Brazil Small Grants Program: NOFO – Organizations

PAS invites eligible entities to submit proposals up to US$ 25,000.00 that highlight shared values or best practices and strengthen cultural ties between Brazil and the United States in priority areas. All activities must include an American element, such as (but not limited to) connections with American experts, organizations, or institutions that promote an increased understanding of U.S. American policy and perspectives.

Announcement Type:                                          Grant, Fixed Amount Award or Cooperative Agreement
Funding Opportunity Title:                                 Brazil Small Grants Program
Funding Opportunity Number:                           PAS-BRAZIL-FY23-APS01
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.:  19.040
Funding Amount:                                                 US$ 215,000.00 – Amount of award and number
.                                                                              of awards will depend on availability of funds.
Deadline for Applications:                                  July 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (Brasilia time)

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the application period and will be reviewed accordingly.

Executive Summary:

The Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil, announces the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for its Small Grants Program. This solicitation package outlines the steps for submitting proposals.

The Public Affairs Section will award grants, fixed amount award or cooperative agreements up to $25,000.00 (US dollars) for projects that advance strategic policy objectives and initiatives, while highlighting shared values or best practices and strengthening ties between Brazil and the United States. All projects must include an American element, such as, but not limited to, connections with American experts, organizations, or institutions that promote an increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives, as well as incorporate a cross-cutting approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).

PAS encourages applications from eligible civil society organizations, community representatives, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, government institutions, and international organizations. Please keep in mind that while an applicant may submit multiple proposals, each proposal must address only one of the initiative areas listed in the NOFO.

The Embassy and each one of the Consulates will be responsible for assessing and selecting projects for implementation in their respective regional jurisdictions.

Proposals intended for implementation in more than one consular district will be reviewed by the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia in collaboration with the respective consulates.

A.1 Program Initiatives

The following are the primary programming objectives for public affairs. Your project and activities must correspond to one of the initiatives:

1. Initiative: Build Capacity for Brazilian Civil Society Groups Defending Human Rights

The objective of this initiative is for the US Embassy and Consulates in Brazil to collaborate with local partners who serve underrepresented communities to develop and strengthen civil society organizations so that they may advocate for and support human rights more effectively.

Project ideas under this initiative include, but are not limited to:

a. Projects that strengthen institutional capacity of organizations in areas such as strategic planning, fundraising and diversifying revenue streams, proposal writing, communication, etc. – particularly among organizations serving marginalized and/or underrepresented communities.
b. Projects that promote the exchange of best practices and/or partnerships between Brazilian and American civil society organizations defending human rights.
c. Projects that encourage and/or facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships and/or networks to advance human rights.

2. Initiative: Expand Brazilians’ Access to Fact-Based Reporting to Counter Misinformation

The goal of this initiative is for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil to collaborate with local organizations to provide training opportunities or capacity building programs for local Brazilian media and journalists, with particular emphasis on news desert – a community, either rural or urban, with limited access to the sort of credible and comprehensive news and information that feeds democracy at the grassroots level.

Project ideas under this initiative include, but are not limited to:

a. Projects that strengthen institutional capacity of traditional and emerging media outlets to counter dis and misinformation.
b. Projects that increase fact checking skills among journalists, influencers, and other key stakeholders.
c. Projects that promote innovative solutions to combat dis and misinformation.

3. Initiative: Promote Entrepreneurship to Expand Economic Opportunities

This initiative’s goal is to provide entrepreneurs, particularly those who work with underserved communities, with the resources, innovative techniques, and other training tools they need to strengthen and grow their businesses while expanding their network and business opportunities.

Project ideas under this initiative include, but are not limited to:

a. Projects that strengthen business skills among entrepreneurs from marginalized and/or underrepresented communities.
b. Projects that promote the exchange of best practices and/or partnerships among entrepreneurial ecosystems in Brazil and the U.S.;
c. Projects that encourage and/or facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships and/or networks to expand opportunities for entrepreneurs – particularly those from marginalized and/or underrepresented communities

4. Initiative: Build Capacity for Brazilian Civil Society Groups Protecting the Environment

The initiative’s goal is to identify key participants who are already working with communities in areas critical to biodiversity and environmental protection and provide them with resources and capacity building opportunities, as well as connect them with other key players in the United States and other Western institutions, allowing Brazilian CSO partners to amplify their work.

Project ideas under this initiative include, but are not limited to:

a. Projects that strengthen institutional capacity of organizations in areas such as strategic planning, fundraising and diversifying revenue streams, proposal writing, communication, etc.;
b. Projects that promote the exchange of best practices and/or partnerships between Brazilian and American civil society organizations fostering environmental protection.
c. Projects that encourage and/or facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships and/or networks to protect critical biomes while also considering the needs of groups that are more vulnerable to extreme climate events and environmental risks.

Target Audience:

Please note that while the initiatives in section A1 do not specify target audiences, proposals should do so and provide a justification for why selected audiences are appropriate for proposed interventions and how they contribute to overall objectives. PAS encourages applicants to consider representativity, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) elements when determining target audiences.

B1. Funding Instrument Type:

Grant, Cooperative Agreement, Fixed Amount Award

B2. Funding and Authorization Legislation:

The total amount available for this opportunity is US$ 215,000.00, subject to funds availability. In the absence of worthy applications or under other circumstances deemed to be in the best interests of the United States government, the Public Affairs Section in Brazil reserves the right to award less or more than the funds described.

The funding allotment for public diplomacy in the fiscal year 2023 is the origin of the financial support. The Smith Mundt Act is the source of this project’s overall grant-making authority.

B3. Expected Number of Awards:

The expected number of awards under this Notice of Opportunity is subject to the availability of funds and the viability of the applications received, under the discretion of each jurisdiction. As a result, the United States Embassy and Consulates reserve the right to award multiple awards or none through this Notice.

B.4. Eligibility Information

The United States Embassy and Consulates encourage applications from committed and organized civil society organizations, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, governmental institutions, international organizations. All applicants must be capable of receiving and managing grant funding.

In accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension,” no entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM) is eligible for any assistance or can participate in any activities under an award.

B.5 Payment Method:

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil reserve the right, in its sole discretion, to distribute the funding in several distinct installments, depending on the nature of the project. The most suitable payment schedule will be chosen by the Grants Officer in consultation with the recipient at the time of the award.

B.6 Cost-Sharing

This application does not require a cost share. Applications including cost share, should clearly explain other sources of funding, whether cash or in-kind. Additionally, when cost sharing is offered, the applicant is expected to contribute the amount specified in the proposal.

C1. General Application Guidelines

Before sending inquiries or submitting proposals, please read the entire announcement carefully and follow the guidelines below. Applicants are only permitted to submit one proposal per initiative. Re-submissions of proposals submitted in the previous 12 months to another notice of funding opportunity will not be considered.

The proposal submission procedure will be divided into three phases, starting with the submission of an online form for competitive evaluation. The Grant Review Committee (GRC) of the United States Embassy and Consulates will evaluate the conformance of submitted forms with the requirements outlined in this document. Successful Phase 1 candidates will then be invited to participate in an online interview with members of the Grant Review Committee by the US Embassy and Consulates. If Phase 2 is successful, candidates must submit a full application in accordance with the requirements outlined in this Notice.

Not every online application submitted in response to this Notice will be automatically selected for following phases.

C2. Content and Form of Application Submission

https://webportalapp.com/sp/login/usebr_pas_application. Applicants who are unable to submit proposals via the platform should contact the United States Embassy in Brasilia at brazilgrants@state.gov.

The online form consists of an average of 15 questions divided into 3 sections. All required fields must contain comprehensive and clear response must be filed in English, and requests for funding must be made in US dollars. Forms that are not completed in English and are not estimated for in US dollars will be deemed invalid.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Organization Capacity and Past Performance
  3. Program Strategy
  4. Performance Management, Project Assessment, and Evaluation
  5. Communication and Outreach Plan
  6. Management Assessment
  7. Either a 30-seconds video or up to 5 images in which the applicant describes the project. The video can be made in either English or Portuguese. (optional)

Phase 2: Interviews and Presentations Conducted Online

Applicants selected to advance to Phase 2 will have the opportunity to discuss their proposal and respond to questions from members of the Grants Review Committee in their preferred language (English or Portuguese). This meeting will be convened by the Embassy, Consulate, or Branch Office that is evaluating the project.

The following are some of the topics that applicants should be prepared to discuss during the online interview:

Credibility Statement Who are you?
What is your project about?
Who is your target audience?
How are you going to measure the success of your project?
Opportunity / Problem Explain what opportunities your organization has or what problem you are trying to solve
Proposed Solution Explain how the funding would help the project. It should be realistic and implementable and include specifications on what the results will be.

 

Phase 3: Full Proposal Package Submission

Applicants whose project proposals are invited to advance to Phase 3 will receive a notification and invitation to submit a full proposal application within two weeks of the notification. Qualified full applications will go through a final merit review.

Full applications must be submitted via the online platform.

Full proposals must include ALL the below required information and supporting documents, in same order and format.

  1. Mandatory application forms:
    • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – Organizations)
    • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  2. Revised Program Proposal, if applicable. Suggested grant proposal template is available on our website.
  3. 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.
  4. Evidence of registration with SAM, or at least evidence that the registration process has begun. Institutional proposals lacking the UEI (Unique Entity Identifier) will not be considered.

C.3 Unique entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:

Any applicant with an exclusion 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.”

The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards. SAM.gov is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM.gov as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to register in SAM.gov.

C.4 Submission Dates and Times

Applicants are strongly advised to begin the application process well in advance of the submission deadline. There will be no exceptions for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 31 at 11:59 p.m. Brasilia time.

C.5 Funding Restrictions

The following expenses and activities are not covered by this notice:

  • Paying to complete activities initiated by other sources (however, new activities that build on lessons learned as the result of an earlier project are acceptable)
  • Social welfare initiatives
  • Trading programs (however, reasonable international travel incidental to the accomplishment of project objectives will be considered)
  • One-time gatherings, such as one-off conferences and round tables (however, a series of workshops within a larger programmatic concept are acceptable)
  • Medical investigation and clinical trials
  • Programs relating to partisan political activity
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Construction programs
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Scientific research
  • Programs primarily intended for the growth or institutional development of an organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.

Eligible proposals will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria listed below, which are designed to assess proposed project’s alignment with strategic priorities and likelihood of its success:

  • Strategic Fit: Applicant has clearly articulated how the proposed project support PAS priority areas and contributes to evidence U.S.-Brazil partnership in the context of the selected priority initiative.
  • Quality and feasibility of project idea: The project idea is well developed, with clear objectives and detail about how project activities will be executed. Expected results (outputs and outcomes) are realistic and measurable and the project also incorporates a cross-cutting approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).
  • Sustainability: Proposed project has sustainability potential and/or its results have long lasting positive effects.
  • Budget: Requested budget is reasonable and adequate to the proposed scope.
  • Organizational capacity: Applicant organization has the appropriate expertise and/or credentials to implement the project.

Criteria listed above are closely related and considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.

Events Dates
Funding Opportunity published May 22, 2023
Webinar Series June 1st, June 6, June 27, and July 5, 2023
Technical Q&A Sessions* June 13 and 29, and July 10 and 21, 2023
Deadline for applications July 31, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
Notification to unsuccessful candidates October 31, 2023

 

* Technical Questions and Answers Sessions

The sessions will be recorded and made available on the Embassy’s website and at grants.gov.

We ask that you keep in mind that we will not be able to answer any questions about the application’s programmatic content or any specific program because we want to ensure that all applicants receive consistent and equivalent information.

We will do our best to answer all questions submitted up until noon (local time) the day before the session. All of the questions submitted on the day of the Q&A Sessions will be addressed in the subsequent webinar.

F1. Federal Award Notices

The award shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer subsequent to the panel review and selection of proposals. The Grants Officer is the Government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants and cooperative agreements. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the Recipient electronically through SAMS Overseas. Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing by October 31, 2023.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government, nor does it commit the Government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the Government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

F2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Prior to 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, as well as the certifications and assurances and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available through the State Department’s procurement website at: https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/.

F.3 Branding Requirements:

Grantees must adhere to the U.S branding and marking requirements, as described in the Standard Terms and Conditions. The Department of State requires that all programs, projects, and assistance activities, partially or fully funded by the Department, be marked appropriately overseas with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. All publicity and promotional materials (such as flyers, posters, website, etc.) should underscore the sponsorship by or partnership with the U.S. government or the U.S. Embassy with a standard rectangular U.S. flag in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy logo.

F.4 Reporting

The Recipient, at a minimum, shall provide the U.S Embassy and Consulates in Brazil with the following reports. All data collected, supporting documentation, and contact information must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to PAS upon request.

Financial Reports.

The Recipient is required to submit financial reports throughout the project period, using Form FFR SF-425, the Federal Financial Report form. Frequency of report will be determined by the Grants Officer in Connection with the Grants Officer Representative.

Program Reports.

All Federal Assistance Awards funded by the United States Government are required to submit timely and detailed reports. The report submission deadlines will be specified in the award specifics. It is crucial to meet these deadlines, as the reporting history will be considered when awarding future grants and will influence the grantee’s Risk Assessment.

The grantees are expected to describe and assess the activities outlined in the award proposal and awards specifics. The narrative section of the report should include, but is not limited to, the following:

a description of the activities carried out during the reporting period which outlines:

  • Progress made toward the expected outcomes of the grant and other noteworthy achievements;
  • Any setbacks or challenges;
  • Significant board, management, or staff changes pertinent to the project;
  • Suggestions for improvements;
  • A list or description of any recent evaluations, publications, news articles, or other materials related to the grant;
  • Any additional pertinent information pertaining to the project’s activities.

The final report will be due no later than 120 days after the end date of the award or termination of all project activities.

Any prospective applicant who has questions concerning the contents of this NOFO should email them to:

U.S. Embassy in Brasilia                                        brazilgrants@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre               portoalegregrants@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Recife                          recifepa@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro            grantsrio@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo                        saopaulogrants@state.gov
U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Belo Horizonte   belohorizontepa@state.gov

H1. Conflict of Interest

In accordance with applicable Federal awarding agency policy, applicants must disclose in writing any potential conflict of interest to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity.

H2. 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.

Fringe benefits: Calculate any allocable fringe benefits for personnel to be working directly on the project. Fringe benefits must be justified by an organization’s written HR policies or NICRA.

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. This includes independent consultants. Also describe any sub-awards to partners that will help carry out a substantial portion of the scope of work.

Other Direct Costs: Describe any 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. 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. For-profit entities with a formally established overhead rate may apply that rate.

___________________

“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.


APPENDIXES:

  • The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia is responsible for the Brazilian states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, and Tocantins, and the Federal District.
  • The U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre is responsible for the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.
  • The U.S. Consulate General in Recife is responsible for the Brazilian states of Alagoas, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, and Sergipe.
  • The U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro is responsible for the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Bahia.
  • The U.S. Consulate General in São Paulo is responsible for the Brazilian states of São Paulo, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul.
  • The U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Belo Horizonte is responsible for the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Any prospective applicant who has questions concerning the contents of this NOFO should email them to:

U.S. Embassy in Brasilia                                        BrazilGrants@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre               portoalegregrants@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Recife                           recifepa@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro            grantsrio@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo                        saopaulogrants@state.gov
U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Belo Horizonte   belohorizontepa@state.gov

Potential Goals

A goal is a concise description of the desired outcome to be achieved over an extended period of time. It is a broad statement that focuses on the desired outcomes without describing the methods used to achieve them.

Potential Objectives

Objectives are measurable, actionable goals that must be attained within a limited amount of time in order to achieve a desired outcome. The actions necessary to achieve a goal are described by objectives. Most goals are connected to several objectives.

Potential Outcomes:

An outcome is the result, change, or effect that is caused by or attributable to project activities implemented and their outputs. Outcomes describe the changes in participants’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that are necessary preconditions for the objective to be realized. Each objective listed will have its own unique outcomes that are required to achieve the objective. Applicants should propose specific outcomes that logically align to the objective they are meant to help achieve in line with their theory of change. Outcomes should be SMART (see definition in Appendix 3). The following outcomes are illustrative of the potential changes that may result from implementing your proposed project activities and of the projects GEC implements.

Potential Outputs:

An output is a short-term, immediate result of a program, project, or process that leads to a longer-term outcome. Outputs are the products, goods, and services which result from activities. There can only be one output that results from an activity. Applicants should propose specific outputs that will contribute to achieving the outcomes above in line with their theory of change.

Potential Activities:

An activity is an action undertaken over a period to produce a specific output. Each activity should be aligned to only one output and its associated outcome and objective. In your proposal, you will list and describe the proposed activities that you plan to implement, and how each activity will produce the expected output and outcome. Applicants should propose specific activities that will produce their desired outputs in line with their theory of change.