funding is available through our Public Diplomacy Grants Program.  This Annual Program Statement outlines our funding priorities, strategic themes, and the procedure for submitting requests for funding.  Applications for programs are accepted on a rolling basis until the deadline (July 15, 2022).  This deadline is necessary to provide sufficient time to process and award programs before the end of our fiscal year on September 30, 2022.

Please carefully follow all instructions below. Please use the grant application document and budget template found on our website.

Purpose of APS Grants:  PAS Moscow invites proposals for projects that strengthen ties and understanding between the American and Russian people through concrete demonstrations of cooperation between our two peoples.  All grant proposals must convey an element of American history, culture, or shared values.  Competitive proposals should support a priority program area (see below). Competitive proposals should also include a connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s that will promote increased cooperation between the people of the United States and Russia even after the program has finished.

Priority Programming Areas:

  • Media & Information: Projects that promote an understanding of freedom of the press, good journalistic practices, increased access to information, and improved media literacy for the Russian people;
  • Sharing America: Projects that promote an understanding of the American values of democracy, freedom of expression, and an open society, as well as proposals that increase the understanding of America’s diverse cultures and groups;
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: Projects that support women and minority rights and programs that provide skills and tools for people with disabilities;
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Projects that promote an understanding of entrepreneurship, American business, workplace, and legal values, and increases the entrepreneurship skills of the Russian people;
  • One Planet: Projects that promote improvements, innovation, advancement, and collaboration in the areas of community and regional health, technology, and the environment, and energy.
  • English Language: Projects that support innovative, interactive teaching, and learning of the English language.  Projects that support ongoing efforts of the Regional English Language Office will be especially welcome.

The following types of projects are not eligible for funding:

  • Projects relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction projects;
  • Projects that support specific religious activities;
  • Fundraising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or projects;
  • Competitions where the prize is the only outcome of the program;
  • Scientific research; or
  • Projects that duplicate existing projects.

Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:

Funding authority rests primarily in Fulbright-Hayes or Smith-Mundt FY2022 Public Diplomacy funding.

Length of performance period:  Up to 24 months
Number of awards anticipated:  Dependent on funds availability
Award amounts:  Awards may range from $25,000 – $250,000
Total available funding:  To be determined
Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2022 Public Diplomacy Funding
Anticipated project start date:  October 2022

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 Public Affairs Section staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.  Examples of the substantial involvement by PAS staff include the development of the grant program, final approval of grant activities, and participation in selection panels for program participants.

Project Performance Period:  Proposed projects should ideally be planned for a period of no more than 24 months.  PAS 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.

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligibility is limited to U.S. and Russian entities qualified to receive U.S. grants and able to develop and implement programs in the Russian Federation.  These include:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, educational institutions, civil society organizations, and individuals carrying out programs in support of civil society;
  • Museums, national parks, and nature reserves, and;

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

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing (providing funding or goods/services in-kind) is encouraged but not required.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a valid registration on www.SAM.gov and a unique entity identifier (UEI).  Please see Section G.3 below for information on how to meet this requirement.

Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

I. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available on the sidebar of the Annual Program Statement Page of this website.

You may also request an application package by emailing GrantsRussia@state.gov. Please note the funding opportunity title and number in the subject line.

II. 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;
  • All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

1. Mandatory Application Forms

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

All available at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html

2. Summary Coversheet: A one-page cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, project title, project period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the project. Please use the coversheet template on our Embassy website.

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: Please use the proposal application template found on our Embassy website.

  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the project, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement and Project Goals and Objectives: A clear concise statement of the problem you are trying to solve in Russia. Then, describe what the project is intended to achieve. What aspect of the relationship between the United States and Russia will be improved?  The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals.  These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Project Activities: Describe the project activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Project beneficiaries: A description of who will be targeted and benefit from this program.
  • Proposed Project Schedule: The proposed timeline for the project 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 project.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this project?
  • Project Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees, as applicable.
  • Expected Results: What is the expected outcome of this project?  How will that be measured? 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.
  • Public Engagement Plan:  Applicant’s strategy for creating content for social media, the web, or printed materials that promotes the project activity or joint U.S.-Russian cooperation during the program timeline.

4. Detailed Budget in an a excel spreadsheet. Please use the provided template.

5. 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 G. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

Please note:  One of the criteria for evaluating proposals is cost-effectiveness.  The budget should demonstrate efficient use of funds appropriate to achieve project goals.  Overhead and administrative components of the budget, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible.  All estimated expenses should be consistent with project plans and activities.

6. Attachments: Please include:

  • One-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the project.
  • Letters of support from project partners, if any, 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 project activities with program partners, for instance

III. Submission Dates and Times

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time on or before 5 PM Moscow time, July 15, 2022.  No applications will be accepted after that date.  It is strongly recommended that applicants submit proposals and supporting documentation to GrantsRussia@state.gov well before this date to ensure receipt prior to the deadline.

IV. Funding Restrictions

Award funds cannot be used for construction projects, vehicle purchases, real estate purchases, or other similar purposes.

V. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to GrantsRussia@state.gov.  Please do not submit proposals via www.grants.gov.

1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below on a scale of 1 – 100.  Applications will be judged by a panel of American Embassy staff members using the scale below:

10% Organizational capacity and record on previous grants:  The organization has expertise in its stated field and PAS is confident of its ability to undertake the project.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

15% Quality and feasibility of the program idea:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how project activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

10% Goals and objectives:  Goals and objectives are clearly stated and project approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

30% Embassy priorities:  Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Moscow’s priority areas or target audiences.

10% Budget:  The budget justification is detailed, and costs are allowable.  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.

10% Project Impact and Monitoring and Evaluation plan:  The applicant has expected results and measurable outcomes and demonstrates the ability to measure program success against key indicators.  The applicant provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The project includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.

10% Sustainability:  Project activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.

5% Public Outreach:  The program includes live or real-time social media products in Russian, or otherwise promotes the collaborative nature of the project to the Russian public.

2. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee consisting of at least three U.S. Mission Russia staff members will evaluate all eligible applications on a bi-weekly basis.  However, final decisions may be delayed pending the availability of funds.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

Announcement and federal award dates will be announced on a rolling basis and no later than September 30, 2022.

1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the U.S. Embassy 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 project 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

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

Payment Method:  Payments will be made by electronic transfer in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the project activities.  Grantees must have the ability to receive funds at a financial institution not on the U.S. Treasury’s OFAC sanction list:  https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/sanctions-list-search-tool

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions for the administration of grant agreements include the following:

Office of Management and Budget’s Circular 2 CFR Parts 200 and 600, entitled the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Effective December 26, 2014, replacing the previous circulars).

For a copy of the OMB circular cited, please contact the U.S. Government Publishing Office or download from the www.ecfr.gov website. Please reference the following websites for additional information: https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx

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.

In addition, successful applicants are expected to apprise the Grants Officer or Grants Officer Representative on progress throughout the project period.  This includes keeping the Grants Officer and/or Grants Officer Representative apprised of any problems or issues that might make it difficult for the grantee to comply with the terms of the award within the project period.

If you have any questions about the grant application process or the proposal requirements, please email GrantsRussia@state.gov.  Note:  U.S. Embassy Moscow does 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.

1. 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 project, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the project.

Travel:  Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this project. If the project 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 project, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the project), 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 project.  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 project activities.

Other Direct Costs:  Describe other costs directly associated with the project, 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 project 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.  If your organization does not have a NICRA, the applicant may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).

2. Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $24,000 of each sub-award (regardless of the period of performance of the sub-awards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each sub-award in excess of $24,000.

Cost Share:  While not required, if the budget includes cost-sharing, please provide explanatory notes.  Cost share refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.  It may also include in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.  Cost sharing does not apply to Fixed Amount Awards, and is not required for approval of an award.

Budget restrictions include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any associated costs are unallowable, except where specific costs that might otherwise be considered entertainment have a programmatic purpose and are authorized either in the approved budget for the Federal award or with prior written approval.
  • Expenses incurred before or after the specified dates of the award period of performance (unless prior written approval is received)

3. 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 the following registrations.  All are free of charge.  Individuals are not required to obtain these registrations.

  • NCAGE / CAGE code
  • gov registration
  • Unique entity identifier (UEI) from gov

Step 1:

Domestic U.S. organizations may apply for a CAGE number here:https://cage.dla.mil/Home/UsageAgree

Overseas organizations may apply for an NCAGE number here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx

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 CAGE/NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.   You will be given an UEI during the SAM registration as a permanent identifier of your organization.  Please note that SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  Who can apply?
A:  Russian and American individuals, non-profit organizations, schools, and universities who are able to develop and implement programs may apply for funding.  Funding is open to both Americans and Russians. Russian government institutions are NOT eligible to apply.  Programs must further mutual understanding between our two countries.  We do not fund research projects, but opportunities for Russian researchers can be found here.

Q:  I’ve heard the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has suspended routine visa services.  Can my proposal include travel of Russian citizens to the United States?  How will they obtain U.S. visas?  Conversely, can my proposal include U.S. citizen travel to Russia?
A:  Russian citizens may apply for U.S. visas at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of Russian where they are able to obtain an appointment.  The Embassy recommends factoring in significantly higher travel costs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and third country visa issuance.  Any American citizen considering travel is strongly encouraged to read the U.S. Department of State’s Level 4 Travel Advisory for Russia.  All grantees should secure the approval of the Grant Officer before proceeding with travel.

Q:  Where can I find information about Russia-related U.S. sanctions?
A:  Please visit the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) website for more information:  https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/sanctions-programs-and-country-information/russia-related-sanctions

Q:  I’m an individual. Can I use the grant to pay salaries for others?
A:  No, the Embassy issues different types of awards.  An award for an individual can only be used for the individual.  If you are an individual that is applying as part of a group and aren’t connected to an organization, each individual will receive a separate award.

Q:  What types of grant awards are there?
A:  The Embassy awards individual awards and awards to organizations.  The Embassy also awards cooperative agreements, in which the Embassy has substantial involvement in the project.

Q:  When should I apply?
A:  You should apply as soon as you have a completed application.  At the absolute minimum, you should apply at least 8 weeks before a proposed grant start date though we recommend applying at least 12-16 weeks before the proposed project start date.

Q:  How long does it take to receive funding?
A:  Usually, organizations and individuals receive funding in their bank account within 3 weeks of the conclusion of an award and a request for funding; however, sometimes it can take 6-8 weeks for funding to arrive, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, we may approve a grant proposal but come back to the grantee with questions about certain aspects of the program.  In that case, it will take additional time to resolve the issues.  American and Russian holidays can delay the process as well.

Q:  What is the deadline to apply?
A:  You may apply any time before July 15, 2022.  We review applications on a bi-weekly basis, and you can generally expect to receive a response within one month of your proposal submission.  Unforeseen delays may occur and it may take longer to receive a response.

Q:  What if my program takes place in late summer or fall 2022?
A:  If your proposed program begins in late summer or early fall, you should submit your application as soon as it is completed.  You may wish to address the feasibility of shifting your program to a later date in your proposal.  Please note the processing timelines mentioned above for both proposal review and payment.

Q:  If my program takes place in November or December of 2022, may I still apply?
A:  If planning and preparation for your program will begin before September 30, 2022, your program is eligible for consideration.

Q:  I have already started spending money on my project but have not yet received a grant from the U.S. Embassy.  Can I be reimbursed for these costs?
A:  No, grant awards can only cover costs that are incurred after the grant is signed.  The costs must be listed on the budget that is signed by both you and the Embassy.  We will not approve a budget item if you have already purchased that item for the project.

Q:  I want to bring an American expert to Russia.  I do not want funds to come to myself or my organization, as it would be better for the funds to come to the visitor.  Can I still apply for funding?
A:  Yes, we have alternative funding mechanisms to support visits of American experts to Russia.  Please reach out to USEmbRuCulture@state.gov with requests for more information.

Q:  How does funding work?
A:  Once a grant is signed by an officer at the U.S. Embassy, it means that the Embassy guarantees payment of the amount listed on the grant award pending completion of the project and proper reporting. Once you sign the grant, you have formally agreed to undertake the project and may begin work on the project and incur costs listed on the approved budget.  Funds will be transferred upon the request of the organization or individual.  They are not transferred automatically.  Most organizations are expected to have funds on hand in their own accounts to begin working on the project before the first funds transfer is complete.  Once you have started the project, you may then request the funds for the listed budget items, up to 80% of the total cost of the project.  Once the project is complete and reports have been sent and approved, you may request for us to transfer the final 20%.

Q:  Are organizations outside of the Russian Federation and the United States eligible to submit proposals?
A:  Eligibility is limited to U.S. and Russian entities qualified to receive U.S. grants and able to develop and implement programs in the Russian Federation.  Organizations outside of the U.S. and Russia who wish to submit a proposal are encouraged to partner with a U.S. or Russian organization as the primary applicant and award recipient, with the organization outside of the U.S. or Russia as a subgrantee.

Q: Can a single organization submit more than one proposal for funding under APS 2022?
A: A single organization can submit multiple proposals to be considered for funding through Public Diplomacy Grants Program.  However, any proposal should be distinct, the applicant should avoid the risks of duplication and/or double-financing of similar activities.