Notice of Funding Opportunity: Democracy, Diversity, and Human Rights Virtual Grant Program

Please note that the U.S. Mission to Canada Virtual Grant Program will not accept proposals after June 28, 2021.

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Democracy, Diversity, and Human Rights Virtual Grant Program


Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title: Democracy, Diversity and Human Rights Virtual Grant Program

Funding Opportunity Number: SCA-525-21-GR0000

Date Opened: November 16, 2020

Deadline for Applications: Applications accepted on a rolling basis until June 28, 2021 (Please see section on ‘Application and Submission Information’ for a chart of the deadline dates).

Award Floor: USD $500.00

Award Ceiling: USD $25,000.00

CFDA Number: 19.040

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada, U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for individuals and organizations to submit applications to carry out virtual programs to strengthen bilateral ties between the United States and Canada on Democracy, Diversity and Human Rights

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Priority Region: Canada

Program Objectives:

PAS invites proposals from individuals, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, government institutions, and academic institutions for virtual programs on Democracy, Diversity and Human Rights that strengthen the bilateral ties between the United States and Canada.  All programs must include a U.S. element or connection with U.S. experts that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives. Speakers must hold U.S. citizenship.

Examples of Democracy, Diversity and Human Rights Virtual Program Grants include but are not limited to:

  • Professional and academic virtual speaker programs, lectures, and seminars
  • Professional and academic virtual exchanges and projects
  • Virtual Cultural workshops, virtual joint performances, and virtual exhibitions

Funding for virtual U.S. speaker programs will only be used to cover the following costs:

  • Honorarium (capped at USD $500 per day, per speaker)
  • Audio-visual costs
  • Online meeting platforms
  • Podcast costs
  • Costs related to promotion of the virtual programs on social media platforms
  • Personnel costs to organize and run the virtual program

Please note that we will not fund the following:

  • Trade Shows
  • Programs relating to partisan political activity
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Construction programs
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Scientific research
  • Personal use
  • Lobbying for specific legislation
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs

Participants and Audiences:

Audiences for U.S. Mission to Canada’s grant programs should promote diversity and inclusion.

The program participants must include Canadians.

All applicants for awards must stipulate who their target audience is, and estimate the expected audience reach through indirect contact via social media, traditional media, or online meeting platforms.

Length of performance period: Eighteen months

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $25,000.00

Type of Funding:  FY21 Smith-Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds

Anticipated program start date: Eight weeks from the time an application is reviewed by the Grant Committee. This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Standard Award, Fixed Amount Award, Cooperative Agreement, or Individual Grant.  Significant involvement for a Cooperative Agreement may include prior approval of specific speakers for programs.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 18 months or less.

The following organizations or individuals are eligible to apply: 

  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • U.S. not-for-profit organizations with a partner in Canada
  • Public and private educational institutions
  • Public international organizations and governmental institutions
  • Individuals

Cost Sharing or Matching not required.

Other Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet-, as well as a valid registration on  Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in

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 documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are mandatory:

Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (see link above), use an Excel or Word file to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.

Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.  Budget numbers must be provided in U.S. dollars.  Cost sharing is not required.

Sample Budget Justification Narrative (.xls)

Summary Page: 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.

Proposal (10 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with your program would understand exactly what you are trying to achieve. You may use your own proposal format, but it 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 or Individual Applying: A very short 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.  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 that you are seeking funding for in detail 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 and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.

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 or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.


  • Name, title and organization of each U.S. speaker who you are proposing for your program.
  • If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Contract Rate Agreement with the U.S. government (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities.

Required Registrations:

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • registration (NOTE: Some users may get a 404 error when following hyperlinks to To visit, please type directly in your Internet browser address bar.)

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number

Step 2: After receiving the DUNS number, proceed to register in by logging onto:  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Submission Dates and Times

The U.S. Mission to Canada Grant Committee will review all grant proposals.  In order to be considered, proposals must be submitted at least eight weeks before the start date of the proposed program.  You will be notified of the Grant Committee’s decision within seven working days of the “reviewed by” date.

Proposals Due: Proposals Reviewed by:
December 21, 2020 January 9, 2021
January 26, 2021 February 9, 2021
March 1, 2021 March 12, 2021
April 12, 2021 April 26, 2021
May 24, 2021 June 7, 2021
June 28, 2021 July 12, 2021


Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to


Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

  • 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.
  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
  • Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and the program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
  • Budgets: The budget justification is 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.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: Applicants demonstrate they are able to measure program success against key indicators and provides 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.
  • Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

Note: The Embassy Public Affairs Section needs at least eight weeks before the start date of a program to draft relevant grant documents for awardees.  Applicants should apply for grants with enough lead time to factor in both the anticipated grant evaluation dates above as well as the processing period.

Federal Award Notices

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 Notice of Funding Opportunity 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: The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa will provide up to 80% of the total award up front to the successful applicant.  The remaining 20% will be reimbursed upon successful completion of the program.  Please note that the Grants Officer has the right to change the payment structure if deemed necessary.  The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa reserves the right to amend the final amount to be reimbursed after reviewing the final progress and financial reports.

Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: 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:


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.

Applicants should be aware of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR 200 Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at

Thank you for your interest in our grants program.