Funding Opportunity Title: 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund     

Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-JOR-FY24-002

Deadline for Applications: February 1, 2024, 5:00 p.m. EET (Amman time)

Assistance Listing Number: 19.022 – Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs Appropriation Overseas Grants

Total Amount Available: $5,000 – $35,000

The Embassy of the United States in Jordan 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 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024).  We welcome proposals from teams consisting of at least two alumni from different exchange programs that meet all program eligibility requirements below.  Exchange alumni interested in participating in AEIF 2024 should submit proposals to (JordanAlumni@state.gov) by February 1, 2024 / 5:00 p.m. EET (Amman time).

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
AEIF provides alumni of U.S. Government-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 more than 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition. This year, AEIF 2024 will support the United States’ commitments to strengthening inclusive economic prosperity and growth, promoting innovation, digital and media literacy, eco-tourism, climate action, advocacy, and awareness programs for underrepresented, and grassroot communities in Jordan. Programs should preferably include the use of arts and culture as a medium to advance project goals and/or use innovative approaches to education and training.

Priority Region: Jordan

Program Objectives:

The Embassy of the United States in Jordan will accept projects proposed and managed by teams of at least (2) alumni from different exchange programs that support themes such as:

  • Digital and media literacy
  • Strengthening economic prosperity and fostering entrepreneurship, with a focus on empowering indigenous entrepreneurs to create economic opportunities within local communities
  • Empowering grassroots entrepreneurs to develop and lead eco-tourism initiatives, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of indigenous Jordanian communities.
  • Promoting youth and women empowerment
  • Cultivating innovative solutions to combat climate change
  • Empowering women, indigenous, and other underserved communities

Participants and Audiences:

Primary beneficiaries for this project are youth, women, and people with disabilities with the following demographic variables.

  • Gender: At least 50% of the participants should be female
  • Geographic location: All governorates in Jordan, preferably programming individuals, and communities outside of Amman.
  • Age group: Between the ages of 20-40.
  • Diversity: In alignment with our commitment to inclusivity, we encourage proposals that ensure a minimum representation of 15% of individuals with disabilities

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 1 to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: 2 awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $35,000

Total available funding: $35,000

Type of Funding:  FY24 Fulbright Hayes

 Anticipated program start date:  October 1, 2024

 This notice is subject to availability of funding.

 Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply

  • 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.
  • Applicants must be alumni of 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/).
  • Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni from different exchange programs.
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

Note: 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.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package

All applications forms are available on this webpage. For additional resources, application forms required for individuals are available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-individual-family.html and  forms required for organizations are available at https://grants.gov/forms/forms-repository/sf-424-mandatory-family. If you would like to take part of the grants workshop or a proposal writing workshop, please download the Alumni Mobile Application (US Alumni Jo) to remain up to date with all alumni related programs.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

 Applications and budgets must be submitted using the official AEIF 2024 application and budget forms. All the required documents can be downloaded from this website page.

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 available on Grants.gov
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance -individuals)
  • SF-424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF-424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs) (note: the SF-424B form is only required for individuals and for organizations not registered in SAM.gov)
  1. Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Proposal Form must contain:
  • Cover Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name or organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  • Summary Page: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Full Proposal (10 pages maximum): 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.
  • Project Team Information: At least two exchange alumni team members from different exchange programs are required for a project to be considered for funding. Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project, their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role.
  • Problem Statement: A short narrative which outlines the proposed project, including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact.
  • Program Goals 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.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe 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 SustainabilityApplicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  • Project Timeline: A timeline of your project activities.
  • Beneficiaries: An estimated number of direct and indirect beneficiaries of your proposed project.
  • Local Project Partners: A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars.
  2. Budget Restrictions: AEIF 2024 does not support the following activities or costs and te selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:
  • Airfare to/from the United States or U.S. territories
  • Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment (vehicles, large mechanical equipment) or construction
  • Alcohol, excessive meals and refreshments, or entertainment
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Gifts/prizes or individual scholarships
  • Provision of direct social services to a population
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for legislation
  1. AEIF 2024 Funds CAN Support
  • In-country transportation
  • Reasonable speaker/consultant and training fees – must not exceed 30% of overall budget (alumni applying, when working as facilitators can request a modest stipend of $250)
  • Reasonable equipment and materials
  • Meals or refreshments integral to the project goals (i.e. working lunch)
  • Reasonable costs to support virtual programming
    • Subscriptions to Zoom/WebEx
    • Camera and microphones for virtual meetings
  1. Submission Dates and Times

 Applications are due no later than February 1, 2024. Applications must be submitted to JordanAlumni@state.gov

  1. Funding Restrictions

AEIF 2024 does not support the following activities or costs, and

the selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs

ineligible:

  • Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
  • Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
  • Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
  • Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments not integral to the project, or entertainment
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Provision of direct social services to a population
  • Individual scholarships
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Duplication of existing programs
  • Institutional development of an organization
  • Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
  • Support for specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific legislation
  1. Other Submission Requirements

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

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Criteria:  

The U.S. Embassy will use the criteria outlined below to evaluate all applications. 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, D.C. Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the criteria outlined below.

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 from different exchange programs.  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.

Sustainability

Have the applicants considered how the project will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.

F. 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: SF270 request for advance or reimbursement. Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit quarterly financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: JordanAlumni@state.gov

The alumni coordinator will hold a session on proposal writing, an AEIF grants workshop with a Q&A session. To be the first to know when the sessions will be held, download the alumni mobile application (US Alumni Jo) available on apple and google play stores. 

H. 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 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.