Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2023

FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Funding Opportunity Title: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2023
Date Opened: Thursday, October 27, 2022.
Applications Deadline: Tuesday, February 28, 2023.
Funding type: Grants, Cooperative Agreements or Fixed Amount Awards
Authorization Legislation: Fulbright Hays-Act of 1961
Expected size of individual awards: Between $5,000 to $35,000.
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in one year or  less.

  1. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates to Brazil announces an open competition for past  participants (“alumni”) of U.S. government-funded and U.S. government-sponsored  exchange programs to submit applications to the 2023 Alumni Engagement Innovation  Fund (AEIF 2023).
  2. We seek proposals from teams of at least two U.S. government-sponsored exchange  alumni or involvement of an alumni association that meet all program eligibility  requirements below.
  3. Exchange alumni interested in participating in AEIF 2023 should submit proposals  Brazilgrants@state.gov by February 28, 2023. 
  1. AEIF provides alumni of U.S. sponsored and facilitated exchange programs with  funding to expand on skills gained during their exchange experience to design and  implement innovative solutions to global challenges facing their community. Since its  inception in 2011, AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world  through a competitive global competition.
  2. Pending availability of funds, AEIF will consider proposals between $5,000 and  $35,000.
  3. This year, AEIF 2023 will support United States’ commitment to the Integrated  Country Strategy Goals to Brazil.
  4. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil will accept public service projects that  support themes such as:Mission Goal 1: The United States and Brazil Strengthen Democracy and Human Rights
       Mission Objective 1.1: Strengthen democratic institutions that deliver for all citizens and  create a platform for Brazil to serve as a leader on regionally and globally important  priorities.
       Mission Objective 1.2: Collaborate with Brazil to advance human rights for all, with an  emphasis on historically marginalized and/or underserved communities.
       Mission Objective 1.3: Strengthen the rule of law and increase efforts to counter  corruption and promote good governance and transparency.

    Mission Goal 2: Deepen an Inclusive and Sustainable U.S.-Brazil Economic Partnership
       Mission Objective 2.1: Expand bilateral trade and investment opportunities for U.S.  companies through economic policy and regulatory reforms.
       Mission Objective 2.2: Brazil expands reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound  energy sources and technologies that create U.S. commercial opportunities and support  Brazil’s inclusive, sustainable economic development.
       Mission Objective 2.3: Brazil’s economy advances more inclusive and sustainable  economic development through collaboration with industry, innovation, education, and  entrepreneurship programs and partnerships.

    Mission Goal 3: Strengthen U.S.-Brazil Partnership to Ensure Our Citizens’ Security
       Mission Objective 3.1: Enhanced security partnerships improve interoperability and  regional stability.
       Mission Objective 3.2: As a result of increased U.S.-Brazil cooperation on International  Parental Child Abduction, crisis preparedness, and enforcement of international travel  requirements, Brazil and the United States are safer for U.S. citizens.

    Mission Goal 4: Strengthen U.S.-Brazil Partnership on Climate Change to enhance Brazil’s efforts to implement Nationally Determined Contributions and deforestation targets in line with 1.5-degree Celsius pathways and with a climate-resilient world.
       Mission Objective 4.1: Support Brazil’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change  and reduce food and water insecurity, particularly among underserved and vulnerable  populations.
       Mission Objective 4.2: Brazil conserves biodiversity and protects critical ecosystems  through reductions in deforestation, forest fires, and illegal mining and promotes the  capacity-building of enforcement agencies and local communities. 

  1. The following individuals are eligible to apply:
    a.  Applicants must be alumni of a U.S. government-funded exchange program (https://alumni.state.gov/list-exchange-programs) or a U.S. government-sponsored  exchange program (https://j1visa.state.gov/).
    b.  Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni or with the  involvement of an alumni association.
    c.  Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni  may participate as team members in a project.
    d.  Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and  different countries.
    e.  Applications must be submitted by exchange alumni. Not-for-profit, non governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions are not eligible  to apply in the name of the organization but can serve as partners for  implementing project activities.
  2. Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.
    1.  Grant Program Area:
    a.  Proposals must address Integrated Country Strategy Goals to Brazil.
    b. Proposals that do not address the theme as outlined in the program objectives will  be deemed ineligible.
    c.  All project activities must take place outside of the United States and its  territories.
  3. Other Eligibility Requirements:
    a.  If the grant will be processed with an individual, that individual is not required to  have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number or be registered in SAM.gov.
    b. However, should the grant be processed with an organization that is a partner in  the project, that organization must have a unique entity identifier (UEI), as well as  a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.
    c.  Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment  practices and to non-discrimination practices regarding beneficiaries, without  regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political  affiliation.
  1. Application and budget templates are available at Grants Corner – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Brazil (br.usembassy.gov)
  2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    a.  Applications and budgets must be submitted using the official AEIF 2023 application and budget forms.
    b.  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.
  3. Please ensure:
    a.  The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding  opportunity.
    b.  The proposal addresses all questions in the official AEIF 2023 application form.
    c. All documents are in English.
    d.  The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated AEIF 2023 budget form.
    e.  All pages are numbered.
  4. Mandatory application forms:
    a.  SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I  (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals).
    b.  SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs).
    c.  SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs).
    d.  All forms can be found at the Grants.gov Website.
  5. Project Team Information:
    a.  At least two exchange alumni team members are required for a project to be  considered for funding.
    b.  Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role  each team member will have in the project, and their experience, qualifications,  and ability to carry out that role.
    c.  Applicants need to indicate what proportion of the team member’s time will be  used in support of the project.
    d.  Proposal Summary: A short narrative which outlines the proposed project,  including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact
  6. Project Goals and Objectives:
    a.  The goal/s of the proposed project need to describe what the project is intended to  achieve and include the objectives which support the goal/s.
    b.  Objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistically achievable in a set  time frame.
  7. Project Methods, Design, Timeline and Project Partners:
    a.  A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem  and achieve the goal/s. This should include a description of the project’s direct  and indirect beneficiaries as well as a plan on how to continue the program  beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
    b.  The proposed timeline for the project activities should include the dates, times,  and locations of planned activities and events.
    c.  Applicants may also submit proposed workshop or training agendas and  materials.
    d.  A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
  8. Communication Plan:
    a.  The communication plan should include a communication and outreach strategy  for promoting the proposed project. It may include social media, websites, print  news, or other forms of media intended to use to share information about the  project to beneficiaries and the public.
    b.  Communications should include AEIF 2023, Exchange Alumni, and U.S.  Embassy and Consulates to Brazil branding.
  9. Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:
    a.  The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal should outline in  detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and  objectives.
    b.  This should include any outcomes showing a change in knowledge, awareness,  and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group;  etc.
    c.  Proposals should also include how the grantee will measure the impact of planned  activities.
  10. Budget Justification Narrative:
    a.  Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification  utilizing the template provided.
    b.  Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail.
    c. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be  conducted in U.S. dollars.
  11. AEIF 2023 does not support the following activities or costs, and the selection  committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs  ineligible:
    a.  Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
    b.  Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
    c.  Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
    d.  Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
    e.  Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
    f.  Academic or scientific research
    g.  Charitable or development activities
    h.  Provision of direct social services to a population
    i.  Individual scholarships
    j.  Social travel/visits
    k.  Gifts or prizes
    l.  Duplication of existing programs
    m.  Institutional development of an organization
    n.  Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
    o. Support for specific religious activities
    p.  Fund-raising campaigns
    q.  Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific  legislation
  1. The U.S. embassy or consulate Public Affairs Sections will use the criteria outlined  below to evaluate all applications.
  2. The proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of regional and  exchange program experts located at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
  3. Panelists will use the criteria below to review and evaluate applications:
Relevance to Application Theme 

The proposal provides sufficient information on how the activities will support  the theme(s) of the competition. The narrative explains any relevant local context the  D.C. Selection Committee may not be aware of in relation to this project. Proposed  project ideas must be public diplomacy in nature (i.e., not development or military).

Purpose and Summary, Description, and Implementation Plan 

When developing the purpose, summary, description, and implementation plan,  applicants should aim to make all descriptions clear, concise, and compelling. Reviewers will judge the proposals based on the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained,  powerful influence on the community where it is undertaken. Does the project address  an important gap of understanding or need? If the aim of the project is achieved, how  will existing knowledge or practice be improved? What audience do the applicants hope  to reach with this project? How many will participate? How will they be selected?

Degree of Alumni Involvement 

Projects must include the involvement of at least two

(2) exchange alumni. They may be the project team leaders or collaborate directly with  PAS in formulating the project. More than two alumni may comprise the team, however, the minimum is two. As the team leaders, the alumni must be closely involved in project planning, implementation, etc. Applicants should ensure that the proposal includes the  following information for each alumni team member: first name, last name, e-mail  address, exchange program, country of citizenship, and roles and responsibilities.

Participation and Support from Local Partners 

The proposal demonstrates buy-in and support from the community where the project  will take place. Local partner involvement is a strong sign that there is community  support and that the project will engage a broad array of experts, such as subject matter  experts, community centers, academic institutions, businesses, local/national  government, non-governmental organizations, American Spaces, etc.

 

Evaluation and Impact of the Project 

A monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan is pivotal to project

implementation and important tracking progress towards the project’s objectives and  goals. An M&E plan should consider the data needed to effectively monitor progress  toward specific outputs and outcomes as well as how that data collection will be  accomplished. Well-crafted indicators should be used to understand a program’s  progress toward the desired results. An M&E plan should be reviewed for the  following:

  • Completion
  • Applicability and logic of objectives and indicators
  • Clear approach to monitoring
  • Adherence to SMART criteria
  • Feasibility of baselines and targets
  • Data quality plan
  • Capacity to implement plan
Communication, Media, and Outreach Plan 

The project should include a clear plan and timeline for how and when the team will  share information about the project. It is important to ensure that the U.S. Embassy gets  recognition throughout the process if circumstances permit.

Budget and Budget Narrative 

The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently 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. The results and  proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project. Budget items are reasonable,  allowable, and allocable.

 

  1. This notice is subject to availability of funding.
    a.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulates to Brazil does not guarantee availability of  funding by receiving applications under this announcement.
    b.  Only successful applicants will be contacted.
  1. The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants  Officer.
  2. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to  the recipient for review and signature by email.
  3. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date  shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
  4. 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.
  5. Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the 6.6.  U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the  preparation and submission of proposals.
  6. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
  7. Payment Method: The U.S. Embassy will have the discretion of disbursing funding in multiple installments depending on the project. The Grants Officer will determine the payment schedule at the time of the award.
  8. 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:
    a.  2 CFR 25 – UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER AND SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT
    b.  2 CFR 170 – REPORTING SUBAWARD AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION INFORMATION
    c.  2 CFR 175 – AWARD TERM FOR TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
    d.  2 CFR 182 – GOVERNMENTWIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE (FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE)
    e.  2 CFR 183 – NEVER CONTRACT WITH THE ENEMY
    f.  2 CFR 600 – DEPARTMENT OF STATE REQUIREMENTS
    g.  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  9. In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR  part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of  State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific  programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the  following:
    NOTE:  
    a.  Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August  13, 2020, particularly on:
    i) Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based  on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating  Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    ii) Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video  surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the  National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2  CFR part 200.216),
    iii) Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with  Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    iv) Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of  goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part  200.322), and
    v) Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent  authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or  agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
  10. Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The  award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.
  11. As required by Congress, the Department of State must make progress in its efforts to  improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance  Data Review (FADR). The FADR requires tracking of foreign assistance activity data  from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement.
  12. Successful applicants will be required to report and draw down federal funding based  on the appropriate FADR Data Elements, indicated within their award documentation.
  13. In cases of more than one FADR Data Element, typically program or sector and/or  regions or country, the successful applicant will be required to maintain separate  accounting records.

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact the Public  Affairs Section in Brasilia at Brazilgrants@state.gov.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil will host a webinar to answer questions from  potential applicants on January 18, 2023, at 14:00 (Brasilia time).

Pre- registration is required:

https://statedept.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_z4hjPpINR66fMyusLyHUhA