Limited Submission: International Sports Programming Initiative


The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Sports Diplomacy Division, of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces an open competition for the FY 2019 International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI). U.S. public and private non-profit organizations may submit proposals to manage sports exchange projects designed to reach underserved youth and/or their coaches/sports administrators who manage youth sports programs. These exchanges between the United States and select countries will be reciprocal exchanges that employ sports to address the Sport and Social Change theme outlined below. The International Sports Programming Initiative uses sports to help underserved youth around the world develop important leadership skills, achieve academic success, promote tolerance and respect for diversity, and positively contribute to their home and host communities. Sports Diplomacy programs are an important tool for advancing U.S. foreign policy goals through interaction with hard-to-reach groups such as at-risk youth, women, minorities, people with disabilities, and non-English speakers. The focus of all programs must be on both male and female youth and/or their coaches/sports administrators.

Applicant organizations are invited to submit one application to administer one Cooperative Agreement which consists of at least five two-way exchange programs (five groups of foreign participants traveling to the United States, and five groups of American participants traveling overseas), each lasting a minimum of two-weeks (inclusive of travel), under the Sport for Social Change theme. Each of the approximately three cooperative agreements will support approximately 60 foreign youth, sports administrators, emerging leaders in the sports sector, and/or coaches from one of the three regions (Europe and Eurasia – EUR, SubSaharan Africa – AF, or Western Hemisphere – WHA) and support approximately 60 American youth, sports administrators, emerging leaders in the sports sector, and/or coaches from all across the United States. Overall, the foreign participants can come from a designated country or multiple countries from the same regional group. Final country selections will be determined after the award has been issued in consultation with the ECA Program Officer and the Department’s Regional Bureaus.

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Eligible Theme: Sports for Social Change

Sports-based people-to-people exchanges build and promote values of inclusion and open opportunities for people to contribute fully to society, and create opportunities to establish the trust needed to build a more stable, secure, and prosperous world. Exchanges funded under the Sport for Social Change theme will focus on a broad range of audiences and address critical social issues overseas and within the United States, including effective ways that sport can play a role in promoting more stable and inclusive communities.

Award Amount

Upper $700,000


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

Experience in Conducting International Exchanges: ECA grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $130,000 in ECA funding. ECA anticipates making multiple awards in the amount of $700,000 per cooperative agreement 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.

Eligible Regions/Countries: ECA anticipates that participants will be drawn from the following regions and countries:

  • Europe and Eurasia: (possible countries include: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: (possible countries include: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe)
  • Western Hemisphere: (possible countries include: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay)

Selection Criteria

  • Program Planning and Ability to Achieve Objectives: Program objectives should be stated clearly and should reflect the applicant’s expertise in the subject area and region group. Objectives should respond to the topics in this announcement and should relate to the current conditions in the target country/countries. A detailed agenda and relevant work plan should explain how objectives will be achieved and should include a timetable for completion of major tasks. The substance of workshops, internships, seminars and/or consulting should be described in detail. Sample training schedules should be outlined. Responsibilities of proposed in-country partners should be clearly described. A discussion of how the applicant intends to address language issues should be included, if needed.
  • Institutional Capacity: Proposals must include: 1) the institution’s mission and date of establishment; 2) detailed information about proposed in-country partner(s), their roles and responsibilities, and the history of the partnership; 3) an outline of prior awards — U.S. government and/or private support received for the target theme/country/region; and 4) descriptions (Bios and CV’s) of experienced staff members who will implement the program. The proposal should reflect the institution’s expertise in the subject area and knowledge of the conditions in the target country/countries. Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau grants staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program’s goals. The Bureau requires applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners, where applicable.
  • Cost-effectiveness and Cost-sharing: Overhead and administrative costs in the proposal budget, including salaries, honoraria, and subcontracts for services, should be kept to a minimum. Proposals whose administrative costs do not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the total funds requested from the Bureau will be deemed more competitive under this criterion. Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.
  • Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau’s policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities). Applicants should refer to the Bureau’s Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines in the PSI and to section D.3i. Diversity, Democracy and Freedom Guidelines in the NOFO for additional information.
  • Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that Bureau supported programs are not isolated events. Funds for all post-cooperative agreement activities must be in the form of contributions from the applicant or sources outside of the Bureau. Costs for these activities must not appear in the proposal budget, but should be outlined in the narrative. Please refer to the POGI for additional information on follow-on activities.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Proposals should include a detailed plan to monitor and evaluate the program, both as the grant activities unfold and at the end of the program. Program objectives should target clearly defined results in quantitative terms. Competitive evaluation plans will describe how applicant organizations would measure these results, and proposals must include draft data collection instruments (surveys, questionnaires, etc.). See section D.3j. Program Monitoring and Evaluation above for more information on the components of a competitive evaluation plan. Successful applicants will be expected to submit a report after each program component concludes or on a quarterly basis, whichever is less frequent. The Bureau also requires that grantee institutions submit a final narrative and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of a grant.

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit ONE proposal.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:

  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
    • Country or countries of focus (see Eligible Regions/Countries above)
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the selection criteria above. Please include a brief timeline and budget summary.
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)

Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officer:

Ryan Murphy (202) 632-6058

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