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

Supports the management of sports exchange projects designed to reach underserved youth and/or their coaches/sports administrators who manage youth sports programs.


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 2021 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.

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

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.

Project goals include:

  • Demonstrate how organized sports, through the principles of leadership, responsibility, teamwork, healthy living, and self-discipline, can encourage youth to stay in school, prevent substance abuse and violence, and mitigate extremist voices.
  • Demonstrate the use of sport as a tool to promote tolerance and understanding through organized activities that appeal to youth and youth influencers and that focus on conflict prevention/resolution.
  • Demonstrate how sports can improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities by providing affordable, inclusive sports experiences that build self-esteem and confidence, enhance active participation in community life, and make a significant contribution to the physical and psychological health of people with disabilities.
  • Enable local youth sports organizations in the United States and their counterparts overseas to share best practices, emphasizing the importance of grassroots community-based sports programs in a community’s development and sustainability.
  • Share local community-based practices globally while learning from counterparts in another community outside of the United States.
  • Emphasize the responsibility of the broader community to support healthy behaviors and teach young people how to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases through sports programs. Proposals should clearly outline how proposed exchange programs will benefit participants and communities both overseas and in the United States. Proposals that address themes outside of the Sport for Social Change theme listed in the NOFO will be deemed technically ineligible under C.2. Other Eligibility Requirements.

Eligible Regions/Countries

ECA anticipates that foreign and American International Sports Programming Initiative participants will be drawn from, and be sent to, all six geographic regions of the world (East Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Eurasia; Near East and North Africa; South and Central Asia; Sub-Saharan Africa; and Western Hemisphere). Participating countries and regions will be determined by ECA, in coordination with the Department’s regional bureaus and Public Affairs Sections (PAS) at U.S. Embassies abroad after the award has been issued. ECA reserves the right to amend or modify regions and countries should conditions change in selected countries or if other countries are identified as U.S. foreign policy priorities.

Award Amount

ECA intends to issue one Cooperative Agreement, for an estimated total of $2,100,000

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


  • 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 address themes outside of the Sport for Social Change theme listed in the NOFO, will be deemed technically ineligible.
  • All proposals must contain an executive summary (one page), proposal narrative (not to exceed twenty pages), detailed timeline and detailed budget (which includes a lineitem budget and a budget narrative); this is in addition to the required SF-424, 424A, and 424-B Forms, if applicable (see guidance in POGI), and SF-LLL form, if applicable). Failure to submit all required elements will cause your proposal to be declared 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.

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 show substantive support of the Bureau’s policy on diversity. Proposals should demonstrate how diversity will be achieved in the different aspects of program administration and of program design, content and implementation, including individual grantee/participant recruitment, selection and placement. It is important that proposals have a clearly articulated diversity plan and not simply express general support for the concept of diversity.
  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 activity’s success, both as the grant activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that the proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. Award-receiving organizations/institutions will be expected to submit intermediate reports. See section D.3i. Program Monitoring and Evaluation above for more information on the components of a competitive evaluation plan. The Bureau also requires that organizations/institutions submit a final Performance Progress Report (PPR) and Federal Financial Report (FFR) no more than 120 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)
    • 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)
  • PI 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 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 officers:

Ryan Murphy, tel: (202) 632-6058,

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