Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Embassy in Suriname
Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

The Embassy of the United States in Suriname 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 2021 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2021). We seek proposals from teams of at least two alumni that meet all program eligibility requirements below. Exchange alumni interested in participating in AEIF 2021 should submit proposals to paramaribo-grants@state.gov by February 17, 2021.

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
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.

The U.S. Embassy Suriname will ultimately submit one application to the global competition. To facilitate that, we are seeking expressions of interest from teams of at least two (2) alumni that support projects addressing either of these themes:

  • Developing education/awareness to combat domestic violence;
  • Promoting transparency and good governance to strengthen democratic institutions

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Closing date for statements of interest: February 17, 2021
Funding type: Small grant awards
Decision date: Anticipated mid-May 2021
Expected size of individual awards: Between $10,000 to $50,000.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
1. Eligible Applicants:
The following individuals are eligible to apply:

  • 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/).
  • Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni.
  • Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni may participate as team members in a project.
  • Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and different countries.
  • 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.

Preference will be given to teams of alumni made up entirely of/or led by alumni who have not received a grant from the Embassy or U.S. State Department in the last three years.

2. Cost Sharing
Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements
If the grant will be processed with an individual, that individual is not required to have a DUNS number or be registered in SAM.gov. However, should the grant be processed with an organization that is a partner in the project, that organization must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment practices and to non-discrimination practices with regard to beneficiaries, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

This year is a multi-step process. Interested alumni teams are asked to submit an expression of intent. If selected to advance to the global competition, teams will be asked to submit a more detailed plan and budget.

Download the initial expression of intent here.

E. BUDGET RULES AND RESTRICTIONS:

AEIF 2021 can support the funding of the following types of activities/costs:

  • Intra-regional or in-country transportation
  • Rental of venues for project activities
  • PPE and sanitizing equipment
  • Meals/refreshments integral to the project (i.e. working lunch for a meeting)
  • Reasonable costs to support virtual programming (i.e. subscription to Zoom, WebEx, camera/microphones for virtual meetings, mailing services, etc.)
  • Trainer or speaker honoraria expenses (I.e. maximum $200/day fee, travel, lodging, per diem)
  • Reasonable equipment and materials
  • Communications and publicity materials, such as manuals or project advertisements

AEIF 2021 will NOT fund the following:

  • 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, 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

F. REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS

Evaluation Criteria: The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections will review statements of interest to select the one proposal to develop into an official application to the global competition. Proposals will be evaluated by the Embassy grants committee looking at the following criteria:

  • Team: Is the team made up of or led by alumni who have not recently received a grant from the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. State Department? Do the team members have knowledge and experience in the area addressed by the proposal?
  • Areas of focus: How well does the proposal relate to one of the two focus areas — Developing education/awareness to combat domestic violence; or Promoting transparency and good governance to strengthen democratic institutions
  • Problem statement: How specific and well-articulated is the problem statement? Does the proposal reflect an understanding of the problem addressed?
  • Goals and objectives: Are goals and objectives realistic given the program proposal? Would the goals and objectives impact Suriname?
  • Proposed project: Is the proposed project creative? Does the plan seem likely to achieve the stated goals and objectives? Does the project demonstrate a capacity to be successful with pandemic restrictions as well as in an environment without pandemic restrictions?

G. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
The grant award 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.

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.

H. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
Questions about the grant application process should be directed to: paramaribo-grants@state.gov

Disclaimer: This notice is subject to availability of funding. The U.S. Embassy does not guarantee availability of funding by receiving applications under this announcement. Only successful applicants will be contacted.