Local Grant Program

2021 Local Grants Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

NOFO Title:  U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar – Public Affairs Section, 2021 Local Grants Program
NOFO Number:   PAS-Ulaanbaatar–014/FY2021
Deadline for Applications: 2021 1st Cycle: April 15, 2021; 2021 2nd Cycle: August 15, 2021
CFDA Number:  19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Total Amount Available per Cycle: $12,000-15,000
Average Funding Amount per Award: $5,000

The U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy Local Grants Program (LGP).  This is an Annual Program Statement (APS), outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Purpose of Local Grants: PAS invites proposals for programs that strengthen people to people ties between the United States and Mongolia, highlight shared democratic values, and promote bilateral cooperation through cultural, policy, and exchange programming.  All programs must include an American cultural, policy, or social element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policies and perspectives.  All programs should be designed to engage with the Mongolian public.

Examples of PAS LGP include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic, policy, and professional lectures, seminars, workshops, and speaker programs;
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions;
  • Civic engagement programs that support democratic institutions;
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs;

2021 Priority Program Areas:

1. Support Participatory Democratic Institutions
Non-partisan support for active civic participation in electoral processes and to bolster inclusive democratic institutions, particularly involving women, youth, and underrepresented communities.

2. Trade & Economic Ties
Improve the investment climate and expand free, fair, and reciprocal bilateral trade and investment to facilitate strong, sustainable, inclusive economic growth for our mutual and regional benefit through programs that promote increased transparency, reduced corruption, and adherence to international-standard regulatory, environmental, and business best practices.

3. Media
Support a free, fair, professional, and accurate media sector in Mongolia as well as public media literacy to ensure balanced coverage during election campaigns and strengthen democracy, good governance, sustainable economic development, public and private sector accountability, human rights, transparency, and counter disinformation.  

4. Good Governance, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law Civil Society in a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region
Support good governance, human rights, rule of law, the commitment to democracy, and a deeper understanding of U.S. values and policies for a free and open Indo-Pacific region through programs that expand bilateral and regional people-to-people ties among decision makers, think tanks, educators, and civil society leaders.   

5. Climate Change, Conservation of Natural Resources, and Improving Air and Water Quality
Climate change, air and water quality issues can affect public health, deter investment, and constrain economic growth.  Good stewardship of natural resources and national parks can lead to sustainable economic diversification.  Promote research, public awareness, technical assistance, stakeholder cooperation, and innovative sustainable solutions to air and water quality and natural resource management.

Participants and Audiences:
Proposals should include intended specific target audiences and why these specific audiences are key to meeting the project objectives.

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding: 

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Commercial projects;
  • Construction programs;
  • Programs that support specific religious activities;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Cash prizes;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs;
  • Scientific research;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.

Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:
Funding authority is derived from the Fulbright-Hays Act or the Smith Mundt Act.  The source of financial support is FY20 U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar Public Diplomacy Funding.

Length of grant performance period: 1 to 12 months
Number of time the LGP panel will meet to select proposals for funding:  depending of the availability of funding, twice a year.
Number of awards anticipated cycle: up to 3 awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $15,000
Total available funding per cycle: $12,000 – $15,000
Type of funding:  Fiscal Year 2021 Public Diplomacy Funding
Anticipated program start date:  March 15, 2021

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that PAS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.  (Note:  If a cooperative agreement is requested, the proposal must include a description of the substantial PAS involvement)

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

PAS will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.


1. Eligible Applicants
The PAS encourages applications from U.S. and Mongolian:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience;
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions;
  • Public institutions.

Note: Individuals, for-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: is not required but proposals that include substantial cost sharing are preferred.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization per cycle, as defined under deadlines for applications at the top of this document.  If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.6 and/or “Suggested Application Format for the 2020 APS – LGP” section 6 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

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

1. Mandatory application forms

2. Suggested Grant Application Form: is available here (link), that includes fields for necessary information listed in sections D.3 – D.7 described below.

3. Summary Coversheet: cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.

4. Proposal (five pages maximum): the proposal should contain sufficient information so that anyone not familiar with the nature of the organization or activity could understand the objectives of the program. Your proposal must include all the items below.

  • Proposal Summary: short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization: a description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed
  • Program Goals and Objectives:  the “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve, and which “2021 Priority Program Area” (stated above) the program falls under.   What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Mongolia will be improved?  The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals.  These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Target Audience Analysis: the applicant’s analysis of the intended specific demographic target audience, plus why and how this audience should be engaged with to meet the goals and objectives of the program.
  • Program Activities: describe the 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.
  • Proposed Program Schedule:  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.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners:  list the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • 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 & Sustainability: applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.

5. 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.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

6. Attachments:

  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who would implement the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing their roles & responsibilities
  • Official permission letters from governing agencies for program activities (if applicable)

7. Required Registrations: all organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique Identifier Number from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, if your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webformhttp://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do;jsessionid=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75F .

NCAGE application: Application page here https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:  https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf

For help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

9. Submission Dates and Times

Cycles: Deadlines: Selection Notification by: 
2021 Cycle 1 April 15, 2021; 11:59pm May 15, 2021
2021 Cycle 2 August 15, 2021; 11:59pm Sep 15, 2021

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before each cycle deadline.  No applications will be accepted after the deadline. Applicants must have a program/project start date at least 1 month after the cycle deadline date.  The embassy independent grant review panel will review proposals and will make funding selection depending on the availability of funds. Organizations whose applications will/will not be funded will be notified via email by the Selection Notification ate.

9. Submission Method

All application materials must be submitted by email to grants@usembassy.mn (Applications may also be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov)


Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.

  1. Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PAS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
  2. Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
  3. Goals and Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated, and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
  4. Embassy Priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar’s priority areas and target audiences.
  5. Budget: The budget justification is detailed.  Costs are reasonable, allowable, and allocable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.  The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities. Extra weight will be given to organizations proposing cost share.
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.
  7. Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.


1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

2. 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, payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities. The Department of State and the Embassy 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 Notice of Funding Opportunity (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.

3. Reporting

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


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at: grants@usembassy.mn.

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the APS or NOFO.  Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at Embassies — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.

H. OTHER INFORMATION: 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 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. 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 and cost under $5,000 per unit. 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 the 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.