Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation 2019 Large Grants Program Funding Opportunity

  1. Summary: The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) is accepting project abstracts and full applications for the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2019 Large Grants Program.  The deadline for submitting project abstracts to the Embassy is Monday, December 3, 2018.  For abstracts that advance to Round 2, the submission deadline for full project applications is February 15, 2019.

Floor on Amount of Individual Awards:  US $200,000 per project

Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $800,000 per project

ECA urges U.S. embassies to consult with the Center, PD Desk Officers, and Cultural Coordinators in regional bureaus on potential projects and their alignment with U.S. foreign policy objectives early in the process.  Full implementation of the AFCP 2019 program is pending the availability of FY 2019 funds and an approved congressional spend plan.


  1. AFCP Large Grants Program Objectives: The Department of State established the AFCP at the request of the Congress in Conference Report 106-1005 accompanying H.R. 4942 (October 26, 2000).  The Senate report on this bill 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 non-military.”  The projects recommended for funding under this program shall advance U.S. foreign policy goals and demonstrate American leadership in the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in support of prosperity and stability around the world.


  1. Competition Format: This opportunity consists of two application rounds: Round 1 (Project Abstract) and Round 2 (Full Application).  During Round 1, embassies shall submit project abstracts developed in conjunction with eligible applicants.  If, after the technical review, rating, and ranking of abstracts, ECA invites an applicant to advance to Round 2, the embassy shall submit a full project application on the applicant’s behalf.  The AFCP Large Grants Program is an internal competition among embassies for funding, not an open competition.  Past AFCP award recipients may submit applications for continuation funds under this opportunity.


  1. Foreign Policy Areas: AFCP will recommend for funding those projects that address one or more of the following ECA Bureau strategic goals:


  1. Promote American leadership
  2. Renew America’s competitive advantage for sustained economic growth by increasing the global skills of Americans and expanding the reach of U.S. businesses and institutions
  3. Counter foreign government disinformation and foster alternatives to radicalization through international exchange programs
  4. Promote American values, such as tolerance and respect for cultural diversity


  1. Funding Areas: The AFCP Large Grants Program supports the preservation of major ancient archaeological sites, historic buildings and monuments, and major museum collections that are accessible to the public and protected by law in the host country.  Appropriate project activities may include:


  1. Preventive conservation (addressing conditions that damage or threaten the site)
  2. Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance [settling, collapse, etc.] of a site)
  3. Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to a collection or sites)
  4. Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of a site)
  5. Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts)
  6. Restoration (replacing missing elements to recreate the original appearance of a site, usually appropriate only with fine arts, decorative arts, and historic buildings)


  1. Funding Priorities: Applications for projects that directly support one or more of the following will receive additional consideration in FY 2019:


  1. U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations, such as cultural property agreements
  2. U.S. Embassy Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals
  3. Disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas
  4. Post-disaster cultural heritage recovery
  5. Preservation of inscribed World Heritage sites


  1. Special Note Regarding Sites and Objects that have 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.


  1. Eligible Project Applicants: The Center defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities, such as non-governmental organizations, museums, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations, including U.S.-based organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, that are registered and active in and able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.  Embassies must vet applicants for eligibility, suitability, and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities and ensure that the applicants are able to receive U.S. federal assistance.  The Center requests that embassies consider any country-specific sanctions that might impede project implementation before submitting applications.


  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:


  1. 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
  2. Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.)
  3. Preservation of hominid or human remains
  4. Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs, etc.)
  5. Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.)
  6. Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use
  7. Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes
  8. Historical research, except in cases where the research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project
  9. Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing museums
  10. Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over archaeological sites, for example)
  11. Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic development purposes
  12. Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances
  13. Creation of replicas or conjectural reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist
  14. Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another
  15. Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason
  16. Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation or documentation effort
  17. Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies
  18. 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)
  19. Costs of fund-raising campaigns
  20. Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees
  21. Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award
  22. International travel, except in cases where travel is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project
  23. Travel or study outside the host country for professional development
  24. Individual projects costing less than $200,000
  25. Independent U.S. projects overseas


  1. Ineligible Project Applicants: AFCP does not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or past award recipients that have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous AFCP awards.


  1. Application and Submission Information: The application process for the AFCP Large Grants Program consists of two rounds: Round 1 (project abstract) and Round 2 (full application).  The Center cannot accept abstracts submitted via cable, fax, e-mail, or pouch.  Embassies may submit more than one abstract.  The Center considers each abstract on its own merit.  If invited to submit full applications to Round 2, the AFCP Program Office will include detailed instructions on how to do so in the Round 2 invitations.



  1. Round 1 Project Abstract Requirements (Deadline: December 3, 2018): Once the embassy has selected potential applicants and projects, preferably through an open competition process, it must work to obtain the Round 1 abstract items below.  All submitted documents must be in English.


Project abstracts must include or address the following (Note: The list includes items required by 2 CFR 200 and State Department federal assistance regulations):


  1. Full and complete 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)
  2. Project basics, including title, project dates, location, and site
  3. Project applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status
  4. Special designations (national monument, World Heritage Site, etc.)
  5. Law(s) protecting the site or collection (citations only)
  6. Project purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results
  7. Statement of importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the site or collection


  1. Round 2 Full Application Requirements (Deadline: February 15, 2019): The Center may invite embassies to submit full project applications upon favorable review of their abstracts.  The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and the eligibility requirements specified above.  Furthermore, to be considered complete, they must include:


  1. Revised project abstract, if needed
  2. Revised SF-424, if needed
  3. 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
  4. Project activities description that presents the project tasks in chronological order (Note: If the proposed project is part of a larger effort involving multiple projects supported by other entities, the plan must present the full scope of the preservation effort and the place of the proposed project within that larger effort)
  5. Project time frame or schedule that lists the major project phases and milestones with target dates for achieving them (Note: Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months [five years]; projects must begin before September 30, 2019, and conclude no later than September 30, 2024)
  6. Project participant information, including resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants
  7. Statement of urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now
  8. Statement of sustainability outlining the steps or measures that will be taken to maintain the site or collection in good condition after the AFCP-supported project is complete
  9. Detailed project budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2019, 2020, 2021, 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
  10. 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
  11. Ten 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.)
  12. 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


  1. Cost Sharing and Other Forms of Cost Participation: There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required for this competition.  When an applicant offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its application and later included in an approved agreement.  The applicant 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. DUNS Number and SAM Registration: Applicants must have 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 submitting full applications.  It is mandatory for applicants to have a DUNS and registration unless they meet one of the exemptions specified in the Federal Assistance Directive (http://a.m.state.sbu/sites/OPE/FA/SitePages/Policy.aspx).  Note: The DUNS/NCAGE/ process can take weeks/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 SAM 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 mission.  Registration in SAM is free:


  1. Abstract and Application Selection Criteria:  The Center will review and select Round 1 project abstracts 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 applications ineligible if the project abstracts or the full project applications do not fully adhere to AFCP 2019 Large Grants Program objectives, requirements, and other criteria stated herein.


  1. Project Abstract Screening (Round 1): The Center will screen all project abstracts for technical eligibility based on the objectives, priorities, requirements, ineligible activities, and unallowable costs contained in this funding opportunity.  The Center may deem abstracts ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the criteria stated herein.  It will forward the technically eligible abstracts to the relevant regional bureaus for comment.  The Center may forward project abstracts for advisory peer review to other federal agency personnel with relevant experience.  On or around December 21, 2018, the Center will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full applications.


  1. Full Application Review and Selection (Round 2):  The Center will convene a technical advisory panel of subject matter experts from elsewhere within the U.S. government to review the applications and provide comment.  It will also forward the applications to the relevant regional bureaus for comment.  ECA will submit a comprehensive funding recommendation to the Department’s Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP) and request that BP make funds available to the embassies through the Department’s regional bureaus for the recommended AFCP projects.  ECA may consult with the Senate Committee on Appropriations prior to making the funding recommendation.

30.  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 application budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.