(OPEN) Limited Submission: FY2020 International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI)


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 2020 International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI). U.S. public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) 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 for 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.

Eligible Theme: Sport 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. With 2020 being the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), organizations are encouraged to propose exchange programs with an emphasis on adaptive sport and the role of the ADA in promoting inclusion and access for people with disabilities. In light of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games taking place during the implementation phase, organizations are encouraged to propose exchange programs with an emphasis on Paralympic and adaptive sports.

Eligible Regions/Countries

  • East Asia and the Pacific: (possible countries include: Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam)
  • Europe and Eurasia: (possible countries include: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, (Czechia) Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine)
  • Near East and North Africa: (possible countries include: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates)
  • South and Central Asia: (possible countries include: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: (possible countries include: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivorie, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe)
  • Western Hemisphere: (possible countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay)

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

Award Amount
  • Each Cooperative Agreement is funded up to $550,000, pending the availability of FY 2020 funds.
  • Approximate number of awards: four
  • Anticipated award date: September 30, 2020
  • Anticipated project completion date: September 30, 2022
  • 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).
  • Eligible applicants may not submit more than one (1) proposal for this competition. If more than one proposal is received from the same applicant, all submissions will be declared technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process. Please note: Applicant organizations are defined by their legal name, and EIN number as stated on their completed SF-424 and additional supporting documentation outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document.
  • Proposals that include or target countries and regions that are not listed as eligible in the NOFO, or that address more than one region, or address themes outside of the Sport for Social Change theme listed in the NOFO, will be deemed technically ineligible.
  • The Office of Citizen Exchanges does not support proposals limited to conferences or seminars (i.e., one- to fourteen- day programs with plenary sessions, main speakers, panels, and a passive audience). It will support conferences only when they are a small part of a larger project that is receiving Bureau funding from this competition. No funding is available exclusively to send U.S. citizens to conferences or conference type seminars overseas; nor is funding available to support the attendance of foreign nationals at conferences or at routine professional association meetings in the United States.
  • The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs does not fund programs that involve building structures of any kind, including playing fields, recreation centers, or stadiums.
  • The pursuit of academic degrees from U.S. institutions is not an acceptable focus of this program. Proposals that have only an academic focus will be deemed technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process.
  • Programs designed to train elite athletes or coaches are ineligible.
  • If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.
Selection Criteria
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 semi-annual basis, whichever is less frequent. The Bureau also requires that grantee institutions submit a final Performance Progress Report (PPR) and Federal Financial Report (FFR) 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 limsub@uga.edu 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)
    • Indicate whether you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • A two-page Curriculum vitae
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 limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

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

Ryan Murphy, tel: (202) 632-6058, MurphyRM@state.gov.

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