Billing Code: 8230 - 01
SUMMARY: The Russia/Eurasia Division of the Office of Citizen Exchanges of the United States Information Agency's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for an assistance award program. Public or private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 501 (c) (3) may apply to conduct at least three five-week, U.S.- based internship programs for Russian business people and local government officials. A minimum of ten Russian participants must be included in each internship cycle. Programs may not begin any earlier than March 1995. Pending the availability of funds, the program may be extended through December 1997.
This program is a continuation of a pilot project conducted in 1994 and seeks to provide Russian business people with knowledge of a market economy and promote a supportive business environment for the participants upon their return to Russia. The participants will be recruited, through an open and competitive process, from selected regions of Russia and will begin arriving in the United States in March 1995.
Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended, Public Law 87-256, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act.
The purpose of the Act is "to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries...; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations....and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world."
Programs and projects must conform with Agency requirements and guidelines outlined in the Application Package. USIA projects and programs are subject to the availability of funds.
ANNOUNCEMENT NAME AND NUMBER: All communications with USIA concerning this announcement should refer to the above title and reference number E/P-95-15.
DATES: Deadline for proposals: All copies must be received at the U.S. Information Agency by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on Friday, October 14, 1994. Faxed documents will not be accepted, nor will documents postmarked on October 14 but received at a later date. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that proposals are received by the above deadline.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathie Guroff or Gene Draschner, Office of Citizen Exchanges (E/PN), Rm. 216, U.S. Information Agency, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547, telephone: (202) 401-6884, fax: (202) 260-0437, internet addresses: KGUROFF@USIA.GOV, EDRASCHN@USIA.GOV to request an Application Package, which includes more detailed award criteria; all application forms; and guidelines for preparing proposals, including specific criteria for preparation of the proposal budget. Please specify USIA Program Officers Kathie Guroff or Gene Draschner on all inquiries and correspondences. Interested applicants should read the complete Federal Register announcement before addressing inquiries to the Office of Citizen Exchanges or submitting their proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, the Office of Citizen Exchanges may not discuss this competition in any way with applicants until after the Bureau proposal review process has been completed.
ADDRESSES: Applicants must follow all instructions given in the Application Package and send only complete applications to: U.S. Information Agency Ref.: E/P-95-15 Office of Grants Management, E/XE, Room 336 301 4th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20547
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. "Diversity" should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including but not limited to race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio- economic status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle.
Overview: The "Business for Russia" program has been developed in full partnership with the Russian Government and various Russian organizations. It has been designed as a working partnership between U.S. federal, state, and local governments, NGOs, and private enterprises and their counterpart institutions in Russia. Pending the availability of funds, approximately 1,000 Russian business people and local government officials will be recruited from selected regions of Russia through an open competition coordinated in Russia by an experienced, Moscow-based U.S. grantee organization in conjunction with the Russian government and Russian partner organizations. Participants will be screened for proficiency in English prior to final selection. Operating in accordance with guidelines established by USIA, the recruitment/selection organization will also cooperate with the U.S. Embassy, Peace Corps, American private organizations and businesses, and the Russian government and business organizations to select Russian participants.
This announcement seeks American grantee organizations to organize and implement business internships in the United States that will enhance the Russians' ability to develop their own businesses upon returning to Russia. USIA is interested in proposals that provide a professional business experience and, secondarily, expose the participants to American life and culture. USIA is not interested in programs that are academic in nature; this program is designed to provide practical, hands-on training in the American business environment that can be transferred to the individual's employment situation in Russia.
Participant Profile: Russian participants will be predominantly business managers in existing small or medium-sized firms and entrepreneurs who manage their own businesses, mostly in the 25- 40 age group. A small number of local government officials may also be recruited for participation in the program. All participants will be required to have a working knowledge of English. Depending on the results of this selection process, the Agency may request that the U.S.-based grantee organizations modify the number of individual interns assigned to their local region to meet the demands of the program. The Office of Citizen Exchanges will be responsible for matching interns with the appropriate US host organizations.
Interns will be placed in geographic "clusters" in the U.S. (i.e., areas within two hours' driving time of a central meeting point) in order to maximize local resources and strengthen the effectiveness of all aspects of the training program. Every effort will be made to group the interns by Russian region of origin in order to permit them to share common experiences and to develop networks and professional associations upon their return home. Proposals should explain how the grantee organizations will utilize the cluster to improve Russians' exchange experience.
Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Participants will be covered by the Agency's self-insurance policy.
Proposed budget: Organizations must submit a comprehensive line item budget based on the specific guidance provided in the Budget Guidelines section of the Application Package. Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000. Allowable costs for the program include the following:
USIA will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Application Package. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to panels of USIA officers for advisory review. All eligible proposals will also be reviewed by the budget and contracts offices, as well as the USIA Office of Eastern Europe and the NIS and the USIA post in Russia. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel or by other Agency elements. Funding decisions are at the discretion of the USIA Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for grant awards resides with the USIA grants officer.
John P. Loiello Date Associate Director Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Statement of Work/Program Guidelines apply specifically to the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Office of Citizen Exchange, Russia/Eurasia Division for the "Business for Russia" program. Proposals must conform to the Guidelines stated herein, the Federal Register announcement and other components of the Application Package. Applications not adhering to the conditions set forth herein may be deemed technically ineligible. In any instance that there is a perceived disparity between these Guidelines and the program information supplied in the accompanying Federal Register RFP, the RFP is to be the dominant reference.
Care must be taken to allow sufficient time between programs to adequately prepare for the following group. Organizations proposing to develop programs for additional groups of interns beyond the minimum must demonstrate that they have either allowed for sufficient preparatory time between programs, or that they have the necessary human, physical and financial resources to adequately handle any consequent overlap. All programs must be completed by December 1997.
Recruitment for the "Business for Russia" program will be conducted by an experienced American, Moscow-based organization. Candidates for placement in the U.S. will be provided to the Office of Citizen Exchanges on a rolling basis between September 1994 and December 1996. The first group of finalists, approximately 130, will be selected by December 1994 for arrival in the United States no earlier than March 1995. Additional lists of finalists will follow every three months (March 1995, June 1995, September 1995, December 1995, March 1996, June 1996, September 1996, December 1996) creating a pool of candidates from which interns will be matched with grantee organizations by the Office of Citizen Exchanges. Interns will be assigned based on the following factors: existing ties between the regions of origin of the participants and the locations of the US grantee organizations (e.g. sister city ties), the business interests of the interns and the areas of strength of US grantee organizations, and length of time a given individual has been in the pool.
The Office of Citizen Exchanges will provide grantee organizations with completed applications of the final candidates, including detailed information on their business and personal interests, no later than three months before the start of the program. The grantee organization will have the opportunity to review the assigned candidates and, if necessary, request another applicant. The Office of Citizen Exchanges reserves the right to refuse a requested change if a clearly more appropriate candidate is not available in the pool. Once the list has been finalized, the grantee organization will be responsible for contacting each candidate individually and discussing their needs and interests as well as potential business and homestay placements. Business and homestay placements must be finalized no later than one month before the start of the program. Written information on both the homestays and the business placements, as well as other aspects of the program, must be forwarded to the interns one month prior to the start of the program.
Organizations interested in applying for funding must integrate an evaluation mechanism into their program. The evaluation should include, but not be limited to the following: (1) the effectiveness of the business internship and homestay experience; (2) evaluation of the management and administrative structures of the project at all levels; (3) level of theoretical and practical knowledge gained by all Russians and American participants; (4) perceived impact on business planning, economic performance, and potential for meaningful change in Russia; (5) assessment of overall cost-effectiveness, and (6) impact on local American business community (i.e. changes in perceptions about doing business in Russia.) Personal exit interviews with all Russian participants and American host businesses and families are encouraged.
A proposal's cost-effectiveness -- including in-kind contributions and ability to keep administrative costs low -- is a major consideration in the review process. Cost-sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. The Recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs which are claimed as being its contribution to cost participation, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal Government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, Attachment E, "Cost- Sharing and Matching" and should be described in the proposal. In the event that the Recipient does not provide the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the Recipient's budget, the Agency's contribution will be reduced in proportion to the Recipient's contribution.
The decision to submit a proposal should not be taken lightly. Competition for USIA funding is always keen. The selection of grantee institutions will depend on program substance; cross- cultural sensitivity; the applicant's familiarity with the substantive issues in the grant proposal; and proven ability to carry out the program successfully. Since USIA grant assistance constitutes only a portion of the total project funding, proposals should list and provide evidence of other anticipated sources of financial and in-kind support. Cost-sharing is strongly recommended; it indicates a commitment on the part of the prospective grantee institution to the project.
The Agency reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase the proposal budget in accordance with the needs of the program.
1. Name of organization/participating institutions 2. Beginning and ending date of the program 3. Proposed theme 4. Nature of activity 5. Funding level requested from USIA, total program cost, total cost-sharing from applicant and other sources 6. Scope and Goals a. Number and description of participants b. Wider audience benefitting from program (overall impact) c. Geographic diversity of program, both US and overseas d. Fields covered e. Anticipated results (short and long-term)
1. Vision (statement of need, objectives, goals, benefits) 2. Participating Organizations 3. Program Activities (advertisement, recruitment, orientation, academic component, cultural program, participant monitoring) 4. Program Evaluation 5. Follow-on 6. Project Management 7. Project Direction 8. Work Plan/Time Frame
1. Letters of Endorsement 2. Calendar of Activities/Itinerary 3. Other
1. Submit the original, signed cover sheet 2. Provide 9 copies of the proposal package 3. Include double-spaced, single-sided executive summary and narrative 4. Provide proposal budget per guidelines in the Application Package 5. Submit all necessary information (Application cover sheet, required forms, additional information) 6. Number all pages, including budget and addenda, and provide a Table of Contents 7. Use 8 1/2" x 11" paper for entire proposal packageOptional--Provide proposal on DOS formatted disk; this must be accompanied with a memo explaining software used.
In addition, panels review proposals according to the following criteria:
U.S. Information Agency Ref: E/P-95-15 Office of Grants Management, E/XE, Room 336 301 Fourth Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20547For further information on the proposal for the program, or questions regarding the guidelines, call Kathie Guroff or Gene Draschner, Office of Citizen Exchanges (E/PN), Rm. 216, U.S. Information Agency, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547, telephone: (202) 401-6884, fax: (202) 260-0437, internet addresses: KGUROFF@USIA.GOV, EDRASCHN@USIA.GOV.