U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2024 Small Grants Program Funding Opportunity

Open Call for Proposals 2024


Funding Opportunity Title:

Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Protection

Deadline for Applications:

January 05, 2024

Total Amount Available:

$10,000 – $500,000



The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador is now accepting ROUND 1 concept notes for the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) fiscal year 2024 competition.  The deadline for submitting ROUND 1 proposal to the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador is January 05, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.  Submissions received after this date and time will NOT be considered.

Full implementation of the program is pending the availability of FY 2024 funds.  Interested institutions are urged to consult with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible for details and guidance on the AFCP 2024 competition.

Through the AFCP Program, the Department of State supports projects to preserve cultural heritage in the following three areas:

  • CULTURAL SITES: This might include (but is not limited to) historical buildings and sites, sacred places, monuments, and archaeological sites.  Proposals in this category may involve, for example, restoration of an historic building, an archaeological survey as a component of a preservation plan, preservation management planning for a site, or documentation of sites in a region for preservation purposes.
  • CULTURAL OBJECTS AND COLLECTIONS: from a museum, cultural site, or similar institution.  This includes archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, photographic and film collections, and general museum conservation activities.  Proposals in this category may involve, for example, conservation treatment for an object or collection of objects; needs assessment of a collection with respect to its condition and strategies for improving its state of conservation; inventory of a collection for conservation purposes; the creation of safe environments for storage or display of collections; or specialized training in the care and preservation of collections.
  • FORMS OF TRADITIONAL CULTURAL EXPRESSION: This includes traditional music, rituals, knowledge, languages, dance, drama, and crafts.  Proposal in this category may involve documenting and audiovisual recording of traditional music and dance forms as part of a traditional expression and making the information and recordings available, or support for training in preservation or traditional arts or crafts that are threatened by extinction.


Regarding 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 based on architectural, artistic, historical, or other cultural (not religious) criteria.

AFCP Program Objectives:

AFCP was established to help countries preserve cultural heritage and to demonstrate U.S. respect for other cultures.  The aim is to preserve cultural sites or objects that have an historical or cultural significance to the cultural heritage of El Salvador.

AFCP gives top priority to project activities in keeping with international standards for the preservation of cultural heritage.  An appropriate preservation activity is one that protects the values of the site, object or collection, or form of traditional cultural expression, as they are understood by stakeholders.  Stakeholders may include national, regional, or local cultural authorities, the local community, and others with vested interests in the site and the outcome of a project.

Competition Format:

The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador will select project proposals using a process with two rounds.  During Round 1, applicant will submit a concept note focused on the project purpose, objectives and impact that may be accomplished through the proposed project.  Applicants invited to participate in Round 2 will flesh out the technical aspects of the proposed project and submit a full application.  Awards will range from $10,000 to $500,000.

The submission of a concept note to participate in Round 1 does not mean that the applicant will be invited to continue this process in Round 2.


  • Funding instrument type: Grant
  • Length of performance period: up to 60 months 
  • Number of awards anticipated: 1
  • Award amounts: awards may range from $10,000 to a maximum of $500,000.
  • Type of Funding:  Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended, Pub. L. No. 87-256, § 102(b)(5)
  • Anticipated program start date: Depending on availability of funds


1.  Eligible Applicants: The U.S. Embassy defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that are registered and active in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management (SAM) at SAM.gov and able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.  This may include 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.

The U.S. Embassy will 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.

Past AFCP award recipients may submit applications for continuation funds under this opportunity.

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 AFCP awards.  Preference will be given to applicants that place their AFCP project in the context of a greater cultural programming.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: Cost share is not required.

3. Other Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier as well as a valid registration on https://www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.


Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline: January 05, 2024): Eligible entities or interested organizations must submit concept notes electronically no later than January 05, 2024, at midnight. The concept note must be written in English and sent to hubbardld@state.gov with attention to Mrs. Beth Kuch, Cultural Affairs Officer.  Applicants can use the suggested template which can be downloaded from this page.  Concept notes must include:

a) Project basics, including working title, anticipated project length (Note: Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested from AFCP; in U.S. dollars).

b) Project implementer.

c) Scope of work summarizing (1) the preservation goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; and (2) any broader host country or community goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; (i.e., what you hope to gain from the project beyond the preserved heritage and how you plan to get there; 2,000 characters maximum).

d) Rationale for AFCP support, explaining why it’s in the interests of the U.S. government to fund the project, specifically:

  • How the project relates to the objectives of the U.S. Mission in El Salvador (1,000 characters maximum).  These include:

Violence Prevention

Economic Prosperity

Good Governance/Rule of Law

  • The projected public diplomacy benefits and impacts of the project (1,000 characters maximum).

e) 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.).

Content of Application
Please ensure:

Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) (NOTE:  This section is required and not optional)

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge.

An implementing partner must be registered in the U.S. government’s 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 (https://usdos.sharepoint.com/sites/A-OPE/FA/SitePages/Policy.aspx) .

The SAM registration process, which requires either a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) or a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code, can take weeks or months, especially for non-U.S. applicants.

Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx.

SAM will assign a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) automatically to any entity registering or renewing its record in the system. http://fedgov.dnb.com/webformRegistration  in SAM is free: https://sam.gov/ .

Submission Dates and Times:

Concept notes are due no later than January 05, 2024, 11:59 p.m.

Funding Restrictions:

AFCP does not support the following:

  • 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 proposal submission;
  • 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 (newspaper, newsreels, etc.);
  • Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.);
  • Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use;
  • Archaeological excavations or surveys for research purposes;
  • Historical research, except in cases where historical research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  • Acquisition or creation of new collections for new or existing museums;
  • Construction of new buildings;
  • 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 re-creation of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
  • Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location or 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 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 and may not be used to create an endowment or revolving fund or otherwise spent over many years;
  • Costs of fund-raising campaigns for preservation;
  • Operating expenses, i.e. expenses incurred during the day-to-day operational activities of an organization, such as, office rent, utilities, license fees, and other costs for administrative time, services, or materials not directly related to performing project work;
  • Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous fees;
  • Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award;
  • International travel, except in cases where travel for outside specialists is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  • Individual projects costing less than US $10,000; or
  • Awards to individuals or commercial entities
  • Strong encouragement is given to local non-U.S. government source cost-sharing (including in-kind) from sources such as governments, international organizations, and the private sector.


Criteria: The U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Office will review and evaluates proposals at least once per year.

For Round 1, concept notes are evaluated based on the theme of the project, the formulation of clear goals and target groups, project sustainability, and the ability of the applying organization to carry out the project aims.

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal.

Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Review and Selection Process: U.S. Embassy in San Salvador will evaluate all eligible applications.  You may be invited to submit a complete project proposal if your concept note is selected by the Cultural Heritage Center at the State Department in Washington D.C. for Round 2.  Notification of this will be done via email.  Further instructions on the components of a complete application for Round 2 will be provided opportunely.


If you have any questions about this process, please contact: HubbardLD@state.gov. 


  • Read once again the guidelines that describe the AFCP Program.  Make sure you understand those guidelines and that your proposal fits the purposes it discusses.
  • Carefully review the application to make sure it is complete and free of errors.
  • Ask someone who does not know anything about your project to read your proposal to determine if it is understandable. Remember that the U.S. Embassy will not know anything about your proposal until they read it.  If they cannot understand it simply by reading what you have written, it will not be approved.
  • Ask someone with experience applying for grants to look at the application and provide advice on improving it.
  • Make sure the application is neatly typed and easy to read in English.  Perfect English is not required but the proposal must be understandable to an English speaker.
  • Applications which do not include the required information or do not comply with the requirements of the Program guidelines will not be reviewed.

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 Department of State 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.