Thank you for your interest in our Public Diplomacy Grants Program. The Embassy is currently not accepting unsolicited applications. Please refer to grants.gov or the Embassy website to check for funding opportunities in the future.
The U.S. Embassy Berlin partners with organizations, universities, and individuals to support a range of programs and activities that expand, deepen, and diversify the range of transatlantic encounters, fully utilize our joint expertise and deep innovative potential, and implement solutions to cooperatively shape the future of our democratic societies.
In support of our shared interests with our partners, the United States provides funding to recipients through grants. Grants are official legal instruments of the United States government that come with many different requirements for both the government and the recipient. Individuals and organizations interested in partnering with the embassy can find information about opportunities on the embassy’s website or on www.grants.gov. The funding announcement contains all the information you need to submit a competitive application.
The embassy divides the award process into four phases, pre-award, award, post-award, and closeout, to help manage the requirements and activities. The following information is organized by the same phases, as an overview of the requirements and activities for recipients.
An announcement of funding can be presented as a Notice of Funding Opportunity, Annual Program Statement, or Statement of Interest and provides:
- A description of the proposed project
- Anticipated amount of funding for each award
- All administrative requirements for the application, submission instructions, and contact information.
- Contact information for any questions.
In addition to preparing an application, potential grant recipients are also required to be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). The registration is completed online and is free of charge. The purpose of the registrations is to establish an organization’s identity in preparation for receiving funds from the U.S. government. Applicants who are applying as individuals, not on behalf of organizations, do not need to complete these registrations. The registration process takes time, so starting the process early is recommended.
Please note: in order to be successful, please pay attention to the following recommendations:
- Read the solicitation very carefully and make sure you understand all requirements.
- Submit the application on time and in the required format.
- Describe the proposed program activities clearly and logically so it can easily be understood. The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what you want to do.
- Make the budgets realistic and don’t include costs that are unreasonable or unnecessary.
Once the embassy reviews all submitted applications, it may contact applicants to clarify some information, or perhaps to make some modifications to the original proposal. Applicants should be responsive to these requests to remain competitive. If the embassy receives more than one application under an announcement, the embassy will select the best proposal according to selection criteria published in the original announcement. At this point the applicant may be contacted to provide additional documentation (financial records, for example) before a grant is issued.
When the grant is issued, the recipient will become familiar with officials responsible for the grant at the embassy: The Grants Officer is responsible for all legal actions for the award, and is the only person who can sign the grant document, approve payments, and make changes to the award. A Grants Officer Representative (GOR) may also be assigned to the award. The GOR has different responsibilities, including monitoring the award progress and reviewing reports and other information from the grant recipient. The GOR will also act as the primary contact for the recipient. A Financial Management Officer is responsible for processing payments.
There are several different types of awards and each works somewhat differently.
- A grant provides funding for the recipient to conduct the project.
- A cooperative agreement includes more embassy involvement in programmatic activities.
- A fixed amount award is negotiated entirely up front with an unchanging cost and does not require financial reporting.
- Awards are also made to individuals instead of organizations.
The award documents will indicate what type of award has been issued. Recipients should discuss any questions about award requirements before starting the award activities.
There are several key points to keep in mind before starting on the project:
- Recipients should not begin to spend money on the project until they have received the official written award documents.
- Take time to understand everything in the award document and in the Terms and Conditions.
- Ask your embassy colleagues any questions if something is not clear. The award document will include the GO and GOR contact information.
- Know the amount of funding, the start and end dates, official budget (if required), expected activities, types of required reporting and due dates.
Post award phase
The recipient conducts all award activities during the post-award phase. Additionally, the recipient is responsible for requesting funding payments, submitting the reports detailed in the award documents, tracking award expenditures, and monitoring the progress of the award activities.
The recipient also needs to understand what award changes can be determined independently and what the GO must approve in advance. For example, a recipient cannot hire a new staff member to be in charge of program activities without obtaining GO approval first. A recipient cannot change certain activities or alter the overall direction of the award without obtaining approval. If there are any questions about what changes require prior approval, check with the GO or GOR.
The recipient is also responsible for notifying the GO or GOR if there are any concerns or problems, such as an inability to meet reporting deadlines or perform proposed activities. The Grants Officer can work with a recipient to find solutions, such as extending the award to allow additional time to complete the award activities.
A grant is an important agreement that includes rules and responsibilities. A project cannot be completely successful if the rules of the grant are not followed closely. This should always be done in close partnership with the embassy, with both the recipient and embassy in close communication, aware of upcoming dates and events, and working together openly and transparently for the overall benefit of the program.
Finally, remember that the embassy has a responsibility for making sure the award is progressing effectively and that the recipient organization is being a responsible partner. To this end, the embassy may ask for additional information or even schedule a site visit to examine financial systems or observe program activities.
This final phase of the award begins when the performance period ends. Once the performance period ends, the recipient should not continue any grant-funded activities or spend any new funds. The recipient is required to submit all final reports for the grant within 90 days of this date Recipients should refer to their award documents to confirm the types of reports they are required to submit for closeout. This is also a time for the embassy and recipients to review the award activities to determine what worked well and what might be changed on future projects.
|0||Notice of Funding Opportunity||The Embassy will post a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), Annual Program Statement, or Statement of Interest on Grants.gov and the Embassy website.|
|Applicant submits Application|
|Up to 20||Embassy Grants Panel||The Embassy convenes a monthly selection panel to select applications for funding. The Embassy may contact the applicant to clarify questions or incorporate revisions to the proposal.|
|Information Request Form||If the application has been selected for funding, the applicant must provide banking and project administration information using our online form.|
|10||Submission of draft award in approval system||Once all required information has been obtained, the Embassy will draft the grant documents and submit them in the grants system for approval.|
|Final approval||Grants are usually approved within a workweek. Once final approval has been obtained, the Embassy will send the documents to the recipient.|
|0||Request for signatures||Recipients must sign the documents as instructed in the cover letter and return them to the Embassy before the period of performance starts.|
|Submission for Payment||The Embassy advises the first payment upon receipt of signed form SF 270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement, unless otherwise requested.|
|15||Funds disbursal||Funds are usually disbursed within 15 workdays to the account indicated in the information request form. Custom booking references cannot be recorded, unfortunately.|
|Spelled out in award specifics, if applicable||Interim report and n-th payment||If the award sum is to be paid out in multiple iterations, it is always tied to the receipt of performance reports and the achievement of interim objectives. Subsequent SF270 will be issued upon receipt, requiring recipient signatures once again. If financial reports are specified in the award specifics, form SF425 must be submitted along with the performance report.|
|120 days after end of period of performance||Receipt of final report||The final report is always due 120 days after the end of the period of performance. If there is a final payment tied to it, the Embassy will once again prepare and submit an SF270 for signature.|
|Closeout||Once the project has concluded, the final report has been received and evaluated, and all funds have been liquidated, the Embassy is closing out the award.|
PREVIOUS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
- BER-APS-FY21-001 FY21 Annual Program Statement
- BER-APS-FY22-001 FY22 Annual Program Statement
- BER-NOFO-FY19-001 FY19 USA For You
- BER-NOFO-FY21-001 Promoting Media Literacy
- BER-NOFO-FY23-002 Reimagining the Transatlantic Relationship
- BER-NOFO-FY23-001 Transatlantic Democracy Innovation Fund
- BER-NOFO-FY23-002 U.S. Embassy Teacher Academy
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Can I apply for funding to conduct projects in the United States or third countries?
A: No, as the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy in Germany, our audience is the German public in Germany.
Q: Is my project eligible for funding?
A: Please refer to the programmatic priorities, audiences, and project types that are deemed eligible in the respective Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Q: Do I need a DUNS number to apply for funding?
A: No, a DUNS number is no longer required. It has been superseded by the SAM.gov UEI number. (N)CAGE numbers are also no longer a requirement for overseas recipients.
Q: I noticed that your grant announcement states that the program is subject to ‘funds availability’. I would like to know if funds are still available.
A: Since we have a limited amount of funding for grants, we are required to include this statement on the grant announcement. Once our grant funding runs out, we will post a notice on the grant announcement that the program is closed.
Q: When should I submit a grant proposal?
A: The Embassy Public Diplomacy Section requires at least eight weeks before the start date of a program to render a funding decision and draft relevant grant documents for awardees.
Q: What do I need to have ready before I apply for a grant?
A: Organizations will need a SAM.gov Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) to apply (individuals do not need a UEI). Recipient organizations must present a valid registration in SAM.gov before they can receive government funding.
Q: Can the SAM.gov registration be obtained after the application deadline?
Yes, this is possible. However, issuance of this federal award is conditional on the applicant having an active SAM.gov registration. Applicants must obtain a valid registration before obligation of the award funds. The U.S. Embassy cannot lend any assistance in the registration process.
Q: When can I expect to hear if my grant application has been approved?
A: Once the Grant Committee has met and reviewed the submissions, you should be notified within seven working days.
Q: If I apply for the maximum amount and receive notice that my proposal has been accepted, will I get the full amount?
A: The committee evaluates each completed application based on a number of factors, including the availability of funds. However, projects accepted by the committee do not automatically receive the amount originally requested.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of grant applications that an organization can submit?
A: We will only entertain one application per applicant at a time. Applicants may revise their concepts and applications if they have been rejected and resubmit them at a later point in time.
Q: Are there any opportunities for feedback or resubmissions for unsuccessful applicants?
A: We will provide a brief justification for each rejection to allow the applicant to revise their project concept and application documents.
Q: Is there a deadline for submitting a grant application and when is the next deadline?
A: Please refer to the status of our grants program at de.usembassy.gov/pd-grants for funding opportunities and deadlines.
Q: Is there any support or guidance provided for the application process?
A: The Embassy is not lending any specific support throughout the application process as a matter of policy. We will periodically update this site to ensure it addresses pertinent questions of relevance to applicants.
Q: What is SAM.gov?
A: The System for Award Management (SAM.gov) is a system operated by the General Services Administration (GSA). Organizations are required to obtain a UEI and register in SAM.gov in order for a federal assistance action (Grants, contracts, etc.) to be obligated and for the Department of State to issue payments against those obligations.
Q: Why is annual renewal of my organization important?
A: SAM.gov requires organizations to maintain registration by verifying and updating information annually. Having an active registration is required for organizations to receive payments on current awards and to receive new awards (or amendments). It is important to renew your registration before, not after, it expires. SAM.gov gives priority first to organizations renewing their registration; organizations who have allowed their registration to lapse are assisted with lower priority.
Q: I am prompted to provide notarized, English-language documentation to validate my entity information. How do I do this?
A: Overseas registrants may self-translate and self-certify entity information documents. Please use the following language to self-certify:
Certification by Translator
I [insert typed name], certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and [insert foreign language] languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled [insert translated document name].
Q: What documentation (notarized English translation) may be required to validate my organization’s legal business name?
- Certificate/Articles of Organization or Incorporation
- Operating Agreements
- Doing Business As (DBA) Documentation
- Company Bylaws
- Stock Ownership
- Share Certificates
Q: What documentation (notarized English translation) may be required to validate my organization’s legal physical address?
- Utility Bills
- Bank Statement
- Employer Identification Number Documentation
- Tax Returns/Filings
Q: The system shows dated or incorrect information for my organization during validation.
A: Entity Validation is the process during which SAM.gov verifies that the organization registering is a valid organization. Entity validation is the first step of the SAM.gov registration process. If the organization’s correct entity name and address do not match what is displayed in SAM.gov, or there is no address at all, the organization should select “Create Incident” on the SAM.gov page. The entity should attach documents that identifies their information and fully describes that there was no match for the organization in the provided text box. SAM.gov will automatically create an entity validation ticket for the entity. This is the only way to create a ticket for entity matching issues.
Q: How do I access my organization’s SAM.gov account if the former entity administrator is no longer available?
Use the “Live Chat” feature at www.fsd.gov, a representative can troubleshoot the issue. Live Chat is open during US hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST)
Otherwise, your organization can “Create an Incident” submitting an online helpdesk ticket. The helpdesk will contact a POC given during registration. You should try to provide more than one contact upon registering instead of giving one person all the roles.
Q: I can see my organization but can’t access my account. Who should I contact?
This is most likely because you are not listed as a point of contact (POC) in your organization’s registration.
Use the “Live Chat” feature at www.fsd.gov, a representative can help troubleshoot the issue. Be sure to have your organization’s pertinent information.
Q: What is the maximum grant amount that can be requested?
A: Please refer to the award information outlined in the respective Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Q: Are there any matching funds or cost-sharing requirements for grantees?
A: We require neither matching nor cost sharing. However, since these instruments significantly improve cost-effectiveness from our perspective, projects with a cost-sharing element will generally be viewed more favorably.
Q: Can you clarify which cost items are permissible?
A: Please refer to 2 CFR §200.420 to assess whether a specific cost is permissible. A non-exhaustive list of prohibited costs is provided below:
- Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any associated costs
- Costs resulting from non-Federal entity violations of, alleged violations of, or failure to comply with, Federal, state, tribal, local or foreign laws and regulations
- Costs incurred for interest on borrowed capital, temporary use of endowment funds, or the use of the non-Federal entity’s own funds
- Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions
- The cost of certain influencing activities associated with obtaining grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, or loans
- Costs of goods or services for personal use of the non-Federal entity’s employees
- Costs of selling and marketing any products or services of the non-Federal entity
As part of our review process, we identify and strike out non-permissible cost items after assessing all applications’ merits. Including such cost items will not disadvantage the applicant in the evaluation of their proposal provided they do not make up a majority of the funds requested.
Q: What is the currency conversion rate for conversions from local currencies to USD to be used in the budget?
A: You may select a conversion rate that is reasonably close to the current market exchange rate at the time of the submission of your application. All award costs will be budgeted in USD. Payments will be converted to the local currency on the day of the payment. There may be differences between budgeted local currency costs and funds disbursed as rates can shift between the budgeting and disbursement date.
Q: For budget purposes, do you want my full budget for the program or only the part that I would like funding for?
A: If you are only asking us to fund partial costs, please submit the full cost rundown and identify or highlight the cost items you are requesting Embassy funding for.
Q: How are indirect costs budgeted when the applicant does not have a NICRA?
A: Indirect costs, often called overhead, or facilities and administrative costs are those that have been incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with a final cost objective. We will budget the maximum de minimis rate of 10% of the modified total direct cost, or a lower rate upon request. Modified total direct cost is the total award cost excluding equipment expenses, capital expenditures, rental costs, scholarships and fellowships, and subawards in excess of $25,000. The sum of modified total direct costs and indirect costs must not exceed the maximum award amount.
Q: How does the Fly America Act (FAA) affect us when purchasing tickets with Federal Award funds.
A: All air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the federal government are required to use a U.S. based airline. If flights are offered as codeshares between two cooperating airlines, flights must be purchased for the U.S. airline’s designator to comply with Fly America regulations.
The EU and U.S. maintain an Open Skies agreement, which permits U.S. funded travelers to travel using EU based air carrier without risking compliance with the Fly America Act, provided the flight operates a) between two EU countries, b) between the U.S.and the EU, c) between the EU and the U.S. This means that in most cases, tickets purchased from an EU-based carrier are authorized under the FAA.
Q: What are the State Department’s Branding Requirements?
A: The Department requires that all programs, projects, assistance, activities, and public communications, partially or fully funded by the Department, be marked appropriately overseas with the standard U.S. flag. Please refer to https://brand.america.gov/ for the policy and downloadable files.
Q: Which documents do I need to sign?
- SF424: pre program
- DS1909 Federal Assistance Award, Section 18
- SF270: Request for Advance or Reimbursement, Section 13
- If required: SF424B Assurances
Q: What is the grant period and when are funds disbursed?
A: The award period will be determined after a proposal has been accepted for funding in accordance with programmatic requirements. For the maximum length of the period of performance, please refer to the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Funds will be disbursed on a schedule tied to programmatic milestones, with some funding provided up front and later tranches released upon the receipt of performance progress reports indicating satisfying program progress.
Q: Is it possible to reallocate funds from one position to another?
A: It is possible to be flexible with award funds if the conditions necessitate. Reallocations must be reasonable and justifiable and must be communicated to the grants officer in advance.
Q: Can I request custom payment references to help locate the grant payments?
A: We cannot accommodate requests for custom payment references for technical reasons but will help you locate the payments by sharing the payment date and exact payment amount with you upon request. The payer will be GFS Financial Service Center Charleston.
Q: Can the payment process be accelerated?
A: Payments take about three weeks from submission of the signed SF270 to disbursal. If you foresee a cash need, ensure to fulfil the reporting requirements, and submit a completed SF270 ahead of schedule.
Q: Is there a template for progress reports?
A: Yes, please use the report template to submit interim and final reports.
Q: Do I have to submit financial reports and receipts?
A: If your project is funded using a Fixed Amount Award (please see section 2, Assistance Type, on the DS1909 Federal Assistance Award to determine the award type), you will not need to submit financial reports. For any other type of Federal Award, please report expenses using Form SF425 Federal Financial Report. Please refer to the reporting schedule in the award specifics appended to the DS1909.
Grants to Individuals
Q: Which costs does the U.S. Embassy usually cover for recipients of individual awards?
A: The following breakdown is provided solely for informational purposes. Actual budget items covered by the Embassy are subject to negotiations between the recipient and the Embassy. The Embassy may only cover parts of these costs and will decide on a case by case basis in close consultation with the requirements of the program and the recipient.
- $300 Honorarium per program day
- ~$300 per diem per program day (depending on locale, composed of $200 lodging & $100 M&IE). Exact rates here: http://aoprals.a.state.gov/Web920/per_diem.asp
- 75% M&IE is awarded for pure travel days.
- Personal days: Per diem covered for up to two personal days for full week of programs
- Longer-term personal days: no expenses covered
- Local travel costs, including taxi and train tickets
- Taxi costs are provided as lump sum payments between $100 and $350 depending on itinerary and length of the tour. We do not require receipts.
- We usually purchase flexible-rate train tickets on behalf of our speakers, but reimbursements are also possible
- Transatlantic flights, in accordance with Fly America & EU Open Skies regulations. U.S. or EU Carriers and Economy flights only
- We can issue tickets on behalf of the traveler, but reimbursing the cost through the grant is preferred.
Q: What are the reporting requirements?
A: Most grants to individuals require no reports unless otherwise stated. You will be asked to sign the DS1909I Federal Assistance Award document after the end of the project and receipt of the funds to certify completion.
Q: I’m a U.S. citizen. Is my grant being taxed?
A: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers all funding received from grants in the amount of $600 or more in a calendar year as compensation for individuals subject to U.S. tax laws (e.g., U.S. citizens and individuals holding a Permanent Resident Visa/ “Green Card”). As such, the Embassy will automatically file IRS Form 1099-G—Certain Government Payments with the IRS for all grants exceeding $600 to U.S. based recipients.
All funding provided in an award is reportable, including, but not limited to, honoraria, lodging, meals and miscellaneous expenses, local transportation, and materials. While you may claim some of these costs as tax deductible business expenses, the Department must report the full award amount. The value of government-furnished material (GFM), including USG-purchased airline tickets, is not reported because the costs are individually vouchered at the time of purchase.
Please submit any inquiries through our contact form