Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation 2021

Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation 2021

Funding Opportunity Title: Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation 2021
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-DJ-21-PAS-0001
Announcement type: Grant
CFDA Number: 19.025
Deadline for Applications: November 21, 2020, 23:59 local time
Total Expected Funds: $10,000 to $500,000
Download:  AFCP 2021 Grants Program Application Guide
Suggested Budget Template


The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti and the Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce the 2020 call for proposals for the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Grants Competition.

This year the Center is implementing several changes to the program during this cycle including combining the small and large grants program into a single program, and dividing the application process into two rounds and reducing the amount of information required up front. Please review all information in this announcement prior to submitting applications or questions.

  1. Program Objectives:

The Department of State established the AFCP in 2000 at the request of Congress (Conference Report 106-1005 accompanying H.R. 4942). At the time, the Senate noted that the preservation of cultural heritage “offers an opportunity to show a different American face to other countries, one that is non-commercial, non-political, and nonmilitary.” The projects recommended for funding advance U.S. foreign policy goals and show respect for other cultures. Cultural preservation is effective public diplomacy that resonates deeply with opinion leaders and local communities, even in countries where ties may be otherwise limited. AFCP projects strengthen civil society, encourage good governance, and promote political and economic stability around the world.


The deadline for submitting a Concept Paper and supporting budget (attach budget sheet) for Round 1 to the Embassy is Friday, November 21, 2020.  Completed Concept Papers for Round 1 must be submitted in English electronically to with 2021 AFCP Competition in the subject line.
The strongest applications invited to participate in Round 2 will submit a full application.


Length of performance period: 12 to 60 months
CFDA Number: 19.025
Number of awards anticipated: each implementer may submit Up to two separate awards
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $500,000
Program Authority: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-256, § 102(b)(5)
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 60 months or less.

For full details about this competition, refer to a global Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on  Doing so satisfies the full and open competition requirement for grants awarded through the AFCP program.

For full details about this competition, refer to a global Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on  Doing so satisfies the full and open competition requirement for grants awarded through the AFCP program.

  1. Funding Areas:

The AFCP Grants Program supports the preservation of archaeological sites, historic buildings and monuments, museum collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression, such as indigenous languages and crafts.  Appropriate project activities may include:

  • Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts);
  • Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to an object or site);
  • Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of an object or site);
  • Documentation (recording in analog or digital format the condition and salient features of an object, site, or tradition);
  • Inventory (listing of objects, sites, or traditions by location, feature, age, or other unifying characteristic or state);
  • Preventive Conservation (addressing conditions that threaten or damage a site, object, collection, or tradition);
  • Restoration (replacing missing elements to recreate the original appearance of an object or site, usually appropriate only with fine arts, decorative arts, and historic buildings);
  • Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance of an object or site).
  1. Sites and Objects Having a Religious Connection:

The establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution permits the government to include religious objects and sites within an aid program under certain conditions.  For example, an item with a religious connection (including a place of worship) may be the subject of a cultural preservation grant if the item derives its primary significance and is nominated solely on the basis of architectural, artistic, historical, or other cultural (not religious) criteria.  ECA encourages embassies considering preservation projects with a religious connection to contact the AFCP Program Director.

  1. Funding Priorities:

Some of the most impactful AFCP projects have been designed as part of a greater PD programming arc promoting specific U.S. policy goals and host-country or community objectives.  Accordingly, in FY 2021, ECA and the Center will give preference to projects that do one or more of the following:

  • Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations;
  • Directly support U.S. policies, strategies and objectives in a country as stated in the Integrated Country Strategy or other U.S. government planning documents;
  • Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas or post-disaster cultural heritage recovery;
  • Support conflict resolution and help communities bridge differences; or
  • Partner, connect with, or feed into other ECA or public diplomacy programs.
  1. Eligible Project Implementers:

The Center defines eligible project implementers as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that are able to demonstrate they have the requisite capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage. Eligible implementers may include non-governmental organizations, museums, educational institutions, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations, including U.S.-based educational institutions and organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. The AFCP will not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or past award recipients that have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous awards.

Potential implementers must have a unique entity identifier, such as a DUNS number, and be registered and active in to receive U.S. federal assistance. If an embassy’s project idea is advanced to Round 2 and the anticipated implementer is not registered in, the embassy should initiate the registration process immediately so it is in place in the event the project is ultimately selected for an award. See paragraph 20 below for information on how to register. The registration process can take several weeks to complete so it is important to avoid any delay. If a project is selected for an award and the registration is not completed, the award could be delayed to the next FY, pending the availability of funding.

Embassies vet potential implementers for eligibility, suitability, and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities and ensure the potential grantees are able to receive U.S. federal assistance.

  1. Project Design Assistance:

The Center has expertise in cultural preservation is available for technical guidance. The Center is also open to working with interested embassies to help them or their prospective implementing partners:

  • Refine ideas before they submit Round 1 concept notes;
  • Transform promising ideas into effective project designs in preparation for Round 2 applications;
  • Refine project ideas for resubmission during future AFCP grant cycles when a longer project development period may be warranted, particularly with new or small organizations with limited experience.

The Center’s team of cultural heritage preservation experts can provide direct, hands-on guidance and support or organize design workshops for embassy implementing partners, including new or small organizations with limited experience.

Additionally, during the Round 1 review process, the Center may identify specific projects as promising candidates for possible design enhancements, which it may propose to an embassy and its prospective implementing partners. The Center may, for example, recommend an English language learning or exchange component (virtual or in-person) or suggest pairing the applicant with another ECA program or organization to amplify a project’s public diplomacy impact. It may identify elements that could be strengthened to achieve public diplomacy goals more effectively, including contributions to host-government of community aims. In such cases, and with the embassy’s permission, it can work with the relevant embassy staff and implementing partners to build the enhancements into the project designs and Round 2 submissions.

  1. Round 1 Concept Note Requirements(Deadline: November 21, 2020):

Eligible applicants will submit completed concept notes electronically to  Concept notes must be submitted by Friday, November 21, 2020, 23:59.  Each concept note submitted must include:

  1. Project basics, including working title, anticipated project length (in months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested from AFCP; in U.S. dollars);
  2. Project implementer information, including name and SAM registration status;
  3. Project purpose that summarizes the objectives, proposed activities, and desired results
  4. Rationale for AFCP support, explaining:
  • why it is in the interests of the U.S. government to fund the project;
  • the projected benefits and impacts of the project, including whether it contributes to broader aims or objectives of the host country or community;
  1. Five (5) high quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature 
and condition of the site, collection, or tradition and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, water damage, etc.).
  1. Round 2 Full Application Requirements(Deadline: March 22, 2021):

The Center will invite embassies selected in Round 1 to submit full applications by no later than Monday, March 22, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EDT, using the AFCP application website. The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and eligibility requirements.  Furthermore, to be considered complete, they must include:

From the implementer:

  • Project dates;
  • Project activities description and timeframe that present the project tasks in chronological order and list the major milestones with target dates for achieving them (Note: Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months [five years]);
  • Theory of change that describes how the project activities and outputs will help achieve any broader host country or community aims or objectives (For example, if a broader goal is economic development, how will the activities and outputs directly contribute towards achieving that goal?);
  • Statement of importance highlighting the historical, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural heritage;
  • Proof of official permission to undertake the project from the office, agency, or organization that either owns or is otherwise responsible for the preservation and protection of the site or collection;
  • Implementer public awareness plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms;
  • Maintenance plan outlining the steps or measures that will be taken to maintain the site, object, or collection in good condition after the AFCP-supported project is complete; or, in the case of forms of traditional cultural expression, to preserve and disseminate the documentation, knowledge, or skills gained from the project;
  • Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants;
  • Detailed project budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2021, 2022, 2023, etc.), that lists all costs in separate categories (Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Travel [including Per Diem], Equipment, Supplies, Contractual, Other Direct Costs, Indirect Costs); indicates funds from other sources; and gives a justification for any anticipated international travel costs;
  • Budget narrative explaining how the costs were estimated (quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project, etc.) and any large budget line items;
  • Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424), including Budget Information for Non- Construction Programs (SF-424A), Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF- 424B), and, if applicable, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL);
  • Relevant supporting documentation, such as historic structure reports, restoration plans and studies, conservation needs assessments and recommendations, architectural and engineering records, etc., compiled in preparation for the proposed project;
  • As requested by the Center or as appropriate, additional high-quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature and condition of the site or museum collection and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, extensive water damage, etc.).
  1. Cost Sharing and Other Forms of Cost Participation:

There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required. When an implementing partner offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the partner must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the budget of the application and later included in an approved agreement. The implementing partner will be responsible for tracking and reporting on any cost share or outside funding, which is subject to audit per 2 CFR 200. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.

  1. Ineligible Activities and Unallowable Costs:

AFCP does not support the following activities or costs, and the Center will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:

  • Preservation or purchase of privately or commercially owned cultural objects, collections, or real property, including those whose transfer from private or commercial to public ownership is envisioned, planned, or in process but not complete at the time of application;
  • Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.);
  • Preservation of hominid or human remains;
  • Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs, etc.);
  • Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.);
  • Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use;
  • Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes;
  • Historical research, except in cases where the research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  • Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing museums;
  • Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over archaeological sites, for example);
  • Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic development purposes;
  • Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances;
  • Creation of replicas or conjectural reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
  • Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another;
  • Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason;
  • Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation, documentation, or public diplomacy effort;
  • Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies;
  • Cash reserves, endowments, or revolving funds (funds must be expended within the award period [up to five years] and may not be used to create an endowment or revolving fund);
  • Costs of fund-raising campaigns;
  • Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees;
  • Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award unless allowable per 2 CFR 200.458 and approved by the Grants Officer;
  • International travel, except in cases where travel is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project or to provide project leaders with learning and exchange opportunities with cultural heritage experts;
  • Individual projects costing less than US $10,000 or more than $500,000;
  • Independent U.S. projects overseas.
  1. Application Review Process:

The Center will conduct its review process in late 2020 and early 2021. It will review and select Round 1 project concept notes and full project applications (Round 2) in consultation with the regional bureaus and taking into consideration the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, ineligible activities and unallowable costs, and other application requirements.  The Center may deem concept notes and full applications ineligible if they do not fully adhere to AFCP 2021 Grants Program objectives, requirements, and other criteria stated herein.

  1. Concept note review and selection (Round 1): In consultation with the regional bureaus, ECA and the Center will determine which project ideas advance to the Round 2 application stage based on the following criteria:
  • anticipated preservation and public diplomacy impacts;
  • potential contributions to U.S. foreign policy;
  • potential contributions to host-country or community objectives and aims;
  • adaptability and sustainability of program implementation despite COVID.
  1. Regional bureau input will include guidance to ECA and the Center on how it prioritizes and ranks proposed projects from the countries in its region. The Center may forward concept notes to other State Department or federal agency personnel with relevant experience for advisory peer review. The Center may identify specific projects as candidates for additional or enhanced project design. On or around January 13, 2021, the Center will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full project proposals to Round 2.
  2. Full application review and selection (Round 2): The Center will review and rate the full project proposals to confirm the feasibility of the projects, ensure outlined activities and budget lines support stated goals, validate monitoring plans and identify any remaining shortcomings, questions or concerns. The Center will then convene a review panel to recommend applications for funding.
  3. Full application rating schema: The Center will rate full applications using the following point-based system:
  • Purpose, Description, and Importance (20 points max)
  • Rationale for U.S. Support (20 points max)
  • Embassy Media and Applicant Outreach Plans (15 points max)
  • Support for wider host country or community objectives (5 points max)
  • Maintenance Plan (15 points max)
  • Budget and Budget Narrative (15 points max)
  • Supporting Materials (resumes, images, etc.; 10 points max)
  • Innovative integration, collaboration, or coordination with other ECA and public diplomacy programs (additional 10 points max)
  1. Award Announcement:

The U.S. Embassy will notify applicants about the results of the AFCP 2021 Grants Program once the selection process is complete pending available funds. The period of performance begins once the grant is successfully awarded and a countersigned DS-1909 is in hand.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements:

Notices of Award for AFCP projects incorporate terms and conditions subject to OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200): Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et al.). All applicants should familiarize themselves with these requirements. Other requirements and guidance will appear as program-specific provisions or be incorporated by reference in the Notice of Award.

  1. Period of Performance:

The period of performance begins upon the Grants Officer’s signature and the awardee’s countersignature on a Notice of Award. A Notice of Award notifies an award recipient that an award has been made and that funds are available for use during the specified award period. Failure to produce a complete Notice of Award package may result in the nullification of the award.

  1. Performance and Deliverables:

AFCP 2021 award recipients must submit performance progress reports, federal financial status reports, and final reports on time as specified in the Notice of Award. Upon completion of an AFCP project, the Center will also ask implementers to respond to an online survey about their project and experience with the AFCP program. In cases where the proposed public diplomacy or other expected impacts may not be fully realized at the immediate conclusion of the project, the Center may request continued voluntary reporting on specific topics. The Center may compile this information into reports to Congress and other documents.

  1. DUNS Number and SAM Registration:

An implementing partner must have a unique entity identifier (UEI), such as a Dun & Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code, and be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to receiving U.S. federal assistance unless they meet one of the exemptions specified in the Federal Assistance Directive. The DUNS, NCAGE, and processes can take weeks or months, especially for non-U.S. applicants. Applicants may acquire DUNS numbers at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or by requesting a number online at  Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at this link . is the official, free on- line registration database for the U.S. government. replaced the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in July 2012. collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award missions. Registration in SAM is free:

  1. Disclaimer:

Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the AFCP program or the U.S. government. The Center reserves the right to waive program formalities and to reduce, revise, or increase project scopes and budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.

Further information about the AFCP grant and previous grantees can be found here: