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FY 2019 Special Professional Fellows Program for Latin America and the Caribbean

Grant to a USA Nonprofit to Develop a Two-Way Entrepreneurial
Exchange Program with Latin America and the Caribbean

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

Deadline Date:

12/19/18 Midnight (12:00 AM)


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Grant to a USA public or private nonprofit organization to implement a two-way exchange program for social and business entrepreneurs from the Carribean, Latin America, and the United States. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several days to complete.

This two-way global exchange program is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance business development and leadership skills, and build a lasting and sustainable network of young business and social entrepreneurs across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Program Description: Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, 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." The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.

A.1. Purpose:

The FY 2019 Special Professional Fellows Program for Latin America and the Caribbean in support of YLAI (also known as the YLAI Professional Fellows Program) will bring approximately 250 young business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States for a five- to six-week tailored fellowship program designed to improve their entrepreneurial and business skills, support long-term collaboration across the region, and promote lasting partnerships between Fellows and counterparts in the United States. Approximately 60 American participants from hosting institutions will travel to LAC countries to work with Fellows on individual or joint initiatives and promote long-term engagement.

A.2. Goals:

1. Promote mutual understanding and lasting partnerships between business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean and the United States;

2. Strengthen the entrepreneurial and leadership skills of the YLAI Professional Fellows so they can achieve success—growing their business or organization in size and impact—and lead positive change in their workplaces, communities, and countries;

3. Provide opportunities, before, during and after the U.S.-based fellowship, for the YLAI Professional Fellows and U.S. participants to collaborate and share ideas, approaches, and strategies;

4. Foster business partnerships between emerging entrepreneurial entities in LAC with their counterparts in the United States;

5. Assist the YLAI Professional Fellows in identifying new resources, networks, and support for their businesses or organizations; and,

6. Create a network of business leaders committed to sound business practices, ethical management, corporate social responsibility, and community involvement.

A.3. Program Details:

The award recipient will be responsible for planning and administering all components and aspects of the YLAI Professional Fellows Program including orientations, a four to five-week individually tailored fellowship placement with appropriate U.S. organizations or businesses for approximately 250 Fellows; entrepreneurial training and workshops for all Fellows; a three to four-day Closing Forum in Washington, D.C.; alumni and followon activities; and an American outbound exchange component for approximately 60 American participants.

Each YLAI Professional Fellow will have a four to five-week custom-tailored professional development placement at a U.S. company or organization carefully matched to the participant’s specific interests and professional goals. Host placement organizations could include start-ups, incubators or accelerators, established small or medium-sized enterprises, small business groups, associations or – for the social entrepreneurs – non-profit organizations, social enterprises, or local government offices. Host organizations should be chosen from across the United States. Placements should represent the diversity of the American business community and be comprised of a wide spectrum of business models including, but not limited to small and medium businesses, start-ups, and community-based enterprises. Host organizations and U.S. mentors should be willing and able to assist Fellows in developing concrete plans for scaling up their own businesses and/or social entrepreneurship projects. Every effort should be made to ensure the YLAI Professional Fellows are exposed to core values of American businesses and social enterprises such as corporate and social responsibility, business ethics, and volunteerism. The placements should be thoughtfully chosen to provide participants with experience, networks, and resources to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, and opportunities for developing sustainable projects and building professional relationships with U.S. counterparts.

In order to foster collaboration among the participants and achieve consistency in the fellowship experience, participants will be grouped in cohorts. To promote peer learning and strong fellowship networks within each cohort, as well as to enhance the participants’ business and entrepreneurial skills, all Fellows within a cohort will come together – inperson or virtually - for workshops, training, or other relevant activities focused on key aspects of entrepreneurial activity and skills needed for success. Proposed workshops, training, and activities must be organized according to a single entrepreneurship curriculum to ensure consistency of experience across the cohorts. Every effort must be made to provide opportunities for YLAI Fellows to learn from each other, both within cohorts, as well as across cohorts.

The three to four-day YLAI Closing Forum in Washington, D.C. will provide participants with the opportunity to showcase their initiatives, promote peer learning, network with leading figures in their field, and engage with thought leaders in business, government, and non-profit organizations.

Approximately 60 American participants from the YLAI host organizations will be competitively selected to travel for approximately two weeks to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean after the conclusion of the U.S.-based program. American Outbound Exchanges should directly support YLAI Professional Fellows business Action Plans, support long-term collaboration and engagement with YLAI alumnae, offer skills development sessions and workshops for a broader range of local participants, and promote the YLAI program to future participants.

The YLAI Program will also provide Fellows access to virtual resources, training, mentoring, and a platform to continue the projects they developed during their time in the United States and maximize the positive impact on their businesses, communities, and countries.

A.4. Program Components and Definitions:

1. Program Participants: “Program participants” are defined as those individuals who travel under award funding from their country of origin to a designated exchange country. For this NOFO, program participants are also referred to as “YLAI Professional Fellows” or “Fellows.” Americans participating in follow-on outbound exchanges are referred to as “American participants.”

In collaboration with ECA, the award recipient will recruit and select approximately 250 foreign Fellows from 36 countries in LAC: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. ECA reserves the right to modify the final list of participating countries and the allocation of participant numbers by country in the FY2019 cooperative agreement and up to two subsequent renewal cooperative agreements.

Allowable costs for the program include the following:

1) Travel: International and domestic airfare; airline baggage and seat fees; visas for U.S. travelers; transit costs; ground transportation costs. Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. There is no charge for J-1 visas for foreign participants in Bureau-sponsored projects.

2) Per Diem: For U.S.-based programming, organizations should use the published Federal per diem rates for individual U.S. cities. Domestic per diem rates may be accessed at: ECA requests applicants to budget realistic costs that reflect the local economy and do not exceed Federal per diem rates. Foreign per diem rates can be accessed at:

3) Book and Cultural Allowances: Participants are entitled to a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per person, plus a book allowance of $50. Interpreters should be reimbursed up to $150 for expenses when they escort participants to cultural events. U.S. project staff, trainers or participants are not eligible to receive these benefits.

4) Consultants: Consultants may be used to provide specialized expertise or to make presentations. Honoraria rates should not exceed $250 per day per session. Organizations encouraged to cost-share rates that would exceed that figure. Subaward recipient organizations may also be employed, in which case the written agreement between the prospective award recipient and sub-award recipient should be included in the proposal. Such sub-awards should detail the division of responsibilities and proposed costs, and subcontracts should be itemized in the budget. Contractors/contracting organizations may also be employed in which case the written agreement between the award recipient and the contractors/contracting organizations should be included in the proposal.

5) Administrative Costs: Costs necessary for the effective administration of the project may include salaries for employees, benefits, and other direct and indirect costs per detailed instructions in the PSI. While there is no rigid ratio of administrative to project costs, proposals in which the administrative costs do not exceed 28% of the total requested ECA funds will be deemed more competitive under the cost effectiveness and cost sharing criterion at Section E.1 Review Criteria below. Proposals should show strong administrative cost sharing contributions from the applicant, the in-country partner and other sources. Travel of primary award recipient staff or sub-award recipient staff should NOT be included in the exchange participant numbers.

6) Reasonable Accommodations: Organizations should budget for the reasonable accommodations of participating individuals with disabilities. Proposals may allocate up to 5 - 7% of the total requested ECA award funds for this purpose.

7) Pre-departure Orientation: Travel to the Pre-departure location(s); ground transportation to and from the airport to the orientation(s) site; food and lodging for all Fellows, adequate meeting space; travel from orientation to fellowship sites.

8) Arrival Orientation: International travel to the U.S.-based orientation location; ground transportation to and from the airport to the orientation site; food and lodging for Fellows, adequate conference meeting space for approximately 350 participants (Fellows, grantee staff, speakers, facilitators, DOS staff, other invited guests); travel from orientation to fellowship sites.

9) Fellowships: Lodging, per diem, transportation, and other necessary program-related expenses the Fellows may incur while at their fellowship sites.

10) Cohort entrepreneurial training sessions: Training materials, trainers, meeting space/equipment rental, etc.

11) YLAI Closing Forum: Travel to Washington, D.C; ground transportation to and from the airport to the conference hotel; food and lodging for Fellows for a three to fourday conference, adequate conference space for approximately 350 participants (Fellows, grantee staff, speakers, facilitators, DOS staff, other invited guests); international travel from forum to home country.

12) U.S. Participant follow-on travel: Travel, ground transportation, lodging, per diem, for approximately 60 U.S. participants for 10 to 15 days in relevant LAC countries.

13) Room Rental: The rental of meeting space should not exceed $250 per day per activity. Any rates that exceed this amount should be cost shared.

14) Materials: Proposals may contain costs to purchase, develop and translate materials for fellows. Costs for high quality translation of materials should be anticipated and included in the budget.

15) Supplies: Applicants may propose to use award funds to purchase supplies, such as computers and printers; supply costs should be justified in the budget narrative. Costs for furniture are not allowed.

16) Working Meal: One working meal may be provided during U.S.-based and foreignbased components. Per capita costs for working meals may not exceed $45/person, excluding room rental and other overhead charges. The number of invited guests may not exceed fellows by more than a factor of two-to-one.

17) Return Travel Allowance: A return travel allowance of $70 for each foreign participant may be included in the budget. This allowance would cover incidental expenses incurred during international travel.

18) Re-Entry Seminars: Costs related to providing foreign participants a re-entry seminar may include per diem, hotel accommodations, material development, and other related expenses.

19) Health and Travel Insurance: The award recipient will be responsible for working with ECA to ensure that both foreign Fellows and American participants traveling on overseas for outbound projects are enrolled in the ECA-sponsored Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE). The premium is paid by ECA and should not be included in the proposal budget. Applicants may include costs for travel insurance for both foreign Fellows and American participants in the budget.

20) Wire Transfer Fees: When necessary, applicants may include costs to transfer funds to foreign-based partner organizations. The primary award recipient is urged to research applicable taxes that may be imposed on these transfers by host governments.

21) In-Country Travel Costs for Visa Processing Purposes: U.S. visas for Fellows are provided by DOS and should not be included in the budget. Given the requirements associated with obtaining J-1 visas for ECA-supported participants, applicants should include costs for any travel associated with procuring visas, including travel for interviews, delivering or picking up passports, etc.

22) Post-program support: Up to $500,000 to provide ongoing support to YLAI Professional Fellows through a continuum of networking and mentorship for the year following the completion of their Special Professional Fellows Program for Latin America and the Caribbean.

23) Alumni Activities: Reasonable costs related to alumni activities may be included. The proposal must include an outline of any proposed follow-on activities. Proposals should also demonstrate how the recipient organization will creatively utilize technology and online networking sites to enhance and amplify alumni programming. Organizations can propose small grants or a small grant competition for the Fellows to compete for to encourage their continued work on and implementation of their individual Action Plans.

24) Organizational Workshop(s): Award recipients and sub-award recipients who will need to travel for the organizational workshop(s) should budget appropriately for travel, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184603

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Approximate Number of Awards: 1

Estimated Size of Grant:

It is the Bureau’s intent to award one cooperative agreement of up to $5,000,000, pending the availability of FY 2019 funds.

Term of Contract:

Anticipated Project Completion Date: May 15, 2021

Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA’s intent to renew this cooperative agreement for two additional consecutive fiscal years before openly competing it again.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may be submitted by U.S. public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3).

Applicant organizations that do not have an existing in-country presence in each target country must identify a foreign-based partner (ie: “in-country or in-region partner”) with whom they propose to collaborate. Foreign-based partners should be chosen in consultation with the Public Affairs Section in the applicant’s country, and must be approved by the Public Affairs Section in the applicant’s country.

Given that it is unlikely that any one organization will be able to secure 250 meaningful Fellowship placements in diverse communities across the United States, the award recipient may work with sub-award recipients to place Fellows in their fellowships and administer cohorts. Proposals must demonstrate capacity to secure effective and appropriate host placements for all YLAI Professional Fellows in the United States. Proposed sub-award recipients should be included in the proposal with letters of intent stating how placements will be secured and cohorts will be supported.

Other Eligibility Requirements:

a.) Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $130,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates making one award, in an amount $5,000,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years’ experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition.

b.) Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the following or they will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

Employees and family members of employees of the award recipient or of any sub-award recipients are not eligible to participate in the Special Professional Fellows Program for Latin America and the Caribbean and cannot be included as program participants.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications may only be submitted electronically through ( Applicants have until midnight (12:00 a.m.), Washington, DC time of the closing date to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the site. It is strongly recommended that applicants not wait until the application deadline
to begin the submission process through

In order to apply for a grant through you and/or your organization must complete the registration process. The registration process for an Organization or an Individual can take between three to five business days or as long as four weeks if all steps are not completed in a timely manner. So please register early! Visit for registration information.

ECA envisions the Special Professional Fellows Program for Latin America and the Caribbean calendar as follows:

- Spring 2019: Application period for YLAI Professional
- June – July 2019: Initial review of applications
- August 2019: Semi-finalist applications circulated for review
- September 2019: Interviews conducted
- October 2019: Announcement of selected participants and alternates
- November – January 2020: DS-2019s issued, visa interviews
- Spring 2020: YLAI Professional Fellows in the U.S.
- April or May 2020: Closing Forum in Washington, D.C.
- Summer 2020: American outbound exchanges begin

Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, May 15, 2019

Cost Sharing or Matching Funds: There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its program.

Unique Entity Identifier Number: You are required to have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the U.S. Government. This number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a UEI number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a UEI number, access or call 1-866-705-5711. Please ensure that your UEI (Data Universal Numbering System or DUNS) number is included in the appropriate box of the SF – 424 which is part of the formal application package. For more detailed instructions for obtaining a UEI (DUNS) number, refer to:

Required Registration with the System for Award Management (SAM): All federal award applicants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM). For more detailed instructions for registering with SAM, refer to:

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For questions about this announcement, contact:

Della Hareland
U.S. Department of State
Office of Citizen Exchanges, Professional Fellows Division
SA-5, 3 rd Floor, 2200
C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 632-9372
Fax: (202) 632-9355

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