Notice of Funds Availability for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) for Fiscal Year 2021, 28526-28537 [2021-10963]

Download as PDF 28526 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices Marketing Act of 1946, requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to establish an electronic reporting system for certain manufacturers of dairy products to report sales information under a mandatory dairy product reporting program. Data collection for cheddar cheese, butter, dry whey, or nonfat dry milk sales is limited to manufacturing plants producing annually 1 million pounds or more of one of the surveyed commodities specified in the program. Need and Use of the Information: Persons engaged in manufacturing dairy products are required to provide the Department of Agriculture (USDA) certain information, including the price, quantity, and moisture content, where applicable, of dairy products sold by the manufacturer. Various manufacturer reports are filed electronically on a weekly basis. Additional paper forms are filed by manufacturers on an annual basis to validate participation in the mandatory reporting program. Manufacturers and other persons storing dairy products must also report information on the quantity of dairy products stored. USDA publishes composites of the information obtained to help industry members make informed marketing decisions regarding dairy products. The information is also used to establish minimum prices for Class III and Class IV milk under Federal milk marketing orders. Without this information USDA would not be able to verify compliance with applicable regulations. Description of Respondents: Businesses—Cheddar Cheese, 40 lb. Blocks. Number of Respondents: 219. Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion; Weekly; Annually. Total Burden Hours: 1,767. Levi S. Harrell, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2021–11202 Filed 5–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Forest Service Payette National Forest; Idaho; Wildlife Conservation Strategy Forest Plan Amendment; Withdrawal of Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice; withdrawal. AGENCY: The Payette National Forest is withdrawing the Notice of Intent (NOI) that was published in the Federal SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 Register on April 22, 2009 to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Wildlife Conservation Strategy Forest Plan Amendment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions concerning this notice should be directed to Deputy Forest Supervisor Susan Howle at Payette National Forest Supervisors Office, 500 North Mission Street Building 2, McCall, ID 83638; via telephone at 208–634–0700 or via email at susan.howle@usda.gov. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the hearing-impaired (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A NOI to prepare an EIS was first published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2007 (72 FR 52540) to amend the 2003 Land and Resource Management Plans for the Boise, Payette, and Sawtooth National Forests and was corrected on December 8, 2008 (73 FR 74455) due to a delay in release of the three-forest Draft EIS. On April 22, 2009 (74 FR 18348), a new NOI was filed to prepare a separate EIS for each forest. The Notice of Availability for the Draft EIS for the amendment to the Payette Forest Plan was published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2011 (76 FR 3884). The Forest Supervisor in consultation with the Intermountain Regional Office has determined that the forest plan amendment proposed in 2011 cannot be completed as initiated per the provisions of 36 CFR 219.13 issued in 2016. Under the new regulations, the project would be required to be reinitiated in order to meet the public notification requirements. The withdrawal of the EIS could not proceed earlier because of pending litigation for another project that referenced the Draft EIS. Judgment in that case was issued in August 2020, and the litigation is no longer pending. Instead of proceeding with a new or re-initiated Plan Amendment at this time, individual projects are considering the need for project level amendments to address wildlife conservation needs on a project-by-project basis based on the best available science. The need for a plan level wildlife conservation strategy will be reassessed during forest plan revision in the future. Dated: May 21, 2021. Barnie Gyant, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2021–11196 Filed 5–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Rural Housing Service Rural Utilities Service [Docket No. RBS–21–CO–OP–0011] Notice of Funds Availability for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) for Fiscal Year 2021 Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), USDA. ACTION: Notice of funds availability. AGENCY: The Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) is seeking applications for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) from eligible entities to provide technical assistance and training to rural communities for placemaking planning and implementation. This funding opportunity will be administered by the USDA Rural Development Innovation Center and is authorized by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021, to provide up to $3 million in competitive cooperative agreement funds. This announcement lists the information needed to submit an application. DATES: Applications for RPIC cooperative agreement(s) must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time by July 26, 2021. Applications received after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 26, 2021 will not be considered. Comments related to the collection of information must be submitted by July 26, 2021. Follow directions provided in Section IX of this notice. ADDRESSES: Application Submission: The application system for electronic submissions will be available at https:// www.grants.gov/. Electronic submissions: The electronic submission of an application will allow for the expeditious review of an applicant’s proposal. As a result, all applicants must file their application electronically. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: USDA Rural Development, Innovation Center, via email at: RD.RPIC@usda.gov, or via phone at: Angela Callie 202–568– 9738 or Greg Dale 202–568–9558. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication should contact the U.S. Department of E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices Agriculture (USDA) Target Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice). The last day for accepting questions on this notice will be July 26, 2021. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority: This solicitation is issued pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). Overview Federal Agency: Rural BusinessCooperative Service (RB–CS), Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and Rural Housing Service (RHS), (USDA). Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC). Announcement Type: Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC)—10.890. Due Date for Applications: Applications for RPIC cooperative agreement(s) must be received by 11:59 p.m. on July 26, 2021. Applications received after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 26, 2021 will not be considered. Items in Supplementary Information I. Program Overview II. Federal Award Information III. Definitions IV. Eligibility Information V. Application and Submission Information VI. Application Review Information VII. Federal Award Administration Information VIII. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts IX. Other Information jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES I. Program Overview A. Background The Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge is a technical assistance and planning process for qualified entities to support rural community leaders to create places where people want to live, work, and play. This initiative is to provide planning support, technical assistance, and training to communities to foster placemaking activities in rural communities. Funds can help enhance capacity for broadband access, preserve cultural and historic structures, and support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. Applicants must demonstrate existing and proposed partnerships with public, private, philanthropic, and community partners to provide assistance. This funding announcement supports the delivery of technical assistance and training in visioning, planning, and assisting communities to implement placemaking efforts in rural communities under the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 B. Program Description RD is authorized to administer cooperative agreement awards in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). The intention of RPIC is to provide cooperative agreement funding to eligible applicants working to promote public-private-philanthropic partnerships in rural communities that encourage economic and social development. These projects are intended to support rural America and align with the mission of existing USDA RD programs to increase rural economic growth and improve the quality of life in rural America by supporting essential services such as housing, economic development, and required infrastructure. For purposes of this notice, Technical Assistance and Training for Placemaking is defined in Part III. RPIC operates under the following concepts: • Creating livable communities is important for community developers and practitioners who implement these strategies in rural communities and areas. • Placemaking practices include both innovative and adaptive as well as established technical processes and solutions. • Partnerships are a key element to the RPIC and must be developed with public, private, and philanthropic organizations creating new collaborative approaches, learning together, and bringing those learned strategies into rural communities. • Placemaking contributes to longterm investment and therefore supports a community’s resiliency, social stability, and collective identity. • Broadband is an essential component to supporting placemaking initiatives. For the purpose of this notice, placemaking is the process of creating quality places where people want to live, work, and play. Ultimately, the goal is to create greater social and cultural vitality in rural communities aimed at improving people’s social, physical, and economic well-being. The key elements of quality places include, but are not limited to, a mix of uses; effective public spaces; broadband capability; transportation options; multiple housing options; preservation of historic structure; and respect of community heritage, arts, culture, creativity, recreation, and green space. Throughout the placemaking process applicants are expected to involve public, private, philanthropic, and community partners; this work is to be based on a sense of place with qualitative and quantitative outcomes. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28527 II. Federal Award Information A. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.890. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Title: Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge. B. Funds Available The amount available for RPIC FY 2021 is up to $3 million. Lead applicants may not submit more than one application but may identify more than one community with which they are providing placemaking assistance. The maximum award amount for any one applicant is $250,000. RD reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if no application receives a minimum score of at least 60 points. There is no commitment by USDA to fund any application that does not achieve the minimum score. This funding opportunity lists the information needed to apply for these funds and announces that RD is accepting FY 2021 applications to support RPIC. C. Approximate Number of Awards The Agency anticipates that it may select one, multiple, or no award recipients from this funding opportunity. Applicants may not submit more than one application. D. Type of Instrument RD is authorized to administer cooperative agreement awards in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4) for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge. E. Period of Performance The maximum Period of Performance is 2 years. Applicants should anticipate a Period of Performance beginning October 1, 2021 and ending no later than September 30, 2023. III. Definitions The terms and conditions provided in this Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) are applicable to and for the purposes of this NOFA only. Unless otherwise provided in the award documents, all financial terms not defined herein shall have the meaning as defined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Capacity (for eligibility) is defined as previous experience with federal grant administration and demonstrated experience in economic development and placemaking technical assistance. Cooperative Agreement Elements mean the cooperative agreements to be funded through RPIC directly support Rural Development’s goals of increasing E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 28528 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices rural economic growth. As part of the placemaking planning process, required infrastructure, community facilities, housing and/or business development to support the ultimate placemaking goal are documented. In addition, existing assets that can be leveraged in support of a placemaking vision are evaluated, and funding strategies and sources to enhance or construct new assets are identified. Cooperators are expected to have expertise in placemaking and partnerships that will enable a rural community, area, or region to ultimately implement a placemaking strategy and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Multi-jurisdictional means more than one jurisdiction where jurisdiction refers to a unit of government or other entity with similar powers, such as a city, county, district, special purpose district, township, town, borough, parish, village, state, Indian tribe, etc. Multi-sectoral means intentional collaboration between two or more sectors (e.g., utility, health, housing, community services, etc.) to accomplish goals and achieve outcomes in communities and regions. Placemaking means a process involving public, private, philanthropic and community partners working together to strategically improve the social, cultural, and economic structure of a community. This work is based on a sense of place with qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Placemaking Plan means a written document that describes the strategic plan for the community to implement the goals and objectives identified through the placemaking planning process. Quality of life means a measure of human well-being that can be identified though economic and social indicators. Modern utilities, affordable housing, efficient transportation, and reliable employment are economic indicators that must be integrated with social indicators such as access to medical services, public safety, education, and community resilience to empower rural communities to thrive. Region (Four Regions) means: • The Northeast includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. • The Midwest includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. • The South includes Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Oklahoma. • The West includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Pacific Island Territories. Rural area means the Rural Business Service’s Rural Area definition as outlined in Section 343(a)(13)(A)(i) of the Agricultural Act of 1961 & Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act which defines ‘‘rural area’’ as any area other than (1) a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and (2) any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such city or town described in subparagraph (1) above. Sector means stakeholders from areas such as business, health, education, and/or workforce; or from organization types such as public, private, non-profit, and/or philanthropy. Technical Assistance and Training for Placemaking means the applicant participates in the complete process for the delivery of placemaking planning and implementation in partnership with identified rural communities. The support provided may include, but is not limited to: • Evidence-based understanding of community assets, challenges, and opportunities, • A description of the distinct qualities of the community—both positive and negative, • A vision statement that summarizes the most important outcomes that the community wants to see achieved, • A statement of values that identifies the principles that leaders and stakeholders should use in determining strategies, and • Evidence of broad community participation, public input, and buy-in. Commonly used Acronyms: DCI Distressed Communities Index DUNS Data Universal Numbering System FY Fiscal Year HBCU Historically Black Colleges and Universities LOC Letter of Conditions NEPA National Environmental Policy Act NICRA Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement RD Rural Development RDCA Rural Development Cooperative Agreement RPIC Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge SAM System for Award Management SBA Small Business Administration PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 USDA United States Department of Agriculture CFR Code of Federal Regulation SPOC Single Point of Contact IV. Eligibility Information A. Applicants Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements by the application deadline. Applications that fail to meet any of these requirements by the application deadline will be deemed ineligible and will not be evaluated further and will not receive a Federal award. Applicant Eligibility: Federally recognized Tribes and Native American Tribal Organizations; institutions of higher education (including 1862 LandGrant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)); nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) IRS status; public bodies or small private entities meeting the size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). All eligible applicants must demonstrate the capacity to deliver and support rural placemaking planning activities within at least one of the four regions found in Part III. Capacity is defined as previous experience with federal grant administration and demonstrated experience in economic development and placemaking technical assistance. Entities are not eligible if they have been debarred or suspended or otherwise excluded from, or ineligible for, participation in Federal assistance programs under 2 CFR parts 180 and 417. In addition, an applicant will be considered ineligible for a cooperative agreement due to an outstanding judgment obtained by the U.S. in a Federal Court (other than U.S. Tax Court) or if the applicant is delinquent on the payment of Federal income taxes or Federal debt. B. Eligible Project The proposed project must include a component that allows for active participation by the Cooperator and substantial involvement by RD in the majority of specified tasks outlined in the applicant’s project proposal. Examples of measurable substantial involvement include, but are not limited to, the following: Joint convenings of community members, partners, and stakeholders; joint delivery of training for RD programs; and the development of training sessions and outreach materials. It is the intent of this project E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES to engage RD staff in the placemaking process, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to identify specific tasks where RD staff can provide measurable, substantial involvement in the project. If such tasks are not identified, the application will not be eligible for funding. The project must also directly benefit a rural area. All ultimate beneficiaries and/or subrecipients must be located in rural areas, and any activities or tasks must occur in rural areas. Duplication of services is not allowed. Applicants must demonstrate that they are providing services either to new customers or new services to current customers. If the applicant’s workplan and budget are duplicative of a previous and/or existing RPIC award, the application will not be considered for funding. RD will make this determination. C. Cost Sharing and Matching Funds Verification (1) A minimum 15 percent match of the federal grant amount requested for the cooperative agreement award is required for all applications. Matching commitments may be made in cash by the applying organization, or a combination of cash and confirmed funding commitments with third-party in-kind contributions as defined in 2 CFR 200.96. This minimum match of at least 15 percent of the federal amount requested must be committed for a period of not less than the cooperative agreement performance period. Cost sharing/matching must be committed at the time of application submission. (2) Applicants may recruit one or more private, philanthropic, and/or eligible public partner(s) to provide the matching fifteen percent 15 percent (in cash and/or in-kind contributions) of the applicant’s proposed federal funding request (i.e., the federal grant amount requested), or the applicant can provide the full match as their own CASH contribution. It is permissible to provide a combination of third party in-kind contribution (as defined in 2 CFR 200.96) from a partner and CASH contribution from the applicant, but it is not permissible for the applicant to provide their own in-kind contribution as part of the match combination. If the applicant is going to provide their own match contribution, that match must be documented as a CASH contribution. (3) Verification of Matching Funds: The Matching Funds Letter must be signed by the donating organization’s authorized representative on the organization’s letterhead and must identify the amount of matching funds or in-kind services/goods, the time VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 period during which matching contribution will be available, and the source of the funds, as applicable (e.g., cash on hand, etc.). • If providing an in-kind match, the third-party contributor must provide details on how those in-kind sources will be identified and tracked by the contributor. • The contributor must also attach/ stipulate the value of each of the goods or services (including the indirect/direct costs) being offered. • If using calculated hours for estimating any in-kind service, the contributor must also provide how the value was arrived at for calculating the total cost for the in-kind match and associated personnel, as applicable. Additional details about cost sharing or matching funds/contributions are located at 2 CFR 200.306. Applicant matching funds must be included in the budget justification. For matching funds offered by project partners, a separate Matching Funds Letter is required for each cash and/or in-kind match contribution. Matching Funds Letters must be signed by the authorized organizational representative of the contributing organization and the applicant organization, which must include: • The name, address, and telephone number of the contributor, • the name of the applicant organization, • the title of the project for which the contribution is made, • the dollar amount of the contribution, and • a statement that the contributor commits to furnish the contribution during the cooperative agreement period. Applications without signed written commitments are deemed incomplete and will be ineligible. The value of applicant contributions to the project is established according to Federal cost principles. Applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.306 for additional guidance on matching funds, in-kind contributions, and allowable costs. D. Funding Restrictions The following funding restrictions also apply to this program: (1) Pre-award costs are not authorized. (2) Use of Funds. Awards funds should be calculated based on the federal amount requested by the applicant. A minimum of 15 percent match is required per Part IV. Section C. (3) Indirect Cost Rate. The indirect cost rate is limited to 10 percent of direct charges for all nonprofit institutions, including institutions of higher education. All other PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28529 organizations must use the rate identified in their NICRA. If you do not have a NICRA, you may elect to charge only direct costs to the award. If you have never had a NICRA, you may also choose to use a de minimis rate of 10 percent of modified total direct costs in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414(f). Your indirect cost rate must be included on Form SF–424A. (4) The applicant may not use their administrative overhead or indirect costs as any part of their matching funds contribution. Using an indirect cost rate or administrative overhead for a matching fund contribution will be deemed as an ineligible use of funds for the cooperative agreement. (5) Program Income. If you expect to earn Program Income during the Period of Performance, you must identify the amount and how you expect to use it (e.g., matching funds) in your application. If your application is funded, unexpected Program Income or Program Income earned in excess of the amount you identify in your application will be deducted from the Federal share of the project in accordance with 2 CFR 200.307(e)(1). E. Ineligible Project Costs In addition to costs identified as unallowable by 2 CFR part 200 or 400, the following costs are prohibited for this program. Neither award funds nor matching funds can be used to pay for the following types of expenses (this is not a comprehensive list of unallowable costs, see 2 CFR part 200). (1) Construction (in any form). (2) Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients. (3) Grants to individuals. (4) Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the Agency. (5) Purchasing real estate. (6) Using cooperative agreement assistance or matching funds for individual development accounts. (7) Purchasing vehicles. (8) To pay an outstanding judgment obtained by the United States in a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax court), which has been recorded. An applicant will be ineligible to receive an award until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied. V. Application and Submission Information A. Electronic Application and Submission Applications must be submitted electronically using Grants.gov. No other form of application will be E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 28530 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES accepted. Application and supporting materials are available at Grants.gov. Your application must contain all required information. To apply electronically, you must follow the instructions for this funding announcement at Grants.gov. Please note that we will not accept applications through mail or courier delivery, in-person delivery, email, or fax. You can locate the Grants.gov downloadable application package for this program by using a keyword, the program name, or the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number for this program. When you enter the Grants.gov website, you will find information about applying electronically through the site as well as the hours of operation. To use Grants.gov, you must already have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number and you must also be registered and maintain registration in the System for Award Management (SAM). We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. RD is not responsible for any technical malfunction or website problems related to Grants.gov. If issues are encountered with Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov help desk at (800) 518–4726 or support@grants.gov. The applicant assumes the risk of any delays in application submission through Grants.gov. Submitting an application through Grants.gov requires completing a variety of tasks and steps. There are also several preliminary registration steps before the applicant can submit the application. It is recommended that the instructions for registering be reviewed as soon as possible but at least two weeks before the planned application submission date. You must submit all application documents electronically through Grants.gov. Applications must include electronic signatures. Original signatures may be required if funds are awarded. After applying electronically through Grants.gov, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. B. Content and Form of Application Submission For an application to be considered complete, the applicant must complete and submit the forms contained in this section in addition to the written narrative proposal information in Part VI. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 (1) Applicants must complete and submit the following forms to apply for an RPIC cooperative agreement: (a) Standard Form 424, ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance—Nonconstruction.’’ (b) Standard Form 424A, ‘‘Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs.’’ (c) Standard Form 424B, ‘‘Assurances—Non-Construction Programs.’’ (d) Risk Review: RD may request additional documentation from selected applicants in order to evaluate the financial, management, and performance risk posed by awardees as required by 2 CFR 200.205. Based on this risk review, RD may apply special conditions that correspond to the degree of risk assessed. (e) Civil Rights Compliance Requirements: All awards made under this notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as required by 7 CFR part 15, subpart A, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. (f) Execute Form RD 400–1 ‘‘Equal Opportunity Agreement.’’ (g) National Environmental Policy Act: This notice has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, ‘‘Environmental Policies and Procedures.’’ We have determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required because the issuance of regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing the Agency’s financial programs is categorically excluded in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation found at 7 CFR 1970.53(f). It has been determined that this Funding opportunity does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. (2) All applications shall be accompanied by the following supporting documentation in concise written narrative form: Content and Format—Each page must be on numbered, letter-sized (81⁄2 x 11) paper utilizing a white background that has 1″ margins, and the text of the application must be typed, single spaced, black, and in a font no smaller than 12 point. Written Proposal—The written proposal should be assembled into one or more .pdf file(s) and should conform to the order in which the Evaluation Criteria are presented in Part VI Section B. The completed .pdf file(s) should be PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 uploaded into Grants.gov as an attachment to the application. The maximum limit for the written narrative section is 25 pages. Information exceeding 25 pages for the written narrative may not be considered for evaluation by the scoring panel. C. DUNS Number and SAM To be eligible (unless you are excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(b), (c) or (d)), you are required to do the following: (1) Provide a valid DUNS number in your application. The DUNS number can be obtained at no cost via a toll-free request line at (866) 705–5711; (2) Register in SAM before submitting your application. You may register in SAM at no cost at https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/. You must provide your SAM CAGE Code and expiration date. When registering in SAM, you must indicate you are applying for a federal financial assistance project or program or are currently the recipient of funding under any federal financial assistance project or program; and (3) Maintain active and current SAM registration. The SAM registration must remain active with current information at all times while the Agency is considering an application or while a federal grant/cooperative agreement award or loan is active. To maintain the registration in the SAM database, the applicant must review and update the information in the SAM database annually from date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and complete. Applicants must ensure they complete the Financial Assistance General Certifications and Representations in SAM. If you have not fully complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements, the Agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a federal award, and the Agency may use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant. In accordance with OMB Memoranda M–20–26, the Agency can accept an application without an active SAM registration. However, the registration must be completed before an award is made. For current registrants in SAM, to help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day extension for SAM.gov registrations that have expiration dates ranging between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. This effort is intended as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that time frame. Each entity registration will have 180 days added to its E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices expiration date. As an example, an entity that is set to expire on April 1, 2021 will be automatically granted an extension to September 28, 2021. D. Submission Dates and Times In order to be considered for funds under this notice, applications must be deemed complete and must be received by Grants.gov by the deadline specified in the DATES section of this notice. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES E. Intergovernmental Review Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to this program. This E.O. requires that federal agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with state and local governments. Many states have established a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. For a list of states that maintain a SPOC, please see the White House website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2020/04/SPOC-4-1320.pdf. If your state has a SPOC, you may submit a copy of the application directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to your State Office for consideration as part of your application. If your state has not established a SPOC, or if you do not want to submit a copy of the application, our State Offices will submit your application to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies. Indian tribes are exempt from this requirement. F. Compliance With Other Federal Statutes and Other Submission Requirements (1) Other Federal Statutes. The applicant must certify to compliance with other Federal Statutes and regulations by completing the Financial Assistance General Certification and Representations in SAM, including, but not limited to the following: (a) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A— Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture—Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Civil Rights compliance includes, but is not limited to the following: (i) Collect and maintain data provided by ultimate recipients on race, sex, and national origin and ensure that ultimate recipients collect and maintain this data; (ii) Race and ethnicity data will be collected in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Register Notice, ‘‘Revisions of the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 (published October 30, 1997 at 62 FR 58782). Sex data will be collected in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. These items should not be submitted with the application but should be available upon request by RUS; and (b) The applicant and the ultimate recipient must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Executive Order 12250, and 7 CFR part 1901, subpart E; (c) 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards), or any successor regulations; (d) Executive Order 13166, ‘‘Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.’’ For information on limited English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to https://www.lep.gov/; and (e) Federal Obligation Certification on Delinquent Debt. VI. Application Review Information A. General The projects should address how existing assets can be leveraged in support of a placemaking vision and how the projects will be evaluated (e.g., how projects are evaluated for funding strategies and sources, construction of new assets to be identified in the planning process). Awardees will be Cooperators and are required to participate substantially in the project alongside RD staff to bring expertise in placemaking technical assistance, to bring partnerships that will enable a rural community, area or region to ultimately implement a placemaking strategy, and to improve the quality of life for its citizens. Applicants are expected to provide proposals under this notice that include cooperation through substantial and measurable involvement by both the Cooperator and USDA Rural Development staff. Proposals will support multi-sectoral or multijurisdictional projects in rural communities and demonstrate how placemaking technical assistance will be provided to develop implementation plans that can be aligned with the mission of USDA Rural Development to improve quality of life and economic growth. The proposal must provide a detailed description of (i) the area to be served and (ii) how such area fits the definition of a region, multi-sectoral, or PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28531 multi-jurisdictional rural area. Funding will be prioritized to ensure geographic diversity, so there will be at least one proposal awarded per Region, as defined in Part III. Applicants must identify which Region or Regions are included in their proposal. If applicants propose to serve more than one Region, they must also identify a primary Region. Applicants for RPIC should be prepared to develop, be in the process of developing, or have developed a placemaking plan in partnership with public, private, or philanthropic partners with the focus on local or regional revitalization towards economic vitality and quality of life impacts. The plans should identify potential projects that can be funded through RD programs and other federal, state, local or private sector resources. Placemaking plans developed through this funding opportunity should focus on one or more of the Quality of Life indicators as defined in Part III. Applicants are expected to submit placemaking proposals under this notice that include multi-sectoral or multijurisdictional planning partnerships within at least one Region (as defined in Part III) that will provide measurable results in helping rural communities create greater social and cultural vitality in rural communities. RPIC projects should also support rural communities’ ability to qualify for priority funding under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, ‘‘Strategic economic and community development,’’ [7 U.S.C. 2008]. For the purpose of RPIC, rural placemaking is: (1) Rooted in emphasizing partnerships and collaboration among multiple public, private, philanthropic and community partners; (2) focused on combining federal, tribal, state, and local resources to make wide-ranging quality-of-life impacts as opposed to separate, piecemeal, incremental improvements; and (3) based on placemaking processes to create quality places where people want to live, work, and play. Ultimately, the goal is to create greater social and cultural vitality in rural communities. The key elements of quality places include, but are not limited to, a mix of uses; effective public spaces; broadband capability; transportation options; multiple housing options; disposition and rehabilitation of vacant structures; preservation of historic properties; and respect of community heritage, arts, culture, creativity, recreation, and green space. Applications will first be reviewed to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements and compliance with the E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 28532 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES funding restrictions in this notice. If we determine that your application is ineligible, we will discontinue processing it, which means that we will not evaluate it further nor provide any scoring information. If your application is determined to be eligible, we will further evaluate it based on the scoring criteria listed in Part VI, Section B. All applications will be competitively scored and ranked. The minimum score requirement for a cooperative agreement award under this funding opportunity is 60 points. Additionally, the applications will be reviewed for completeness. For an application to be considered complete, the applicant must complete and submit the written narrative proposal information and the forms contained in Parts V and VI in this NOFA. If we determine that your application is not complete, we will discontinue processing it, which means that we will not evaluate it further nor provide any scoring information. B. Scoring Process (1) Number of Awards: The Agency anticipates that it may select one, multiple, or no award recipients from this funding opportunity. The Agency reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if no application receives a minimum score of at least 60 points. (2) Evaluation Criteria: (refer to Summary Table of Evaluation Criteria). Proposed projects will be evaluated based only on information provided in the application. Points will be given only for factors that are well documented in the application package and, in the opinion of RD, meet the objectives outlined in each of the evaluation criteria. References to websites or publications will not be reviewed. Full documentation and support of application criteria is encouraged. (3) The entire written narrative proposal includes the following sections in this order: (a) Executive Summary—Provide the applicant entity name, duration of project (in months), amount of Federal funding requested, amount of nonFederal cost-share/match funding committed, and project title. Identify geographic locations (including the primary region in which the applicant determines where the most significant work takes place) and describe, in nontechnical language, the placemaking approach to be used including the objectives and strategies to be utilized; the public, private, and philanthropic partnerships developed or to be developed; the approach to be employed VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 (including the role of participating partners); how impact will be quantified; and the predicted benefits or deliverables of the project(s). Briefly describe applicant’s past experience in federal grant administration, economic development, and specific placemaking technical assistance. (b) Work Plan—Soundness of Approach (0–30 points). The applicant can receive up to 30 points for soundness of placemaking approach in their work plan. The maximum 30 points for this criterion will be based on the following: (i) Work Plan Approach—project objectives/background/tasks with timeline and timeframes (0–10 Points) • Project Objective(s): Description of objective(s)—clearly defined. • Project Background: Description of the types and general locations of rural communities to be served through this project—Geographic Location or Project Areas (include Region description). • Describe project area(s) as multisectoral or multi-jurisdictional. Applicant must include their ability to support rural planning activities on a multi-sectoral or multi-jurisdictional basis and how they will effectively serve these communities based on key personnel, established timeframes, and budget. • Project Key Tasks with Timeline and Timeframes: —Applicants are required to include Work Plan Chart(s) that lists major task(s) by key personnel involved, time period of the task(s), substantial involvement of RD staff, expected deliverables, and budget associated with tasks. —Applicants may provide timelines to demonstrate how the technical assistance will be delivered to rural communities and describe any supporting innovative and/or traditional placemaking approaches associated to tasks. (ii) Implementation of Workplan— Planning through the Implementation Phase (0–10 points) • Project Implementation: Applicant should include details on how the technical assistance will be provided for the placemaking planning process and how it will coach/mentor the community to bring the plan to full implementation. (iii) Alignment of Budget/Budget Justification to Workplan (0–10 points) • Detailed Budget Justification should align with the tasks detailed in the workplan. Discuss how the budget specifically supports the proposed activities discussed in the Project Key Tasks (as described above). Justify PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 project costs including personnel and any limited consultant salaries with description of duties. The budget justification should include both the Federal funds requested and the applicant’s matching funds. The format of the budget’s narrative can be in a chart, spreadsheet, table, etc., but it should be readable on letter-size, printable pages. The information needs to be presented in such a way that the reviewers can readily understand what expenses are incurred to support the project. Statement(s) of work for any subcontractors and consultants must be included as part of the application. (Note: Consultants and subcontracts must only be used on a very limited basis. The majority of the primary work under the cooperative agreement MUST be performed by the applicant). (c) Organizational Capacity & Qualifications (0–20 points). The applicant can receive up to 20 points based on organizational capacity and qualifications. The maximum 20 points for this criterion will be based on the following: (i) The applicant should specify years of experience in placemaking activities, types of communities previously served, and experience in performance evaluation. (0–10 points) (ii) The applicant’s proposal should demonstrate that the applicant has identified appropriate key personnel, both in terms of number of personnel and qualifications of personnel and should provide specific detail of qualifications of key personnel relating to placemaking. Capacity of personnel to access data for needs assessments and access to planners and other technical experts will be evaluated. (0–10 points) (d) Partnerships (0–20 points). The applicant can receive up to 20 points for quantity and quality of the applicant’s existing public, private, and philanthropic partnerships and proposed new partnerships for this effort. The applicant should demonstrate their ability to leverage new partners that have had limited engagement with RD projects or priorities to leverage resources, enhance technical assistance, and/or increase reach to target areas. The maximum 20 points for this criterion will be based on the following: (i) The applicant should provide a list of potential partners, existing or new, who might commit to the project as well as a description of the sectors they represent (i.e., public, private, philanthropic). (0–10 points) (ii) The applicant should describe how they will engage with new and existing partners to support the project E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices as well as how they can leverage partner resources. (0–10 points) (e) Targeted Impacts (0–20 points). The applicant can receive up to 20 points for focusing on either or both of the following Targeted Impacts: (i) Economically Distressed Communities. The applicant should describe how the proposal will address specific socioeconomic indicator(s) and the strategies to be utilized. The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) is considered a good tool for identifying economically distressed communities. (https://ruraldevelopment. maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/ index.html?id=06a26a91d074426 d944d22715a90311e) (A) Describe how the applicant plans to address Economically Distressed Communities in its placemaking strategies/activities. What specific actions will be taken, and how do these proposed actions impact Economically Distressed Communities? (B) What community data does the applicant plan to use to provide foundational context to its placemaking efforts? (C) What measurable outcomes related to Economically Distressed Communities does the applicant plan to track? How will the applicant know if its efforts are making progress toward addressing Economically Distressed Communities and achieving desired outcomes? (ii) Broadband Planning for Infrastructure, Deployment, and/or Access. (A) The applicant should propose how the project will create planning or other broadband infrastructure and/or econnectivity opportunities within targeted areas. Describe how the applicant’s proposal will help communities plan for broadband infrastructure around the USDA–RD ReConnect Program (provided that community is eligible for that program); or (B) If the community(ies) the applicant is supporting already has a ReConnect funded project, describe how the applicant’s proposal will provide follow-up and support for future broadband development or deployment; or (C) If the community(ies) the applicant is supporting is not a participant in the ReConnect Program, describe how the applicant will work with stakeholders to address barriers to broadband development and deployment, or broadband access or econnectivity. When addressing this section, after answering (A), (B) or (C) also address: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 • What community data does the applicant plan to use to provide foundational context to its placemaking efforts? • What measurable outcomes related to broadband and e-connectivity does the applicant plan to track. How will the applicant know if its efforts are making progress toward addressing broadband and e-connectivity in its community and achieving desired outcomes? (f) Performance Measures (0–10 points). The applicant can receive up to 10 points based on the proposed performance measures to evaluate the progress and impact of the proposed project. The criterion will be based on the applicant’s proposal and should include a description for how the results of the technical assistance will be measured, including the quality of life indicators (set forth in Part III) and the benchmarks to be used for measuring effectiveness. Indicators to be used should be specific and be quantifiable. (0–10 points) (g) Optional Innovation Seed Grant (0–5 or 0–10 points) To foster public, private, and philanthropic engagement, not only through RPIC but for the community itself, the Innovation Seed Grant must be matched by no less than 50% match with additional external funding to support the community’s project. The external funds can be from public, private, philanthropic, or other federal, state, and local partners. There are two ways to be scored based on how an applicant plans to implement the Innovation Seed Grant: The applicant could receive either up to 0–5 points, or up to 10 points. Note that Cooperators that implement seed grants as a part of their proposal will be subject to the relevant subaward/subrecipient components from 2 CFR part 200. (i) Option 1—0 to 5 points Innovation Seed Grant: • Applicants may receive up to 5 points in scoring if their proposal and budget provide for a system of funding an Innovation Seed Grant. The seed grants are to be utilized to fund a new and innovative project that is highlighted in the placemaking plan. These seed grants are considered small financial awards for the purpose of getting a specific project implemented in the plan. The applicant can set aside, from the applicant’s award, funds for an Innovation Seed Grant. The maximum RPIC funds that can be set-aside for this purpose is 10 percent. • Individual Innovation Seed Grants may be no more than $5,000 from RPIC funds, to an ultimate recipient in a community or for an entity applying for the grant. The seed grant must have matching funds of at least 50 percent PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28533 from public, private, or philanthropic support; however, the applicant may have contributions from partnerships in excess of the minimum 50 percent match requirement. OR (ii) Option 2—0 to 10 points Innovation Seed Grant: • Applicants may receive up to 10 points in scoring if their proposal and budget provide for a system of funding an Innovation Seed Grant that funds a new and innovative project that is highlighted in the placemaking plan and focuses on one of the Targeted Impacts listed in Part VI, Section B (e)(Targeted Impacts). The system should describe how the seed grant promotes and connects to the Targeted Impacts. These seed grants are considered small financial awards for the purpose of getting a specific project implemented. The applicant can set aside, from the applicant’s award, funds for an Innovation Seed Grant. The maximum RPIC funds that can be set-aside for this purpose is 10 percent. • Individual Seed Grants may be no more than $5,000 from RPIC funds, to an ultimate recipient in a community or for an entity applying for the grant. The Seed Grant must have matching funds of at least 50 percent from public, private, or philanthropic support; however, the applicant may have contributions from partnerships in excess of the minimum 50 percent match requirement. (iii) Scoring the Innovation Seed Grant: • The applicant should provide a brief narrative of how the Innovation Seed Grant will be developed, administered, and implemented. • It is expected that the Cooperators, in collaboration with the communities they are serving, will develop criterion for evaluating the Innovation Seed Grant for approval by a Seed Grant Committee. For evaluation of these criterion, applicants may provide sample criterion on how Seed Grants could be evaluated for: —Innovation, —Whether the project has been highlighted in the Placemaking Plan, and —The probability of success and sustainability with identified outcomes to be achieved. • The applicant MUST provide documentation of third-party matching funds contribution. These matching funds are separate from the verified matched funds required for the RPIC application. The Matching Funds Letter for the seed grants MUST specifically state that the funds are being allocated to the Innovation Seed Grant. The letter E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 28534 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices may be conditioned to the applicant receiving the award. (Failing to provide verification of match disqualifies the applicant from this optional scoring criteria). (h) Agency Discretionary Points (0–10 points): The Agency may, in individual cases, make an exception to any requirement or provision of this notice, which is determined to be in the Government’s interest. The applicant does not need to provide additional information under this category. Information in the applicant’s proposal will be used to score this category, if applicable. The Agency may choose to award points to eligible applicants who have never previously been awarded an RPIC cooperative agreement. The Agency may also choose to award up to 10 points to an application that addresses any of the following factors: geographic, demographic, economic diversity of awardees. (i) Verification of Matching Funds. The applicant must include Matching Commitment Letters signed by the donating organization’s authorized representative on the organization’s letterhead that identifies the amount of matching funds or in-kind services, the time period during which matching funds will be available, and the source of the funds (e.g., cash on hand). See Part IV, Section C (Cost Sharing and Matching Funds Verification) for more information. If participating in the Optional Innovation Seed Grant, the applicant must submit separate Matching Funds Commitment Letters that specifically annotate that funds are allocated to the Innovation Seed Grant. The funds are a cash commitment to the seed grant. (j) Letters of Support (e.g., additional resource commitment from partners); (k) Appendix—Graphics, References, Citations, Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) if applicable, etc. (Note: material added in this section may not be evaluated as part of the competitive scoring process). SUMMARY TABLE OF EVALUATION CRITERIA Criteria Points 1. Work Plan/Soundness of Approach .................................................................................................................................... a. Work Plan Approach-project objectives/background/tasks with timeline and timeframes .......................................... b. Implementation of workplan ......................................................................................................................................... c. Alignment of budget/budget justification ...................................................................................................................... 2. Organizational Capacity/Qualifications ................................................................................................................................ a. Years of experience and processes employed in placemaking activities ................................................................... b. Key personnel/number and qualifications relating to placemaking—access to data for needs assessments ............ 3. Partnerships ......................................................................................................................................................................... a. Extent of existing partnerships (# of partners/public, private, philanthropic partners) ................................................ b. Value that partnerships will bring to placemaking project, including existing partners and leveraging new partners for the proposed project. 4. Targeted Impacts ................................................................................................................................................................. • Economically Distressed Communities. • Broadband Planning for Infrastructure/Deployment/Access. 5. Performance Measures ....................................................................................................................................................... Measures used for evaluating quality of life indicators and benchmarks used for measuring effectiveness ................. Optional Innovation Seed Grant .............................................................................................................................................. Option 1—Innovation Seed Grant—offering seed grants for new and innovative projects highlighted in the Placemaking Plan; or. Option 2—Innovation Seed Grant—offering seed grants for new and innovative projects highlighted in the Placemaking Plan that specifically address one or more of the Targeted Impact priorities. Agency Discretionary Points (Note: Applicant does not need to provide additional information for this category). .............. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES C. Review and Selection Process (1) Incomplete or ineligible applications. Applications that are incomplete or ineligible will not be considered for funding (Reference Part V and Part VI). (2) The Reviewers. All eligible applications will be evaluated by an Application Review Panel using the criteria described in Part VI of this notice. Panel members will be appointed by RD and will be qualified to evaluate the applications based on the type of work proposed by the applicant. (3) Selection of Qualifying Applications. Applications will be selected in the following order: (a) First, the highest scoring application in each of the four Regions will be selected. (b) Second, the remaining applications, regardless of Region, will VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 be selected starting with the highest scoring application, until all available funds are exhausted. (c) Applications, at or near the funding line, may be funded in part, if RD believes an appropriate benefit can result from partial funding and if the applicant agrees to the amount of partial funding. In the event RD considers partial funding to be appropriate, the applicant will be contacted to negotiate the final work plan and budget prior to award approval. (4) Appeal Request. The applicant will be notified in writing regarding the reason(s) for any adverse decisions and will be provided a description of the options for review. Note that if the determination is reversed, either due to the discovery of an Agency error or through a formal appeal, funding is restricted to available FY 2021 funds. (5) Cooperative Agreement. Applicants selected for funding will PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 0–30 points. Up to 10 points. Up to 10 points. Up to 10 points. 0–20 points Up to 10 points. Up to 10 points. 0–20 points. 0–10. 0–10. 0–20 points. 0–10 points. Up to 10 points. 0–10 points. Up to 5 points or Up to 10 points. 0–10 points. complete a Cooperative/Grant agreement suitable to Rural Business Cooperative Service, which outlines the terms and conditions of the Cooperative Agreement award. Pursuant to the agreement, funds may be released over the course of the Cooperative Agreement period in the form of a reimbursement for the performance of eligible, approved activities. The agreement may also include reporting requirements which, if not met, may result in a delay in reimbursement, disallowance of expenses, or a suspension of the Agreement. (6) Reimbursement. (a) SF–270, ‘‘Request for Advance or Reimbursement,’’ will be completed by the cooperator and submitted to RD along with supporting documentation. (b) Upon receipt of a properly completed SF–270, payment will ordinarily be made within 30 days. E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices (c) Any change in the scope of the project, budget adjustments of more than 10 percent of the total budget, or any other significant change in the project must be reported to and approved by the approving official. Any change not approved may be cause for termination of the Cooperative Agreement. VII. Federal Award Administration Information jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES A. Federal Award Notices (1) Successful applicants will be notified in writing by the Agency with a Letter of Conditions (LOC). The LOC is a notice of selection and does not indicate that an award has been approved, nor is it an authorization to begin performance on the award. While there may be special conditions that apply on a case-by-case basis, the conditions as stated in Part VII, Section B (Administrative and National Policy Requirements) are standard for all successful applicants. (2) Once the conditions described in the LOC have been met, the award will be approved through the execution of Form RD 4280–2 in conjunction with the Rural Development Cooperative Agreement (RDCA) Program Attachment. If an applicant is unable to meet the conditions of the award within 90 calendar days, the award will be withdrawn. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements (1) The following requirements apply to grantees selected for this program: (a) Complete Form RD 1942–46 ‘‘Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.’’ (b) Complete Form RD 1940–1, ‘‘Request for Obligations of Funds.’’ (c) Complete FMMI Vendor Code Request Form. (d) Provide a copy of your organization’s Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement. (e) Certify that all work completed for the award will benefit a rural area. (f) Certify that you will comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and report information about subawards and executive compensation. (g) Certify that the U.S. has not obtained an outstanding judgement against your organization in a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax Court). (h) Execute Form SF–424B, ‘‘Assurance—Non-Construction Programs.’’ (i) Execute Form SF–LLL, ‘‘Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying,’’ if applicable, or certify that your organization does not lobby. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 (2) The applicant must provide evidence of compliance with other federal statutes, including, but not limited to, the following: (a) Debarment and suspension information as required in accordance with 2 CFR part 417 (Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension) supplemented by 2 CFR part 180, if applies. The information required under section heading: ‘‘What information must I provide before entering into a covered transaction with a Federal agency?’’ located at 2 CFR 180.335 is part of OMB’s Guidance for Grants and Agreements concerning Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension. (b) All of your organization’s known workplaces by including the actual address of buildings (or parts of buildings) or other sites where work under the award takes place. Workplace identification is required under the drug-free workplace requirements in Subpart B of 2 CFR part 421, which adopts the Governmentwide implementation (2 CFR part 182) of the Drug-Free Workplace Act. (c) 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards). (d) 2 CFR part 182 (Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)) and 2 CFR part 421 (Requirements for Drug Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)). (e) Executive Order 13166, ‘‘Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.’’ For information on limited English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to https://www.lep.gov. (3) The following forms for acceptance of a federal award are now collected through your registration or annual recertification in SAM.gov in the Financial Assistance General Certifications and Representations section: • Form RD 400–4, ‘‘Assurance Agreement.’’ • Form AD–1047, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions.’’ • Form AD–1048, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion. Lower Tier Covered Transactions.’’ • Form AD–1049, ‘‘Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants).’’ • Form AD–3031, ‘‘Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28535 C. Reporting Grantees shall constantly monitor performance to ensure that time schedules are being met, projected work by time periods are being accomplished, and other performance objectives are being achieved. (1) SF–PPR ‘‘Performance Progress Report,’’ must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: January 1–March 31, April 1–June 30, July 1–September 30, and October 1– December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of performance, whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final performance reports must be submitted electronically to RD. (2) Financial Report: Form SF–425, ‘‘Federal Financial Report’’ must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: January 1– March 31, April 1–June 30, July 1– September 30, October 1–December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of performance, whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final reports must be submitted electronically to RD. (3) Report Suitable for Public Distribution: A report suitable for public distribution that describes the accomplishments of the project is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project. There is no format prescribed for this report, but it is expected that it will be 1–2 pages in length and describe the project in such a way that a member of the public not familiar with the project would gain an understanding of the impact of the project. VIII. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts For further information, contact: Angela Callie at (202) 568–9738 or Gregory Dale (202) 568–9558, email: RD.RPIC@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice). IX. Other Information A. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), USDA requested that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) conduct an emergency review of a new information collection that E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 28536 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices contains the Information Collection and Recordkeeping requirements contained in this notice by May 20, 2021. An emergency clearance approval for this information collection is due to the following conditions: (1) The time sensitive competitive solicitation application window commencing on May 27, 2021; (2) the urgency to obligate FY 2021 funds prior to September 30, 2021; and (3) being able to effectively implement the program as quickly as possible to benefit rural communities. In addition to the emergency clearance, the regular clearance process is hereby being initiated to provide the public with the opportunity to comment under a full comment period, as the Agency intends to request regular approval from OMB for this information collection. Comments from the public on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information help us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. Comments may be submitted regarding this information collection by the following method: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov, and in the lower ‘‘Search Regulations and Federal Actions’’ box, select ‘‘RBS’’ from the agency drop-down menu, then click ‘‘Submit.’’ In the Docket ID column, select Docket No. RBS–21–CO–OP–0011 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the site’s ‘‘User Tips’’ link. Comments on this information collection must be received by July 26, 2021. Copies of all forms, regulations, and instructions referenced in this NOFA may be obtained from RB–CS. Data furnished by the applicants will be used to determine eligibility for program benefits. Furnishing data is voluntary; however, failure to provide data could result in program benefits being withheld or denied. Comments are invited on (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 are to respond, including responding through the use of appropriate automated, electronical, mechanical, other technological collection techniques, or other forms of information technology. Title: Rural Development Cooperative Agreements. OMB Control Number: 0570–0074. Abstract: Pursuant to the Federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–127), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) received authorization from Congress under 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4) to enter into cooperative agreements for the purpose of improving the coordination and effectiveness of programs that benefit rural areas. This authority is referred to as the Rural Development Cooperative Agreement (RDCA) program. There are three agencies within USDA that administer programs that specifically target rural areas: The Rural BusinessCooperative Service (RB–CS), the Rural Housing Service (RHS), and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Each year, USDA receives proposals from the public that are not in response to a specific program announcement. These proposals are called unsolicited proposals. If a proposal is related to one or more programs, it will be routed to the appropriated RD agency for review and possible consideration for a cooperative agreement using the RDCA authority. If the proposal is unique or innovative, then RD has authority to enter into a cooperative agreement without competition (see 2 CFR 415.1(d)(6)). Alternatively, USDA may issue an invitation to submit applications for a cooperative agreement using the RDCA authority. These proposals are called solicited proposals. Solicited proposals would typically be announced via a Federal Register Notice. Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1.65 hours per response. Respondents: Regional consortia of higher education, academic health and research institutes, or economic development entities. Estimated Number of Respondents: 100. Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 10. Estimated Total Annual Burden and Record Keeping Hours on Respondents: 1,650 hours. Copies of this information collection can be obtained from MaryPat Daskal, Chief, Branch 1, Regulations Management Division, Rural Development Innovation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Independence Ave. SW, Stop 1522, Washington, DC 20250. Phone: 202– 720–7853. All responses to this information collection and recordkeeping notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. B. Nondiscrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA Programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027, found online at https:// www.usda.gov/oascr/how-to-file-aprogram-discrimination-complaint and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250– 9410; or Email: OAC@usda.gov. E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 101 / Thursday, May 27, 2021 / Notices USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Justin Maxson, Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Rural Development. [FR Doc. 2021–10963 Filed 5–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Current Population Survey, Basic Demographics The Department of Commerce will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, on or after the date of publication of this notice. We invite the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register on January 21, 2021, during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. Agency: U.S. Census Bureau. Title: Current Population Survey, Basic Demographics. OMB Control Number: 0607–0049. Form Number(s): None. Type of Request: Regular submission, Request for an Extension, without Change of a Currently Approved Collection. Number of Respondents: 708,000. Average Hours Per Response: 0.025. Burden Hours: 17,700. Needs and Uses: The demographic information collected in the CPS provides a unique set of data on selected characteristics for the civilian noninstitutional population. We use these data in conjunction with other data, particularly the monthly labor force data, as well as periodic supplement data. We also use these data independently for internal analytic research and for evaluation of other surveys. In addition, we need these data to correctly control estimates of other characteristics to the proper proportions of age, sex, race, and origin. In addition to the demographic questions are the questions needed to make contact with the household. This VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 May 26, 2021 Jkt 253001 include introductions, determining the correct respondent, and verifying the address. These questions are referred to as the ‘‘Front’’ questions. Also involved in maintaining contact with the household are the ‘‘Back’’ questions. These questions collect telephone numbers, best time to contact, and thank the respondent for their cooperation. These questions are needed to do the interview and maintain contact with the household throughout the survey. Affected Public: Individuals or households. Frequency: Monthly. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C. Sections 8(b), 141, and 182. This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view the Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be submitted within 30 days of the publication of this notice on the following website www.reginfo.gov/ public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function and entering either the title of the collection or the OMB Control Number 0607–0049. Sheleen Dumas, Department PRA Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2021–11273 Filed 5–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; the Standardized Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Office of the Secretary, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of information collection, request for comment. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28537 reporting burden. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment on the proposed extension of the standardized Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR), prior to the submission of the information collection request (ICR) to OMB for approval. DATES: To ensure consideration, comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before July 26, 2021. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by email to PRAcomments@doc.gov. Please reference the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) or the OMB Control Number 0690–0032 in the subject line of your comments. All comments received are part of the public record. No comments will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov for public viewing until after the comment period has closed. Comments will generally be posted without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or specific questions related to collection activities should be directed to Sheleen Dumas, Department PRA Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce, 202–482–3306, PRAcomments@doc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The Department of Commerce plans to request a three-year extension of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). This Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) directly benefits award recipients by making it easier for them to administer Federal grant and cooperative agreement programs through standardization of the types of information required in performance reports—thereby reducing their administrative effort and costs. The RPPR also makes it easier to compare the outputs, outcomes, etc. of research programs across the government. The RPPR resulted from an initiative of the Research Business Models (RBM) Subcommittee of the Committee on Science (CoS), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). One of the RBM Subcommittee’s priority areas is to create greater consistency in the E:\FR\FM\27MYN1.SGM 27MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 101 (Thursday, May 27, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28526-28537]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-10963]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

Rural Housing Service

Rural Utilities Service

[Docket No. RBS-21-CO-OP-0011]


Notice of Funds Availability for the Rural Placemaking Innovation 
Challenge (RPIC) for Fiscal Year 2021

AGENCY: Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), Rural Utilities 
Service (RUS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), USDA.

ACTION: Notice of funds availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) is 
seeking applications for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge 
(RPIC) from eligible entities to provide technical assistance and 
training to rural communities for placemaking planning and 
implementation. This funding opportunity will be administered by the 
USDA Rural Development Innovation Center and is authorized by the 
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021, to provide up to $3 million 
in competitive cooperative agreement funds. This announcement lists the 
information needed to submit an application.

DATES: Applications for RPIC cooperative agreement(s) must be submitted 
electronically through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time 
by July 26, 2021. Applications received after 11:59 p.m. Eastern 
Daylight Time on July 26, 2021 will not be considered.
    Comments related to the collection of information must be submitted 
by July 26, 2021. Follow directions provided in Section IX of this 
notice.

ADDRESSES: 
    Application Submission: The application system for electronic 
submissions will be available at https://www.grants.gov/.
    Electronic submissions: The electronic submission of an application 
will allow for the expeditious review of an applicant's proposal. As a 
result, all applicants must file their application electronically.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  USDA Rural Development, Innovation 
Center, via email at: [email protected], or via phone at: Angela Callie 
202-568-9738 or Greg Dale 202-568-9558. Persons with disabilities who 
require alternative means for communication should contact the U.S. 
Department of

[[Page 28527]]

Agriculture (USDA) Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice). The last 
day for accepting questions on this notice will be July 26, 2021.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Authority: This solicitation is issued pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 
2204b(b)(4).

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RB-CS), Rural 
Utilities Service (RUS), and Rural Housing Service (RHS), (USDA).
    Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge 
(RPIC).
    Announcement Type: Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA).
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: Rural 
Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC)--10.890.
    Due Date for Applications: Applications for RPIC cooperative 
agreement(s) must be received by 11:59 p.m. on July 26, 2021. 
Applications received after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 
26, 2021 will not be considered.

Items in Supplementary Information

I. Program Overview
II. Federal Award Information
III. Definitions
IV. Eligibility Information
V. Application and Submission Information
VI. Application Review Information
VII. Federal Award Administration Information
VIII. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
IX. Other Information

I. Program Overview

A. Background

    The Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge is a technical 
assistance and planning process for qualified entities to support rural 
community leaders to create places where people want to live, work, and 
play. This initiative is to provide planning support, technical 
assistance, and training to communities to foster placemaking 
activities in rural communities. Funds can help enhance capacity for 
broadband access, preserve cultural and historic structures, and 
support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational 
spaces. Applicants must demonstrate existing and proposed partnerships 
with public, private, philanthropic, and community partners to provide 
assistance. This funding announcement supports the delivery of 
technical assistance and training in visioning, planning, and assisting 
communities to implement placemaking efforts in rural communities under 
the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC).

B. Program Description

    RD is authorized to administer cooperative agreement awards in 
accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). The intention of RPIC is to 
provide cooperative agreement funding to eligible applicants working to 
promote public-private-philanthropic partnerships in rural communities 
that encourage economic and social development. These projects are 
intended to support rural America and align with the mission of 
existing USDA RD programs to increase rural economic growth and improve 
the quality of life in rural America by supporting essential services 
such as housing, economic development, and required infrastructure.
    For purposes of this notice, Technical Assistance and Training for 
Placemaking is defined in Part III.
    RPIC operates under the following concepts:
     Creating livable communities is important for community 
developers and practitioners who implement these strategies in rural 
communities and areas.
     Placemaking practices include both innovative and adaptive 
as well as established technical processes and solutions.
     Partnerships are a key element to the RPIC and must be 
developed with public, private, and philanthropic organizations 
creating new collaborative approaches, learning together, and bringing 
those learned strategies into rural communities.
     Placemaking contributes to long-term investment and 
therefore supports a community's resiliency, social stability, and 
collective identity.
     Broadband is an essential component to supporting 
placemaking initiatives.
    For the purpose of this notice, placemaking is the process of 
creating quality places where people want to live, work, and play. 
Ultimately, the goal is to create greater social and cultural vitality 
in rural communities aimed at improving people's social, physical, and 
economic well-being. The key elements of quality places include, but 
are not limited to, a mix of uses; effective public spaces; broadband 
capability; transportation options; multiple housing options; 
preservation of historic structure; and respect of community heritage, 
arts, culture, creativity, recreation, and green space.
    Throughout the placemaking process applicants are expected to 
involve public, private, philanthropic, and community partners; this 
work is to be based on a sense of place with qualitative and 
quantitative outcomes.

II. Federal Award Information

A. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.890.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Title: Rural 
Placemaking Innovation Challenge.

B. Funds Available

    The amount available for RPIC FY 2021 is up to $3 million. Lead 
applicants may not submit more than one application but may identify 
more than one community with which they are providing placemaking 
assistance. The maximum award amount for any one applicant is $250,000. 
RD reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if no 
application receives a minimum score of at least 60 points. There is no 
commitment by USDA to fund any application that does not achieve the 
minimum score.
    This funding opportunity lists the information needed to apply for 
these funds and announces that RD is accepting FY 2021 applications to 
support RPIC.

C. Approximate Number of Awards

    The Agency anticipates that it may select one, multiple, or no 
award recipients from this funding opportunity. Applicants may not 
submit more than one application.

D. Type of Instrument

    RD is authorized to administer cooperative agreement awards in 
accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4) for the Rural Placemaking 
Innovation Challenge.

E. Period of Performance

    The maximum Period of Performance is 2 years. Applicants should 
anticipate a Period of Performance beginning October 1, 2021 and ending 
no later than September 30, 2023.

III. Definitions

    The terms and conditions provided in this Notice of Funds 
Availability (NOFA) are applicable to and for the purposes of this NOFA 
only. Unless otherwise provided in the award documents, all financial 
terms not defined herein shall have the meaning as defined by Generally 
Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
    Capacity (for eligibility) is defined as previous experience with 
federal grant administration and demonstrated experience in economic 
development and placemaking technical assistance.
    Cooperative Agreement Elements mean the cooperative agreements to 
be funded through RPIC directly support Rural Development's goals of 
increasing

[[Page 28528]]

rural economic growth. As part of the placemaking planning process, 
required infrastructure, community facilities, housing and/or business 
development to support the ultimate placemaking goal are documented. In 
addition, existing assets that can be leveraged in support of a 
placemaking vision are evaluated, and funding strategies and sources to 
enhance or construct new assets are identified. Cooperators are 
expected to have expertise in placemaking and partnerships that will 
enable a rural community, area, or region to ultimately implement a 
placemaking strategy and improve the quality of life for its citizens.
    Multi-jurisdictional means more than one jurisdiction where 
jurisdiction refers to a unit of government or other entity with 
similar powers, such as a city, county, district, special purpose 
district, township, town, borough, parish, village, state, Indian 
tribe, etc.
    Multi-sectoral means intentional collaboration between two or more 
sectors (e.g., utility, health, housing, community services, etc.) to 
accomplish goals and achieve outcomes in communities and regions.
    Placemaking means a process involving public, private, 
philanthropic and community partners working together to strategically 
improve the social, cultural, and economic structure of a community. 
This work is based on a sense of place with qualitative and 
quantitative outcomes.
    Placemaking Plan means a written document that describes the 
strategic plan for the community to implement the goals and objectives 
identified through the placemaking planning process.
    Quality of life means a measure of human well-being that can be 
identified though economic and social indicators. Modern utilities, 
affordable housing, efficient transportation, and reliable employment 
are economic indicators that must be integrated with social indicators 
such as access to medical services, public safety, education, and 
community resilience to empower rural communities to thrive.
    Region (Four Regions) means:
     The Northeast includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, 
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
     The Midwest includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, 
Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, 
Nebraska, and Kansas.
     The South includes Kentucky, North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, 
Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Oklahoma.
     The West includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New 
Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, 
Hawaii, and U.S. Pacific Island Territories.
    Rural area means the Rural Business Service's Rural Area definition 
as outlined in Section 343(a)(13)(A)(i) of the Agricultural Act of 1961 
& Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act which defines ``rural 
area'' as any area other than (1) a city or town that has a population 
of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and (2) any urbanized area 
contiguous and adjacent to such city or town described in subparagraph 
(1) above.
    Sector means stakeholders from areas such as business, health, 
education, and/or workforce; or from organization types such as public, 
private, non-profit, and/or philanthropy.
    Technical Assistance and Training for Placemaking means the 
applicant participates in the complete process for the delivery of 
placemaking planning and implementation in partnership with identified 
rural communities. The support provided may include, but is not limited 
to:
     Evidence-based understanding of community assets, 
challenges, and opportunities,
     A description of the distinct qualities of the community--
both positive and negative,
     A vision statement that summarizes the most important 
outcomes that the community wants to see achieved,
     A statement of values that identifies the principles that 
leaders and stakeholders should use in determining strategies, and
     Evidence of broad community participation, public input, 
and buy-in.
    Commonly used Acronyms:

DCI Distressed Communities Index
DUNS Data Universal Numbering System
FY Fiscal Year
HBCU Historically Black Colleges and Universities
LOC Letter of Conditions
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NICRA Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement
RD Rural Development
RDCA Rural Development Cooperative Agreement
RPIC Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge
SAM System for Award Management
SBA Small Business Administration
USDA United States Department of Agriculture
CFR Code of Federal Regulation
SPOC Single Point of Contact

IV. Eligibility Information

A. Applicants

    Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements by the 
application deadline. Applications that fail to meet any of these 
requirements by the application deadline will be deemed ineligible and 
will not be evaluated further and will not receive a Federal award.
    Applicant Eligibility: Federally recognized Tribes and Native 
American Tribal Organizations; institutions of higher education 
(including 1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 
1994 Land-Grant Institutions, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)); nonprofit 
organizations with 501(c)(3) IRS status; public bodies or small private 
entities meeting the size standards established by the U.S. Small 
Business Administration (SBA).
    All eligible applicants must demonstrate the capacity to deliver 
and support rural placemaking planning activities within at least one 
of the four regions found in Part III. Capacity is defined as previous 
experience with federal grant administration and demonstrated 
experience in economic development and placemaking technical 
assistance.
    Entities are not eligible if they have been debarred or suspended 
or otherwise excluded from, or ineligible for, participation in Federal 
assistance programs under 2 CFR parts 180 and 417. In addition, an 
applicant will be considered ineligible for a cooperative agreement due 
to an outstanding judgment obtained by the U.S. in a Federal Court 
(other than U.S. Tax Court) or if the applicant is delinquent on the 
payment of Federal income taxes or Federal debt.

B. Eligible Project

    The proposed project must include a component that allows for 
active participation by the Cooperator and substantial involvement by 
RD in the majority of specified tasks outlined in the applicant's 
project proposal. Examples of measurable substantial involvement 
include, but are not limited to, the following: Joint convenings of 
community members, partners, and stakeholders; joint delivery of 
training for RD programs; and the development of training sessions and 
outreach materials. It is the intent of this project

[[Page 28529]]

to engage RD staff in the placemaking process, and it is the 
responsibility of the applicant to identify specific tasks where RD 
staff can provide measurable, substantial involvement in the project. 
If such tasks are not identified, the application will not be eligible 
for funding.
    The project must also directly benefit a rural area. All ultimate 
beneficiaries and/or subrecipients must be located in rural areas, and 
any activities or tasks must occur in rural areas.
    Duplication of services is not allowed. Applicants must demonstrate 
that they are providing services either to new customers or new 
services to current customers. If the applicant's workplan and budget 
are duplicative of a previous and/or existing RPIC award, the 
application will not be considered for funding. RD will make this 
determination.

C. Cost Sharing and Matching Funds Verification

    (1) A minimum 15 percent match of the federal grant amount 
requested for the cooperative agreement award is required for all 
applications. Matching commitments may be made in cash by the applying 
organization, or a combination of cash and confirmed funding 
commitments with third-party in-kind contributions as defined in 2 CFR 
200.96. This minimum match of at least 15 percent of the federal amount 
requested must be committed for a period of not less than the 
cooperative agreement performance period. Cost sharing/matching must be 
committed at the time of application submission.
    (2) Applicants may recruit one or more private, philanthropic, and/
or eligible public partner(s) to provide the matching fifteen percent 
15 percent (in cash and/or in-kind contributions) of the applicant's 
proposed federal funding request (i.e., the federal grant amount 
requested), or the applicant can provide the full match as their own 
CASH contribution. It is permissible to provide a combination of third 
party in-kind contribution (as defined in 2 CFR 200.96) from a partner 
and CASH contribution from the applicant, but it is not permissible for 
the applicant to provide their own in-kind contribution as part of the 
match combination. If the applicant is going to provide their own match 
contribution, that match must be documented as a CASH contribution.
    (3) Verification of Matching Funds: The Matching Funds Letter must 
be signed by the donating organization's authorized representative on 
the organization's letterhead and must identify the amount of matching 
funds or in-kind services/goods, the time period during which matching 
contribution will be available, and the source of the funds, as 
applicable (e.g., cash on hand, etc.).
     If providing an in-kind match, the third-party contributor 
must provide details on how those in-kind sources will be identified 
and tracked by the contributor.
     The contributor must also attach/stipulate the value of 
each of the goods or services (including the indirect/direct costs) 
being offered.
     If using calculated hours for estimating any in-kind 
service, the contributor must also provide how the value was arrived at 
for calculating the total cost for the in-kind match and associated 
personnel, as applicable.
    Additional details about cost sharing or matching funds/
contributions are located at 2 CFR 200.306. Applicant matching funds 
must be included in the budget justification. For matching funds 
offered by project partners, a separate Matching Funds Letter is 
required for each cash and/or in-kind match contribution. Matching 
Funds Letters must be signed by the authorized organizational 
representative of the contributing organization and the applicant 
organization, which must include:
     The name, address, and telephone number of the 
contributor,
     the name of the applicant organization,
     the title of the project for which the contribution is 
made,
     the dollar amount of the contribution, and
     a statement that the contributor commits to furnish the 
contribution during the cooperative agreement period.
    Applications without signed written commitments are deemed 
incomplete and will be ineligible. The value of applicant contributions 
to the project is established according to Federal cost principles. 
Applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.306 for additional guidance on 
matching funds, in-kind contributions, and allowable costs.

D. Funding Restrictions

    The following funding restrictions also apply to this program:
    (1) Pre-award costs are not authorized.
    (2) Use of Funds. Awards funds should be calculated based on the 
federal amount requested by the applicant. A minimum of 15 percent 
match is required per Part IV. Section C.
    (3) Indirect Cost Rate. The indirect cost rate is limited to 10 
percent of direct charges for all nonprofit institutions, including 
institutions of higher education. All other organizations must use the 
rate identified in their NICRA. If you do not have a NICRA, you may 
elect to charge only direct costs to the award. If you have never had a 
NICRA, you may also choose to use a de minimis rate of 10 percent of 
modified total direct costs in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414(f). Your 
indirect cost rate must be included on Form SF-424A.
    (4) The applicant may not use their administrative overhead or 
indirect costs as any part of their matching funds contribution. Using 
an indirect cost rate or administrative overhead for a matching fund 
contribution will be deemed as an ineligible use of funds for the 
cooperative agreement.
    (5) Program Income. If you expect to earn Program Income during the 
Period of Performance, you must identify the amount and how you expect 
to use it (e.g., matching funds) in your application. If your 
application is funded, unexpected Program Income or Program Income 
earned in excess of the amount you identify in your application will be 
deducted from the Federal share of the project in accordance with 2 CFR 
200.307(e)(1).

E. Ineligible Project Costs

    In addition to costs identified as unallowable by 2 CFR part 200 or 
400, the following costs are prohibited for this program. Neither award 
funds nor matching funds can be used to pay for the following types of 
expenses (this is not a comprehensive list of unallowable costs, see 2 
CFR part 200).
    (1) Construction (in any form).
    (2) Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients.
    (3) Grants to individuals.
    (4) Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or 
an appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the 
Agency.
    (5) Purchasing real estate.
    (6) Using cooperative agreement assistance or matching funds for 
individual development accounts.
    (7) Purchasing vehicles.
    (8) To pay an outstanding judgment obtained by the United States in 
a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax court), which has 
been recorded. An applicant will be ineligible to receive an award 
until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied.

V. Application and Submission Information

A. Electronic Application and Submission

    Applications must be submitted electronically using Grants.gov. No 
other form of application will be

[[Page 28530]]

accepted. Application and supporting materials are available at 
Grants.gov. Your application must contain all required information.
    To apply electronically, you must follow the instructions for this 
funding announcement at Grants.gov. Please note that we will not accept 
applications through mail or courier delivery, in-person delivery, 
email, or fax.
    You can locate the Grants.gov downloadable application package for 
this program by using a keyword, the program name, or the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance Number for this program.
    When you enter the Grants.gov website, you will find information 
about applying electronically through the site as well as the hours of 
operation.
    To use Grants.gov, you must already have a Data Universal Number 
System (DUNS) number and you must also be registered and maintain 
registration in the System for Award Management (SAM). We strongly 
recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to 
begin the application process through Grants.gov.
    RD is not responsible for any technical malfunction or website 
problems related to Grants.gov. If issues are encountered with 
Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov help desk at (800) 518-4726 
or [email protected]. The applicant assumes the risk of any delays in 
application submission through Grants.gov.
    Submitting an application through Grants.gov requires completing a 
variety of tasks and steps. There are also several preliminary 
registration steps before the applicant can submit the application. It 
is recommended that the instructions for registering be reviewed as 
soon as possible but at least two weeks before the planned application 
submission date.
    You must submit all application documents electronically through 
Grants.gov. Applications must include electronic signatures. Original 
signatures may be required if funds are awarded.
    After applying electronically through Grants.gov, you will receive 
an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov 
tracking number.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission

    For an application to be considered complete, the applicant must 
complete and submit the forms contained in this section in addition to 
the written narrative proposal information in Part VI.
    (1) Applicants must complete and submit the following forms to 
apply for an RPIC cooperative agreement:
    (a) Standard Form 424, ``Application for Federal Assistance--Non-
construction.''
    (b) Standard Form 424A, ``Budget Information--Non-Construction 
Programs.''
    (c) Standard Form 424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.''
    (d) Risk Review: RD may request additional documentation from 
selected applicants in order to evaluate the financial, management, and 
performance risk posed by awardees as required by 2 CFR 200.205. Based 
on this risk review, RD may apply special conditions that correspond to 
the degree of risk assessed.
    (e) Civil Rights Compliance Requirements: All awards made under 
this notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as 
required by 7 CFR part 15, subpart A, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation 
Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the 
Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
    (f) Execute Form RD 400-1 ``Equal Opportunity Agreement.''
    (g) National Environmental Policy Act: This notice has been 
reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, ``Environmental Policies 
and Procedures.'' We have determined that an Environmental Impact 
Statement is not required because the issuance of regulations and 
instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative 
and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing 
the Agency's financial programs is categorically excluded in the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation found at 7 CFR 
1970.53(f). It has been determined that this Funding opportunity does 
not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
quality of the human environment.
    (2) All applications shall be accompanied by the following 
supporting documentation in concise written narrative form:
    Content and Format--Each page must be on numbered, letter-sized 
(8\1/2\ x 11) paper utilizing a white background that has 1'' margins, 
and the text of the application must be typed, single spaced, black, 
and in a font no smaller than 12 point.
    Written Proposal--The written proposal should be assembled into one 
or more .pdf file(s) and should conform to the order in which the 
Evaluation Criteria are presented in Part VI Section B. The completed 
.pdf file(s) should be uploaded into Grants.gov as an attachment to the 
application. The maximum limit for the written narrative section is 25 
pages. Information exceeding 25 pages for the written narrative may not 
be considered for evaluation by the scoring panel.

C. DUNS Number and SAM

    To be eligible (unless you are excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(b), (c) 
or (d)), you are required to do the following:
    (1) Provide a valid DUNS number in your application. The DUNS 
number can be obtained at no cost via a toll-free request line at (866) 
705-5711;
    (2) Register in SAM before submitting your application. You may 
register in SAM at no cost at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. 
You must provide your SAM CAGE Code and expiration date. When 
registering in SAM, you must indicate you are applying for a federal 
financial assistance project or program or are currently the recipient 
of funding under any federal financial assistance project or program; 
and
    (3) Maintain active and current SAM registration. The SAM 
registration must remain active with current information at all times 
while the Agency is considering an application or while a federal 
grant/cooperative agreement award or loan is active. To maintain the 
registration in the SAM database, the applicant must review and update 
the information in the SAM database annually from date of initial 
registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must 
ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and 
complete. Applicants must ensure they complete the Financial Assistance 
General Certifications and Representations in SAM.
    If you have not fully complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM 
requirements, the Agency may determine that the applicant is not 
qualified to receive a federal award, and the Agency may use that 
determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant. In 
accordance with OMB Memoranda M-20-26, the Agency can accept an 
application without an active SAM registration. However, the 
registration must be completed before an award is made. For current 
registrants in SAM, to help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day 
extension for SAM.gov registrations that have expiration dates ranging 
between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. This effort is intended 
as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that time 
frame. Each entity registration will have 180 days added to its

[[Page 28531]]

expiration date. As an example, an entity that is set to expire on 
April 1, 2021 will be automatically granted an extension to September 
28, 2021.

D. Submission Dates and Times

    In order to be considered for funds under this notice, applications 
must be deemed complete and must be received by Grants.gov by the 
deadline specified in the DATES section of this notice.

E. Intergovernmental Review

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs, applies to this program. This E.O. requires that federal 
agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance 
with state and local governments. Many states have established a Single 
Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. For a list of 
states that maintain a SPOC, please see the White House website: 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SPOC-4-13-20.pdf.
    If your state has a SPOC, you may submit a copy of the application 
directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be 
provided to your State Office for consideration as part of your 
application. If your state has not established a SPOC, or if you do not 
want to submit a copy of the application, our State Offices will submit 
your application to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies. 
Indian tribes are exempt from this requirement.

F. Compliance With Other Federal Statutes and Other Submission 
Requirements

    (1) Other Federal Statutes. The applicant must certify to 
compliance with other Federal Statutes and regulations by completing 
the Financial Assistance General Certification and Representations in 
SAM, including, but not limited to the following:
    (a) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A--Nondiscrimination in Federally 
Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture--Effectuation of 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Civil Rights compliance 
includes, but is not limited to the following:
    (i) Collect and maintain data provided by ultimate recipients on 
race, sex, and national origin and ensure that ultimate recipients 
collect and maintain this data;
    (ii) Race and ethnicity data will be collected in accordance with 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Register Notice, 
``Revisions of the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on 
Race and Ethnicity'' (published October 30, 1997 at 62 FR 58782). Sex 
data will be collected in accordance with Title IX of the Education 
Amendments of 1972. These items should not be submitted with the 
application but should be available upon request by RUS; and
    (b) The applicant and the ultimate recipient must comply with Title 
VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education 
Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 
1975, Executive Order 12250, and 7 CFR part 1901, subpart E;
    (c) 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, 
Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards), or any 
successor regulations;
    (d) Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to Services for 
Persons with Limited English Proficiency.'' For information on limited 
English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to https://www.lep.gov/; and
    (e) Federal Obligation Certification on Delinquent Debt.

VI. Application Review Information

A. General

    The projects should address how existing assets can be leveraged in 
support of a placemaking vision and how the projects will be evaluated 
(e.g., how projects are evaluated for funding strategies and sources, 
construction of new assets to be identified in the planning process). 
Awardees will be Cooperators and are required to participate 
substantially in the project alongside RD staff to bring expertise in 
placemaking technical assistance, to bring partnerships that will 
enable a rural community, area or region to ultimately implement a 
placemaking strategy, and to improve the quality of life for its 
citizens.
    Applicants are expected to provide proposals under this notice that 
include cooperation through substantial and measurable involvement by 
both the Cooperator and USDA Rural Development staff. Proposals will 
support multi-sectoral or multi-jurisdictional projects in rural 
communities and demonstrate how placemaking technical assistance will 
be provided to develop implementation plans that can be aligned with 
the mission of USDA Rural Development to improve quality of life and 
economic growth. The proposal must provide a detailed description of 
(i) the area to be served and (ii) how such area fits the definition of 
a region, multi-sectoral, or multi-jurisdictional rural area. Funding 
will be prioritized to ensure geographic diversity, so there will be at 
least one proposal awarded per Region, as defined in Part III. 
Applicants must identify which Region or Regions are included in their 
proposal. If applicants propose to serve more than one Region, they 
must also identify a primary Region.
    Applicants for RPIC should be prepared to develop, be in the 
process of developing, or have developed a placemaking plan in 
partnership with public, private, or philanthropic partners with the 
focus on local or regional revitalization towards economic vitality and 
quality of life impacts. The plans should identify potential projects 
that can be funded through RD programs and other federal, state, local 
or private sector resources. Placemaking plans developed through this 
funding opportunity should focus on one or more of the Quality of Life 
indicators as defined in Part III.
    Applicants are expected to submit placemaking proposals under this 
notice that include multi-sectoral or multi-jurisdictional planning 
partnerships within at least one Region (as defined in Part III) that 
will provide measurable results in helping rural communities create 
greater social and cultural vitality in rural communities. RPIC 
projects should also support rural communities' ability to qualify for 
priority funding under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act, ``Strategic economic and community development,'' [7 
U.S.C. 2008].
    For the purpose of RPIC, rural placemaking is: (1) Rooted in 
emphasizing partnerships and collaboration among multiple public, 
private, philanthropic and community partners; (2) focused on combining 
federal, tribal, state, and local resources to make wide-ranging 
quality-of-life impacts as opposed to separate, piecemeal, incremental 
improvements; and (3) based on placemaking processes to create quality 
places where people want to live, work, and play. Ultimately, the goal 
is to create greater social and cultural vitality in rural communities. 
The key elements of quality places include, but are not limited to, a 
mix of uses; effective public spaces; broadband capability; 
transportation options; multiple housing options; disposition and 
rehabilitation of vacant structures; preservation of historic 
properties; and respect of community heritage, arts, culture, 
creativity, recreation, and green space.
    Applications will first be reviewed to determine if they meet the 
eligibility requirements and compliance with the

[[Page 28532]]

funding restrictions in this notice. If we determine that your 
application is ineligible, we will discontinue processing it, which 
means that we will not evaluate it further nor provide any scoring 
information. If your application is determined to be eligible, we will 
further evaluate it based on the scoring criteria listed in Part VI, 
Section B. All applications will be competitively scored and ranked. 
The minimum score requirement for a cooperative agreement award under 
this funding opportunity is 60 points.
    Additionally, the applications will be reviewed for completeness. 
For an application to be considered complete, the applicant must 
complete and submit the written narrative proposal information and the 
forms contained in Parts V and VI in this NOFA. If we determine that 
your application is not complete, we will discontinue processing it, 
which means that we will not evaluate it further nor provide any 
scoring information.

B. Scoring Process

    (1) Number of Awards: The Agency anticipates that it may select 
one, multiple, or no award recipients from this funding opportunity. 
The Agency reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if 
no application receives a minimum score of at least 60 points.
    (2) Evaluation Criteria: (refer to Summary Table of Evaluation 
Criteria).
    Proposed projects will be evaluated based only on information 
provided in the application. Points will be given only for factors that 
are well documented in the application package and, in the opinion of 
RD, meet the objectives outlined in each of the evaluation criteria. 
References to websites or publications will not be reviewed. Full 
documentation and support of application criteria is encouraged.
    (3) The entire written narrative proposal includes the following 
sections in this order:
    (a) Executive Summary--Provide the applicant entity name, duration 
of project (in months), amount of Federal funding requested, amount of 
non-Federal cost-share/match funding committed, and project title. 
Identify geographic locations (including the primary region in which 
the applicant determines where the most significant work takes place) 
and describe, in non-technical language, the placemaking approach to be 
used including the objectives and strategies to be utilized; the 
public, private, and philanthropic partnerships developed or to be 
developed; the approach to be employed (including the role of 
participating partners); how impact will be quantified; and the 
predicted benefits or deliverables of the project(s). Briefly describe 
applicant's past experience in federal grant administration, economic 
development, and specific placemaking technical assistance.
    (b) Work Plan--Soundness of Approach (0-30 points). The applicant 
can receive up to 30 points for soundness of placemaking approach in 
their work plan. The maximum 30 points for this criterion will be based 
on the following:
    (i) Work Plan Approach--project objectives/background/tasks with 
timeline and timeframes (0-10 Points)
     Project Objective(s): Description of objective(s)--clearly 
defined.
     Project Background: Description of the types and general 
locations of rural communities to be served through this project--
Geographic Location or Project Areas (include Region description).
     Describe project area(s) as multi-sectoral or multi-
jurisdictional. Applicant must include their ability to support rural 
planning activities on a multi-sectoral or multi-jurisdictional basis 
and how they will effectively serve these communities based on key 
personnel, established timeframes, and budget.
     Project Key Tasks with Timeline and Timeframes:

--Applicants are required to include Work Plan Chart(s) that lists 
major task(s) by key personnel involved, time period of the task(s), 
substantial involvement of RD staff, expected deliverables, and budget 
associated with tasks.
--Applicants may provide timelines to demonstrate how the technical 
assistance will be delivered to rural communities and describe any 
supporting innovative and/or traditional placemaking approaches 
associated to tasks.

    (ii) Implementation of Workplan--Planning through the 
Implementation Phase (0-10 points)
     Project Implementation:
    Applicant should include details on how the technical assistance 
will be provided for the placemaking planning process and how it will 
coach/mentor the community to bring the plan to full implementation.
    (iii) Alignment of Budget/Budget Justification to Workplan (0-10 
points)
     Detailed Budget Justification should align with the tasks 
detailed in the workplan. Discuss how the budget specifically supports 
the proposed activities discussed in the Project Key Tasks (as 
described above). Justify project costs including personnel and any 
limited consultant salaries with description of duties. The budget 
justification should include both the Federal funds requested and the 
applicant's matching funds. The format of the budget's narrative can be 
in a chart, spreadsheet, table, etc., but it should be readable on 
letter-size, printable pages. The information needs to be presented in 
such a way that the reviewers can readily understand what expenses are 
incurred to support the project. Statement(s) of work for any 
subcontractors and consultants must be included as part of the 
application. (Note: Consultants and subcontracts must only be used on a 
very limited basis. The majority of the primary work under the 
cooperative agreement MUST be performed by the applicant).
    (c) Organizational Capacity & Qualifications (0-20 points). The 
applicant can receive up to 20 points based on organizational capacity 
and qualifications. The maximum 20 points for this criterion will be 
based on the following:
    (i) The applicant should specify years of experience in placemaking 
activities, types of communities previously served, and experience in 
performance evaluation. (0-10 points)
    (ii) The applicant's proposal should demonstrate that the applicant 
has identified appropriate key personnel, both in terms of number of 
personnel and qualifications of personnel and should provide specific 
detail of qualifications of key personnel relating to placemaking. 
Capacity of personnel to access data for needs assessments and access 
to planners and other technical experts will be evaluated. (0-10 
points)
    (d) Partnerships (0-20 points). The applicant can receive up to 20 
points for quantity and quality of the applicant's existing public, 
private, and philanthropic partnerships and proposed new partnerships 
for this effort. The applicant should demonstrate their ability to 
leverage new partners that have had limited engagement with RD projects 
or priorities to leverage resources, enhance technical assistance, and/
or increase reach to target areas. The maximum 20 points for this 
criterion will be based on the following:
    (i) The applicant should provide a list of potential partners, 
existing or new, who might commit to the project as well as a 
description of the sectors they represent (i.e., public, private, 
philanthropic). (0-10 points)
    (ii) The applicant should describe how they will engage with new 
and existing partners to support the project

[[Page 28533]]

as well as how they can leverage partner resources. (0-10 points)
    (e) Targeted Impacts (0-20 points). The applicant can receive up to 
20 points for focusing on either or both of the following Targeted 
Impacts:
    (i) Economically Distressed Communities. The applicant should 
describe how the proposal will address specific socioeconomic 
indicator(s) and the strategies to be utilized. The Distressed 
Communities Index (DCI) is considered a good tool for identifying 
economically distressed communities. (https://ruraldevelopment.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=06a26a91d074426d944d22715a90311e)
    (A) Describe how the applicant plans to address Economically 
Distressed Communities in its placemaking strategies/activities. What 
specific actions will be taken, and how do these proposed actions 
impact Economically Distressed Communities?
    (B) What community data does the applicant plan to use to provide 
foundational context to its placemaking efforts?
    (C) What measurable outcomes related to Economically Distressed 
Communities does the applicant plan to track? How will the applicant 
know if its efforts are making progress toward addressing Economically 
Distressed Communities and achieving desired outcomes?
    (ii) Broadband Planning for Infrastructure, Deployment, and/or 
Access.
    (A) The applicant should propose how the project will create 
planning or other broadband infrastructure and/or e-connectivity 
opportunities within targeted areas. Describe how the applicant's 
proposal will help communities plan for broadband infrastructure around 
the USDA-RD ReConnect Program (provided that community is eligible for 
that program); or
    (B) If the community(ies) the applicant is supporting already has a 
ReConnect funded project, describe how the applicant's proposal will 
provide follow-up and support for future broadband development or 
deployment; or
    (C) If the community(ies) the applicant is supporting is not a 
participant in the ReConnect Program, describe how the applicant will 
work with stakeholders to address barriers to broadband development and 
deployment, or broadband access or e-connectivity.
    When addressing this section, after answering (A), (B) or (C) also 
address:
     What community data does the applicant plan to use to 
provide foundational context to its placemaking efforts?
     What measurable outcomes related to broadband and e-
connectivity does the applicant plan to track. How will the applicant 
know if its efforts are making progress toward addressing broadband and 
e-connectivity in its community and achieving desired outcomes?
    (f) Performance Measures (0-10 points). The applicant can receive 
up to 10 points based on the proposed performance measures to evaluate 
the progress and impact of the proposed project.
    The criterion will be based on the applicant's proposal and should 
include a description for how the results of the technical assistance 
will be measured, including the quality of life indicators (set forth 
in Part III) and the benchmarks to be used for measuring effectiveness. 
Indicators to be used should be specific and be quantifiable. (0-10 
points)
    (g) Optional Innovation Seed Grant (0-5 or 0-10 points) To foster 
public, private, and philanthropic engagement, not only through RPIC 
but for the community itself, the Innovation Seed Grant must be matched 
by no less than 50% match with additional external funding to support 
the community's project. The external funds can be from public, 
private, philanthropic, or other federal, state, and local partners. 
There are two ways to be scored based on how an applicant plans to 
implement the Innovation Seed Grant: The applicant could receive either 
up to 0-5 points, or up to 10 points. Note that Cooperators that 
implement seed grants as a part of their proposal will be subject to 
the relevant subaward/subrecipient components from 2 CFR part 200.
    (i) Option 1--0 to 5 points Innovation Seed Grant:
     Applicants may receive up to 5 points in scoring if their 
proposal and budget provide for a system of funding an Innovation Seed 
Grant. The seed grants are to be utilized to fund a new and innovative 
project that is highlighted in the placemaking plan. These seed grants 
are considered small financial awards for the purpose of getting a 
specific project implemented in the plan. The applicant can set aside, 
from the applicant's award, funds for an Innovation Seed Grant. The 
maximum RPIC funds that can be set-aside for this purpose is 10 
percent.
     Individual Innovation Seed Grants may be no more than 
$5,000 from RPIC funds, to an ultimate recipient in a community or for 
an entity applying for the grant. The seed grant must have matching 
funds of at least 50 percent from public, private, or philanthropic 
support; however, the applicant may have contributions from 
partnerships in excess of the minimum 50 percent match requirement.

OR

    (ii) Option 2--0 to 10 points Innovation Seed Grant:
     Applicants may receive up to 10 points in scoring if their 
proposal and budget provide for a system of funding an Innovation Seed 
Grant that funds a new and innovative project that is highlighted in 
the placemaking plan and focuses on one of the Targeted Impacts listed 
in Part VI, Section B (e)(Targeted Impacts). The system should describe 
how the seed grant promotes and connects to the Targeted Impacts. These 
seed grants are considered small financial awards for the purpose of 
getting a specific project implemented. The applicant can set aside, 
from the applicant's award, funds for an Innovation Seed Grant. The 
maximum RPIC funds that can be set-aside for this purpose is 10 
percent.
     Individual Seed Grants may be no more than $5,000 from 
RPIC funds, to an ultimate recipient in a community or for an entity 
applying for the grant. The Seed Grant must have matching funds of at 
least 50 percent from public, private, or philanthropic support; 
however, the applicant may have contributions from partnerships in 
excess of the minimum 50 percent match requirement.
    (iii) Scoring the Innovation Seed Grant:
     The applicant should provide a brief narrative of how the 
Innovation Seed Grant will be developed, administered, and implemented.
     It is expected that the Cooperators, in collaboration with 
the communities
    they are serving, will develop criterion for evaluating the 
Innovation Seed Grant for approval by a Seed Grant Committee. For 
evaluation of these criterion, applicants may provide sample criterion 
on how Seed Grants could be evaluated for:

--Innovation,
--Whether the project has been highlighted in the Placemaking Plan, and
--The probability of success and sustainability with identified 
outcomes to be achieved.

     The applicant MUST provide documentation of third-party 
matching funds contribution. These matching funds are separate from the 
verified matched funds required for the RPIC application. The Matching 
Funds Letter for the seed grants MUST specifically state that the funds 
are being allocated to the Innovation Seed Grant. The letter

[[Page 28534]]

may be conditioned to the applicant receiving the award. (Failing to 
provide verification of match disqualifies the applicant from this 
optional scoring criteria).
    (h) Agency Discretionary Points (0-10 points): The Agency may, in 
individual cases, make an exception to any requirement or provision of 
this notice, which is determined to be in the Government's interest. 
The applicant does not need to provide additional information under 
this category. Information in the applicant's proposal will be used to 
score this category, if applicable.
    The Agency may choose to award points to eligible applicants who 
have never previously been awarded an RPIC cooperative agreement. The 
Agency may also choose to award up to 10 points to an application that 
addresses any of the following factors: geographic, demographic, 
economic diversity of awardees.
    (i) Verification of Matching Funds. The applicant must include 
Matching Commitment Letters signed by the donating organization's 
authorized representative on the organization's letterhead that 
identifies the amount of matching funds or in-kind services, the time 
period during which matching funds will be available, and the source of 
the funds (e.g., cash on hand). See Part IV, Section C (Cost Sharing 
and Matching Funds Verification) for more information. If participating 
in the Optional Innovation Seed Grant, the applicant must submit 
separate Matching Funds Commitment Letters that specifically annotate 
that funds are allocated to the Innovation Seed Grant. The funds are a 
cash commitment to the seed grant.
    (j) Letters of Support (e.g., additional resource commitment from 
partners);
    (k) Appendix--Graphics, References, Citations, Negotiated Indirect 
Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) if applicable, etc. (Note: material added 
in this section may not be evaluated as part of the competitive scoring 
process).

                  Summary Table of Evaluation Criteria
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Criteria                              Points
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Work Plan/Soundness of Approach...  0-30 points.
    a. Work Plan Approach-project      Up to 10 points.
     objectives/background/tasks with
     timeline and timeframes.
    b. Implementation of workplan....  Up to 10 points.
    c. Alignment of budget/budget      Up to 10 points.
     justification.
2. Organizational Capacity/            0-20 points
 Qualifications.
    a. Years of experience and         Up to 10 points.
     processes employed in
     placemaking activities.
    b. Key personnel/number and        Up to 10 points.
     qualifications relating to
     placemaking--access to data for
     needs assessments.
3. Partnerships......................  0-20 points.
    a. Extent of existing              0-10.
     partnerships (# of partners/
     public, private, philanthropic
     partners).
    b. Value that partnerships will    0-10.
     bring to placemaking project,
     including existing partners and
     leveraging new partners for the
     proposed project.
4. Targeted Impacts..................  0-20 points.
     Economically Distressed
     Communities.
     Broadband Planning for
     Infrastructure/Deployment/Access.
5. Performance Measures..............  0-10 points.
    Measures used for evaluating       Up to 10 points.
     quality of life indicators and
     benchmarks used for measuring
     effectiveness.
Optional Innovation Seed Grant.......  0-10 points.
    Option 1--Innovation Seed Grant--  Up to 5 points or
     offering seed grants for new and
     innovative projects highlighted
     in the Placemaking Plan; or.
    Option 2--Innovation Seed Grant--  Up to 10 points.
     offering seed grants for new and
     innovative projects highlighted
     in the Placemaking Plan that
     specifically address one or more
     of the Targeted Impact
     priorities.
Agency Discretionary Points (Note:     0-10 points.
 Applicant does not need to provide
 additional information for this
 category)..
------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Review and Selection Process

    (1) Incomplete or ineligible applications. Applications that are 
incomplete or ineligible will not be considered for funding (Reference 
Part V and Part VI).
    (2) The Reviewers. All eligible applications will be evaluated by 
an Application Review Panel using the criteria described in Part VI of 
this notice. Panel members will be appointed by RD and will be 
qualified to evaluate the applications based on the type of work 
proposed by the applicant.
    (3) Selection of Qualifying Applications. Applications will be 
selected in the following order:
    (a) First, the highest scoring application in each of the four 
Regions will be selected.
    (b) Second, the remaining applications, regardless of Region, will 
be selected starting with the highest scoring application, until all 
available funds are exhausted.
    (c) Applications, at or near the funding line, may be funded in 
part, if RD believes an appropriate benefit can result from partial 
funding and if the applicant agrees to the amount of partial funding. 
In the event RD considers partial funding to be appropriate, the 
applicant will be contacted to negotiate the final work plan and budget 
prior to award approval.
    (4) Appeal Request. The applicant will be notified in writing 
regarding the reason(s) for any adverse decisions and will be provided 
a description of the options for review. Note that if the determination 
is reversed, either due to the discovery of an Agency error or through 
a formal appeal, funding is restricted to available FY 2021 funds.
    (5) Cooperative Agreement. Applicants selected for funding will 
complete a Cooperative/Grant agreement suitable to Rural Business 
Cooperative Service, which outlines the terms and conditions of the 
Cooperative Agreement award. Pursuant to the agreement, funds may be 
released over the course of the Cooperative Agreement period in the 
form of a reimbursement for the performance of eligible, approved 
activities. The agreement may also include reporting requirements 
which, if not met, may result in a delay in reimbursement, disallowance 
of expenses, or a suspension of the Agreement.
    (6) Reimbursement.
    (a) SF-270, ``Request for Advance or Reimbursement,'' will be 
completed by the cooperator and submitted to RD along with supporting 
documentation.
    (b) Upon receipt of a properly completed SF-270, payment will 
ordinarily be made within 30 days.

[[Page 28535]]

    (c) Any change in the scope of the project, budget adjustments of 
more than 10 percent of the total budget, or any other significant 
change in the project must be reported to and approved by the approving 
official. Any change not approved may be cause for termination of the 
Cooperative Agreement.

VII. Federal Award Administration Information

A. Federal Award Notices

    (1) Successful applicants will be notified in writing by the Agency 
with a Letter of Conditions (LOC). The LOC is a notice of selection and 
does not indicate that an award has been approved, nor is it an 
authorization to begin performance on the award. While there may be 
special conditions that apply on a case-by-case basis, the conditions 
as stated in Part VII, Section B (Administrative and National Policy 
Requirements) are standard for all successful applicants.
    (2) Once the conditions described in the LOC have been met, the 
award will be approved through the execution of Form RD 4280-2 in 
conjunction with the Rural Development Cooperative Agreement (RDCA) 
Program Attachment. If an applicant is unable to meet the conditions of 
the award within 90 calendar days, the award will be withdrawn.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    (1) The following requirements apply to grantees selected for this 
program:
    (a) Complete Form RD 1942-46 ``Letter of Intent to Meet 
Conditions.''
    (b) Complete Form RD 1940-1, ``Request for Obligations of Funds.''
    (c) Complete FMMI Vendor Code Request Form.
    (d) Provide a copy of your organization's Negotiated Indirect Cost 
Rate Agreement.
    (e) Certify that all work completed for the award will benefit a 
rural area.
    (f) Certify that you will comply with the Federal Funding 
Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and report information 
about subawards and executive compensation.
    (g) Certify that the U.S. has not obtained an outstanding judgement 
against your organization in a Federal Court (other than in the United 
States Tax Court).
    (h) Execute Form SF-424B, ``Assurance--Non-Construction Programs.''
    (i) Execute Form SF-LLL, ``Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying,'' if 
applicable, or certify that your organization does not lobby.
    (2) The applicant must provide evidence of compliance with other 
federal statutes, including, but not limited to, the following:
    (a) Debarment and suspension information as required in accordance 
with 2 CFR part 417 (Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension) 
supplemented by 2 CFR part 180, if applies. The information required 
under section heading: ``What information must I provide before 
entering into a covered transaction with a Federal agency?'' located at 
2 CFR 180.335 is part of OMB's Guidance for Grants and Agreements 
concerning Government-wide Debarment and Suspension.
    (b) All of your organization's known workplaces by including the 
actual address of buildings (or parts of buildings) or other sites 
where work under the award takes place. Workplace identification is 
required under the drug-free workplace requirements in Subpart B of 2 
CFR part 421, which adopts the Governmentwide implementation (2 CFR 
part 182) of the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
    (c) 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, 
Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards).
    (d) 2 CFR part 182 (Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free 
Workplace (Financial Assistance)) and 2 CFR part 421 (Requirements for 
Drug Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)).
    (e) Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to Services for 
Persons with Limited English Proficiency.'' For information on limited 
English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to https://www.lep.gov.
    (3) The following forms for acceptance of a federal award are now 
collected through your registration or annual recertification in 
SAM.gov in the Financial Assistance General Certifications and 
Representations section:
     Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.''
     Form AD-1047, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1048, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion. Lower Tier Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding Drug-Free 
Workplace Requirements (Grants).''
     Form AD-3031, ``Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or 
Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.''

C. Reporting

    Grantees shall constantly monitor performance to ensure that time 
schedules are being met, projected work by time periods are being 
accomplished, and other performance objectives are being achieved.
    (1) SF-PPR ``Performance Progress Report,'' must be submitted 
quarterly based on the following time periods: January 1-March 31, 
April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, and October 1-December 31. 
Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the end of the 
reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar days of the 
completion of the project or the end of the period of performance, 
whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final performance reports 
must be submitted electronically to RD.
    (2) Financial Report: Form SF-425, ``Federal Financial Report'' 
must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: 
January 1-March 31, April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, October 1-
December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the 
end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar 
days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of 
performance, whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final reports 
must be submitted electronically to RD.
    (3) Report Suitable for Public Distribution: A report suitable for 
public distribution that describes the accomplishments of the project 
is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project. There 
is no format prescribed for this report, but it is expected that it 
will be 1-2 pages in length and describe the project in such a way that 
a member of the public not familiar with the project would gain an 
understanding of the impact of the project.

VIII. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information, contact: Angela Callie at (202) 568-9738 
or Gregory Dale (202) 568-9558, email: [email protected]. Persons with 
disabilities who require alternative means for communication should 
contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice).

IX. Other Information

A. Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
chapter 35), USDA requested that the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) conduct an emergency review of a new information collection that

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contains the Information Collection and Recordkeeping requirements 
contained in this notice by May 20, 2021. An emergency clearance 
approval for this information collection is due to the following 
conditions: (1) The time sensitive competitive solicitation application 
window commencing on May 27, 2021; (2) the urgency to obligate FY 2021 
funds prior to September 30, 2021; and (3) being able to effectively 
implement the program as quickly as possible to benefit rural 
communities.
    In addition to the emergency clearance, the regular clearance 
process is hereby being initiated to provide the public with the 
opportunity to comment under a full comment period, as the Agency 
intends to request regular approval from OMB for this information 
collection. Comments from the public on new, proposed, revised, and 
continuing collections of information help us assess the impact of our 
information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting 
burden. Comments may be submitted regarding this information collection 
by the following method:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov, and in the lower ``Search Regulations and Federal 
Actions'' box, select ``RBS'' from the agency drop-down menu, then 
click ``Submit.'' In the Docket ID column, select Docket No. RBS-21-CO-
OP-0011 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and 
related materials available electronically. Information on using 
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the 
comment period, is available through the site's ``User Tips'' link. 
Comments on this information collection must be received by July 26, 
2021.
    Copies of all forms, regulations, and instructions referenced in 
this NOFA may be obtained from RB-CS. Data furnished by the applicants 
will be used to determine eligibility for program benefits. Furnishing 
data is voluntary; however, failure to provide data could result in 
program benefits being withheld or denied.
    Comments are invited on (a) whether the collection of information 
is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the 
accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of 
the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 
to respond, including responding through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronical, mechanical, other technological collection 
techniques, or other forms of information technology.
    Title: Rural Development Co-operative Agreements.
    OMB Control Number: 0570-0074.
    Abstract: Pursuant to the Federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 
1996 (Pub. L. 104-127), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
received authorization from Congress under 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4) to 
enter into cooperative agreements for the purpose of improving the 
coordination and effectiveness of programs that benefit rural areas. 
This authority is referred to as the Rural Development Cooperative 
Agreement (RDCA) program. There are three agencies within USDA that 
administer programs that specifically target rural areas: The Rural 
Business-Cooperative Service (RB-CS), the Rural Housing Service (RHS), 
and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    Each year, USDA receives proposals from the public that are not in 
response to a specific program announcement. These proposals are called 
unsolicited proposals. If a proposal is related to one or more 
programs, it will be routed to the appropriated RD agency for review 
and possible consideration for a cooperative agreement using the RDCA 
authority. If the proposal is unique or innovative, then RD has 
authority to enter into a cooperative agreement without competition 
(see 2 CFR 415.1(d)(6)). Alternatively, USDA may issue an invitation to 
submit applications for a cooperative agreement using the RDCA 
authority. These proposals are called solicited proposals. Solicited 
proposals would typically be announced via a Federal Register Notice.
    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 1.65 hours per response.
    Respondents: Regional consortia of higher education, academic 
health and research institutes, or economic development entities.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 100.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 10.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden and Record Keeping Hours on 
Respondents: 1,650 hours.
    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from MaryPat 
Daskal, Chief, Branch 1, Regulations Management Division, Rural 
Development Innovation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 
Independence Ave. SW, Stop 1522, Washington, DC 20250. Phone: 202-720-
7853.
    All responses to this information collection and recordkeeping 
notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. 
All comments will also become a matter of public record.

B. Nondiscrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its 
agencies, offices, employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA Programs are prohibited from discriminating based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital 
status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at https://www.usda.gov/oascr/how-to-file-a-program-discrimination-complaint and 
at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in 
the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a 
copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed 
form or letter to USDA by:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-9410; or
    Email: [email protected].

[[Page 28537]]

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Justin Maxson,
Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Rural Development.
[FR Doc. 2021-10963 Filed 5-26-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P