[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 117 (Wednesday, June 17, 2020)]
[Pages 36609-36613]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-13063]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Grant; 
Solicitation of Proposals

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), 
through its Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI), is 
soliciting proposals from Tribes for technical assistance funding to 
hire consultants to perform feasibility studies of economic development 
opportunities located in designated Opportunity Zones. Eligibility for 
funding is limited to those applicants whose proposed projects, 
businesses, or technologies will be located in designated Opportunity 
Zones. These grants are also intended to fund applicants to obtain 
qualified guidance on how the development projects, businesses, or 
technologies they propose can attract investments from an Opportunity 

DATES: Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on September 
15, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Email applications to [email protected] in accordance with 
the directions at Step 4 of this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James R. West, Native American 
Business Development Institute (NABDI) Manager, Office of Indian Energy 
and Economic Development, Room 6049-B, 12220 Sunrise Valley Drive, 
Reston, Virginia 20191; telephone: (202) 595-4766; email: 
[email protected].


I. General Information
II. Number of Projects Funded
III. Background
IV. Eligibility for Funding
V. Who May Perform Feasibility Studies Funded by NABDI Grants
VI. Applicant Procurement Procedures
VII. Limitations
VIII. NABDI Application Guidance
IX. Review and Selection Process
X. Evaluation Criteria
XI. Transfer of Funds
XII. Reporting Requirements for Award Recipients
XIII. Conflicts of Interest
XIV. Questions and Requests for IEED Assistance
XV. Separate Document(s)
XVI. Paperwork Reduction Act
XVII. Authority

    I. General Information.
    Award Ceiling: 75,000.
    Award Floor: 25,000.
    CFDA Number: 15.133.
    Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No.
    Number of Awards: 20-25.
    Category: Business Development.
    II. Number of Projects Funded. IEED anticipates award of 
approximately twenty (20) to twenty-five (25) grants under this 
announcement ranging in value from approximately $25,000 to $75,000. 
The program can fund projects only one year at a time. IEED will use a 
competitive evaluation process based on criteria described in the 
Review and Selection Process section at section IX of this notice.
    III. Background. The Office of the Assistant Secretary--Indian 
Affairs, through IEED, is soliciting proposals from Indian Tribes, as 
defined at 25 U.S.C. 5304(e), for grant funding to retain consultants 
to perform feasibility studies of economic development opportunities 
located in an Opportunity Zone. Consultants may include universities 
and colleges, private consulting firms, non-academic/non-profit 
entities, or others. The feasibility studies will empower Tribes to 
make informed decisions regarding their economic futures. Feasibility 
studies may concern the viability of an economic development project or 
business or the practicality of a technology a Tribe may choose to 
pursue in an Opportunity Zone. These studies will also address how a 
proposed economic development project, business, or technology can 
attract investment from an Opportunity Fund, which is an investment 
vehicle set up either as a partnership or corporation, for investing in 
eligible property or businesses located in an Opportunity Zone (26 
U.S.C. 1400Z-2(d)).
    The IEED administers this program through its Division of Economic 
Development (DED).
    These grants will be funded under a non-recurring appropriation of 
the BIA budget. Congress appropriates funds on a year-to-year basis. 
Thus, while some projects may extend over several years, funding for 
successive years depends on each fiscal year's appropriations.

[[Page 36610]]

    The funding periods and amounts referenced in this solicitation are 
subject to the availability of funds at the time of award, as well as 
the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Indian Affairs priorities at 
the time of the award. Neither DOI nor Indian Affairs will be held 
responsible for proposal or application preparation costs. Publication 
of this solicitation does not obligate DOI or Indian Affairs to award 
any specific grant or to obligate all or any part of available funds. 
Future funding is subject to the availability of appropriations and 
cannot be guaranteed. DOI or Indian Affairs may cancel or withdraw this 
solicitation at any time.
    IV. Eligibility for Funding. Only Indian Tribes, as defined at 25 
U.S.C. 5304(e), are eligible for NABDI grants. Under that statutory 
definition, eligible entities include any Indian tribe, band, nation, 
or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native 
village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established 
pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 43 U.S.C. 1601 et 
seq., which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and 
services provided by the United States to Indians because of their 
status as Indians. Indian Tribes are referred to using the term 
``Tribe'' throughout this notice.
    Eligibility for NABDI funding is further limited to proposed 
economic development projects, businesses, and technologies that will 
be located within designated Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones were 
added to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 
2017, 26 U.S.C., 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2. An Opportunity Zone is an 
economically distressed community where new investments, under certain 
conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. A map and 
list of Opportunity Zones can be found at: https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx.
    V. Who may Perform Feasibility Studies Funded by NABDI Grants. The 
applicant determines who will conduct its feasibility study. An 
applicant has several choices, including but not limited to:
     Universities and colleges;
     Private consulting firms; or
     Non-academic, non-profit entities.
    VI. Applicant Procurement Procedures. The applicant is subject to 
the procurement standards in 2 CFR 200.318 through 200.326. In 
accordance with 2 CFR 200.318, an applicant must use its own documented 
procurement procedures which reflect Tribal laws and regulations, 
provided that the procurements conform to applicable Federal law and 
standards identified in Part 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
    VII. Limitations. NABDI grant funding must be expended in 
accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, 
including 2 CFR part 200. As part of the grant application review 
process, IEED may conduct a review of an applicant's prior IEED grant 
    Applicants that are currently under BIA sanction Level 2 or higher 
resulting from non-compliance with the Single Audit Act are ineligible 
for a NABDI award. Applicants at Sanction Level 1 will be considered 
for funding.
    An applicant may submit more than one grant application. For 
example, an applicant may submit an application to study the 
practicality of developing a Tribal business and a separate application 
to assess whether that business would be competitive in the global 
marketplace. However, applications should address one project and any 
submissions that contain multiple project proposals will not be 
considered. IEED will apply the same objective ranking criteria to each 
    The purpose of NABDI grants is to fund feasibility studies for 
proposed economic development projects, businesses, and technologies 
only. NABDI awards may not be used for:
     Establishing or operating a Tribal office;
     Indirect costs or administrative costs as defined by the 
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR);
     Purchase of equipment that is used to develop the 
feasibility studies, such as computers, vehicles, field gear, etc. 
(however, leasing of this type of equipment for the purpose of 
developing feasibility studies is allowed);
     Creating Tribal jobs to complete the project. An NABDI 
grant is not intended to create temporary administrative jobs or 
supplement employment for Tribal members;
     Legal fees;
     Application fees associated with permitting;
     Contract negotiation fees;
     Feasibility studies of energy, mineral, energy legal 
infrastructure, or broadband related projects, businesses, or 
technologies that are addressed by IEED's Energy and Mineral 
Development Program (EMDP), Tribal Energy Development Capacity (TEDC), 
or National Tribal Broadband Grant (NTBG) annual grant programs; and
     Any other activities not authorized by the grant award 
    VIII. NABDI Application Guidance. All NABDI applicants must use the 
standard form Application for Federal Assistance SF-424. This form can 
be found at www.grants.gov.
    A complete proposal must contain the five mandatory components as 
described below.

Step 1. Complete the Application for Federal Assistance SF-424

Instructions To Download the Application for Federal Assistance SF-424

    1. Go to www.grants.gov.
    2. Select the ``forms'' tab. This will open a page with a table 
titled ``SF-424 FAMILY FORMS.''
    3. Under the column ``Agency Owner,'' third row down, is listed, 
Grants.gov --Application for Federal Assistance SF-424.
    4. Click on the blue PDF letters to download the three-page 

Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 (Mandatory Component 1)

    Within the Application for Federal Assistance SF-424, please 
complete the following sections:
     Item 8a. Applicant Information--Legal Name.
     Item 8b.
     Item 8c.
     Item 8d. Address.
     Item 8f. Name and contact information of person to be 
contacted on matters involving this application.
     Item 9. Select I: Indian/Native American Tribal Government 
(Federally Recognized).
     Item 11. CFDA Title box--Type in the numbers: 15.133.
     Item 12. Title box--Type in: IEED NABDI Grant.
     Item 15. Descriptive Title of Applicant's Project. Type in 
short description of proposal.
     Item 21. Read certification statement. Check ``agree'' 
     Authorized Representative section: Be sure to type in the 
Tribal leader's information. Be sure to include the Tribal leader's 
preferred title (e.g., Governor, President, Chairman).
    Save the Application for Federal Assistance SF-424, name the file 
using the following format: Tribal Name NABDI Grant Application SF-424.
    Example for naming the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance 
file: Pueblo of Laguna NABDI Grant Application SF-424.

[[Page 36611]]

Step 2. Prepare the Project Narrative, Budget, Critical Information 
Page, and Obtain a Tribal Resolution

Project Narrative (Mandatory Component 2)

    The Project Narrative must not exceed 15 pages. At a minimum, it 
should include:
     A technical description of the project and, if applicable, 
an explanation of how the proposed new study does not duplicate 
previous work;
     A description of the project objectives and goals;
     Deliverable products that the consultant is expected to 
generate, including interim deliverables (such as status reports and 
technical data to be obtained) and final deliverables (the feasibility 
study); and
     Resumes of key consultants and personnel to be retained, 
if available, and the names of subcontractors, if applicable. This 
information may be included as an attachment to the application and 
will not be counted towards the 15-page limitation.
    In addition, where applicable, the Project Narrative Attachment 
Form, referenced below, must contain a description of the consultant(s) 
the applicant wishes to retain, including the consultant's contact 
information, technical expertise, training, qualifications, and 
suitability to undertake the feasibility study. This may be included as 
an attachment to the Project Narrative and will not be counted toward 
the 15-page limitation.
    Project Narratives are not judged based on their length. Please do 
not submit any attachments or documents beyond what is listed above, 
e.g., Tribal history.

Budget (Mandatory Component 3)

    The budget should consist of a one-page, detailed budget estimate 
in Excel format with applicable attachments listed below. The budget 
must identify the amount of grant funding requested and a comprehensive 
breakdown of all projected and anticipated expenditures, including 
contracted personnel fees, consulting fees (hourly or fixed), travel 
costs, data collection and analysis costs, computer rentals, report 
generation, drafting, advertising costs for a proposed project and 
other relevant project expenses, and their subcomponents.
     Travel costs should be itemized by airfare, vehicle 
rental, lodging, and per diem, based on the current Federal government 
per diem schedule.
     Data collection and analysis costs should be itemized in 
sufficient detail for the IEED review committee to evaluate the 
     Other expenses may include computer rental, report 
generation, drafting, and advertising costs for a proposed project.

Critical Information Page (Mandatory Component 4)

    Applicants must include a critical information page that includes:
     Project Manager's contact information;
     DUNS number;
     An active Automated Standard Application for Payment 
(ASAP) number;
     Counties where the project is located; and
     Congressional District number where the project is 

Tribal Resolution (Mandatory Component 5)

    Applicants must include a Tribal resolution issued in the fiscal 
year of the grant application, authorizing the submission of a FY 2020 
NABDI grant application. It must be signed by authorized Tribal 
representative(s). The Tribal resolution must also include:
     A description of the feasibility study to be developed; 
     An explicit reference to the Project Narrative being 

Step 3. Submit the Completed NABDI Grant Proposal

    Applicants must submit the five mandatory components (SF-424, the 
project narrative, budget, critical information page, and tribal 
resolution) as attachments in a single email to [email protected] (the 
email listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice).
    Be sure to:
email subject line; and
     Include ``Attention: James R. West, Program Analyst, 
Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development'' in the first line of 
the email.
    Applications and mandatory attachments received and date-stamped 
after the time listed in the DATES section of this notice will not be 
considered by the Awarding Official. IEED will accept applications at 
any time before the deadline and will send a notification of receipt to 
the return email address on the application package, along with a 
determination of whether the application is complete.
    Incomplete Applications. Applications submitted without one or more 
of the five mandatory components described above will be returned to 
the applicant with an explanation. The applicant will then be allowed 
to correct any deficiencies and resubmit the proposal for consideration 
on or before the deadline. This option will not be available to an 
applicant once the deadline has passed.
    IX. Review and Selection Process. Upon receiving a NABDI 
application, IEED will determine whether the application is complete 
and that the proposed project does not duplicate or overlap previous or 
currently funded IEED technical assistance projects. Any proposal that 
is received after the date and time in the DATES section of this notice 
will not be reviewed. If an application is not complete and the 
submission deadline has not passed, the applicant will be notified and 
given an opportunity to resubmit its application.
    The IEED Review Committee (Committee), comprised of IEED staff, 
staff from other Federal agencies, and subject matter experts, will 
evaluate the proposals against the ranking criteria. Proposals will be 
evaluated using the four ranking criteria listed below, with a maximum 
achievable total of 100 points.
    Final award selections will be approved by the Assistant 
Secretary--Indian Affairs and the Associate Deputy Secretary, U.S. 
Department of the Interior. Applicants not selected for award will be 
notified in writing.
    X. Evaluation Criteria
    The Project's Economic Benefits: 60 points. The proposal should 
clearly state how the project would create jobs and stimulate economic 
activity within a Native community. The Committee will prefer proposals 
from applicants who can demonstrate that their communities suffer from 
economic malaise and unemployment and that the study will address these 
conditions. It will also examine whether these communities have the 
financial resources to address these conditions absent NABDI grant 
    The Applicant's Commitment to the Project: 15 points. The 
applicant's willingness to consider implementing recommendations 
resulting from the feasibility study must be clearly stated in the 
proposal and the Tribal resolution. Note that this is not a statement 
for mandatory implementation; rather, it is an affirmation that the 
applicant is willing to implement the proposed project if the study 
concludes that it is feasible. The decision on whether to implement the 
project will always lie with the applicant. The willingness-to-
implement statement should sufficiently explain how the applicant 
intends to accomplish this task.

[[Page 36612]]

    Focus on Obtaining Investment from an Opportunity Fund: 15 points. 
The Committee will gauge an applicant's focus on obtaining qualified 
guidance on how to attract investment for the proposed economic 
development project, business, or technology from an Opportunity Fund.
    Authenticity: 10 points. The Committee understands that applicants 
may intend that the consultant(s) they retain to prepare the NABDI 
proposal will also conduct the feasibility study if the grant is 
awarded. This does not prejudice an applicant's chances of being 
selected as a grantee. However, the IEED review committee will view 
unfavorably proposals that show little evidence of communication 
between the consultant(s) and the applicant or scant regard for the 
applicant community's unique circumstances. Facsimile applications 
prepared by the same consultant(s) and submitted by multiple applicants 
will receive particular scrutiny in this regard.
    NABDI applications will be ranked using only these criteria (as 
described above)--
     The Project's Economic Benefits: 60.
     The Applicant's Commitment to the Project: 15.
     Focus on Obtaining Investment from an Opportunity Fund: 
     Authenticity: 10.
     Total: 100.
    XI. Transfer of Funds. IEED's obligation under this solicitation is 
contingent on receipt of congressionally appropriated funds. No 
liability on the part of the U.S. Government for any payment may arise 
until funds are made available to the awarding officer for this grant 
and until the recipient receives notice of such availability, to be 
confirmed in writing by the grant officer.
    All payments under this agreement will be made by electronic funds 
transfer through the ASAP. All award recipients are required to have a 
current and accurate DUNS number to receive funds. All payments will be 
deposited to the banking information designated by the applicant in the 
System for Award Management (SAM).
    XII. Reporting Requirements for Award Recipients. The applicant 
must deliver all products and data required by the signed Grant 
Agreement for the proposed NABDI feasibility study project to IEED 
within 30 days of the end of each quarter and 90 days after completion 
of the project.
    IEED requires that deliverable products be provided in both digital 
format and printed hard copies. Reports can be provided in either 
Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Spreadsheet data can be 
provided in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, or Adobe PDF formats. 
All vector figures should be converted to PDF format. Raster images can 
be provided in PDF, JPEG, TIFF, or any of the Windows metafile formats. 
The contract between the grantee and the consultant conducting the 
NABDI funded feasibility study must include deliverable products and 
require that the products be prepared in the format described above.
    The contract should include budget amounts for all printed and 
digital copies to be delivered in accordance with the grant agreement. 
In addition, the contract must specify that all products generated by a 
consultant belong to the grantee and cannot be released to the public 
without the grantee's written approval. Products include, but are not 
limited to, all reports and technical data obtained, maps, status 
reports, and the final report.
    In addition, this funding opportunity and financial assistance 
award must adhere to the following provisions:
    XIII. Conflicts of Interest
     This section intends to ensure that non-Federal entities 
and their employees take appropriate steps to avoid conflicts of 
interest in their responsibilities under or with respect to Federal 
financial assistance agreements.
     In the procurement of supplies, equipment, construction, 
and services by recipients and by sub-recipients, the conflict of 
interest provisions in 2 CFR 200.318 apply.
     Non-Federal entities must avoid prohibited conflicts of 
interest, including any significant financial interests that could 
cause a reasonable person to question the recipient's ability to 
provide impartial, technically sound, and objective performance under 
or with respect to a Federal financial assistance agreement.
     In addition to any other prohibitions that may apply with 
respect to conflicts of interest, no key official of an actual or 
proposed recipient or sub-recipient, who is substantially involved in 
the proposal or project, may have been a former Federal employee who, 
within the last one (1) year, participated personally and substantially 
in the evaluation, award, or administration of an award with respect to 
that recipient or sub-recipient or in development of the requirement 
leading to the funding announcement.
     No actual or prospective recipient or sub-recipient may 
solicit, obtain, or use non-public information regarding the 
evaluation, award, administration of an award to that recipient or sub-
recipient or the development of a Federal financial assistance 
opportunity that may be of competitive interest to that recipient or 
     Non-Federal entities, including applicants for financial 
assistance awards, must disclose in writing any conflict of interest to 
the DOI awarding agency or pass-through entity in accordance with 2 CFR 
200.112, Conflicts of Interest.
     Recipients must establish internal controls that include, 
at a minimum, procedures to identify, disclose, and mitigate or 
eliminate identified conflicts of interest. The recipient is 
responsible for notifying the Financial Assistance Officer in writing 
of any conflicts of interest that may arise during the life of the 
award, including those that have been reported by sub-recipients.
     Restrictions on Lobbying. Non-Federal entities are 
strictly prohibited from using funds under this grant or cooperative 
agreement for lobbying activities and must provide the required 
certifications and disclosures pursuant to 43 CFR part 18 and 31 U.S.C. 
     Review Procedures. The Financial Assistance Officer will 
examine each conflict of interest disclosure on the basis of its 
particular facts and the nature of the proposed grant or cooperative 
agreement, and will determine whether a significant potential conflict 
exists and, if it does, develop an appropriate means for resolving it.
     Enforcement. Failure to resolve conflicts of interest in a 
manner that satisfies the Government may be cause for termination of 
the award. Failure to make the required disclosures may result in any 
of the remedies described in 2 CFR 200.338, Remedies for Noncompliance, 
including suspension or debarment (see also 2 CFR part 180).
Data Availability
     Applicability. The Department of the Interior is committed 
to basing its decisions on the best available science and providing the 
American people with enough information to thoughtfully and 
substantively evaluate the data, methodology, and analysis used by the 
Department to inform its decisions.
     Use of Data. The regulations at 2 CFR 200.315 apply to 
data produced under a Federal award, including the provision that the 
Federal Government has the right to obtain, reproduce,

[[Page 36613]]

publish, or otherwise use the data produced under a Federal award as 
well as authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise 
use such data for Federal purposes.
     Availability of Data. The recipient shall make the data 
produced under this award and any subaward(s) available to the 
Government for public release, consistent with applicable law, to allow 
meaningful third party evaluation and reproduction of the following:
    [cir] The scientific data relied upon;
    [cir] The analysis relied upon; and
    [cir] The methodology, including models, used to gather and analyze 
    XIV. Questions and Requests for IEED Assistance. IEED staff may 
provide technical consultation, upon written request by an applicant. 
The request must clearly identify the type of assistance sought. 
Technical consultation does not include funding to prepare a grant 
proposal, grant writing assistance, or pre-determinations as to the 
likelihood that a proposal will be awarded. The applicant is solely 
responsible for preparing its grant proposal. Technical consultation 
may include clarifying application requirements, confirming whether an 
applicant previously submitted the same or similar proposal, and 
registration information for SAM or ASAP.
    XV. Separate Document(s):
     Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 Form.
     Project Narrative, Budget, Tribal Resolution, and Critical 
Information page.
    XVI. Paperwork Reduction Act: The information collection 
requirements contained in this notice have been reviewed and approved 
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3504(h). The OMB control number is 1076-0178. 
The authorization expires on December 31, 2020. An agency may not 
conduct or sponsor, and you are not required to respond to, any 
information collection that does not display a currently valid OMB 
Control Number.
    XVII. Authority: This is a discretionary grant program authorized 
under the Snyder Act (25 U.S.C. 13) and the Further Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94). The Snyder Act authorizes 
the BIA to expend such moneys as Congress may appropriate for the 
benefit, care, and assistance of Indians for the purposes listed in the 
Act. NABDI grants facilitate two of the purposes listed in the Snyder 
Act: ``General support and civilization, including education'' and 
``industrial assistance and advancement.'' The Further Consolidated 
Appropriations Act 2020 authorizes the BIA to ``carry out the operation 
of Indian programs by direct expenditure, contracts, cooperative 
agreements, compacts, and grants, either directly or in cooperation 
with States and other organizations.''

Tara Sweeney,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2020-13063 Filed 6-16-20; 8:45 am]