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The application for the AFCP 2024 Grants Program is now OPEN. 

NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The 2024 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP)


Program Description: 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to participating U.S. embassies for funding through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) to carry out an individual project to preserve cultural heritage in a specific priority country.  Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government.  Full implementation of this program is subject to the availability of funds.  Please follow all instructions below. 

 The U.S. Embassy in Belize is now accepting applications for the 2024 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).  The deadline for submitting applications is December 29, 2023.  Please carefully read this Notice of Funding Opportunity in its entirety for details on the requirements. 

 Federal Award Information:  

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Grants Program 

  • Funding Opportunity Number: AFCP-2024-GP 
  • Deadline for Applications: December 29, 2023 
  • CFDA Number: 19.025 
  • Length of Performance Period: 12 to 60 months 
  • Anticipated Project Start Date: Varies by project. 

This notice is subject to availability of Fiscal Year 2024 funds. 

Website: https://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation   

Notice of Funding Opportunity: PDF File 

 Eligible Applicants: 

The following entities are eligible to apply: 

  • Foreign Institution of Higher Education 
  • Foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) 
  • Foreign Public Entity, where permitted 
  • U.S. Non-Profit Organization (501(c)(3)) 
  • U.S. Institution of Higher Education 

 Eligible project applicants include reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that can demonstrate that they have the requisite capacity and permission 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.  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. 

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all entities must be registered and active in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management (SAM) onwww.SAM.gov.  Please see further below for information on how to obtain this registration. 

 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: 

  1. Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts) 
  2. Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to an object or site) 
  3. Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of an object or site) 
  4. Documentation (recording in analog or digital format the condition and salient features of an object, site, or tradition) 
  5. Inventory (listing of objects, sites, or traditions by location, feature, age, or other unifying characteristic or state) 
  6. Preventive Conservation (addressing conditions that threaten or damage a site, object, collection, or tradition) 
  7. 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). 
  8. Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance of an object or site). 

 Funding Priorities: 

Applications for projects that do one or more of the following will receive preference: 

  1. Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations. 
  2. Directly support U.S. policies, strategies, and objectives in Belize. 
  3. Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas or post-disaster cultural heritage recovery. 
  4. Partner, connect with, or feed into other ECA or public diplomacy programs. 

Sites and Objects that have a Religious Connection: The AFCP award may include religious objects and sites 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. 

Ineligible Activities and Unallowable Costs: 

AFCP does not support the following activities or costs, and applications involving any of the activities or costs listed below will be deemed 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.) unless the natural heritage has a cultural heritage connection or dimension. 
  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, documentation, or public diplomacy 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 unless allowable per 2 CFR 200.458 and approved by the Grants Officer. 
  22. 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. 
  23. Individual projects costing less than US $10,000 or more than $500,000. 
  24. Independent U.S. and foreign projects overseas that do not have a local partner or a pre-existing formal agreement with the national cultural authority in the specified country to conduct cultural heritage preservation activities. 

Awarded projects must publicly recognize U.S. government support, for example, in signage, pamphlets, websites, etc. 

 Cost Sharing or Matching: 

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. 


Application Submission and Review Process: 

There are two stages of project approval: 1) a preliminary concept note, and 2) only for those concept notes approved for the next step, a full application. 

 Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline to the U.S. Embassy: December 29, 2023): 

Each concept note submission must include: 

  1. 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). 
  2. Project Implementer, including name and status of SAM registration. 
  3. Project Scope of Work summarizing the preservation goals and any broader host country or community goals (i.e., what they hope to gain from the project beyond the preserved heritage and how they plan to get there; 3,000 characters maximum). 
  4. 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.). 

Round 2 Full Application Requirements (Please note that this only applies to selected applicants from Round 1): 

The U.S. Embassy will invite those selected in Round 1 to submit full applications.  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: 

  1. Project Activities Description and Timeframe that present the project tasks in chronological order and list the major milestones with target dates for achieving them. 
  2. Statement of Importance highlighting the historical, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural heritage. 
  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. Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, social media, and other means. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants. 
  7. Detailed Project Budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2024, 2025, 2026, 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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). 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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 heritage and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, extensive water damage, etc.). 

The U.S. Embassy will submit all fully completed and eligible applications to The Cultural Heritage Center (Center) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department for the worldwide competition. 

 The Center will begin its formal review of concept notes in early 2024.  It will review and select Round 1 project concept notes and full project applications (Round 2) in consultation with the regional bureau public diplomacy offices and taking into consideration the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and other application requirements.  The Center may deem concept notes and full applications ineligible if they do not fully adhere to AFCP 2024 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 embassy and implementer responses to the Round 1 Concept Note requirements. 
  2. 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.  In the spring of 2024, the Center will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full project proposals to Round 2. 
  3. Full application review and selection (Round 2): The Center will review and rate the full project applications 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. 
  4. Full application rating schema: The Center will rate full applications using the following point-based system: 
  • Clarity and completeness of Scope of Work (20 points max) 
  • Importance (10 points max) 
  • Clarity and completeness of applicant public awareness plan (10 points) 
  • Clarity and completeness of embassy outreach plan (10 points) 
  • Maintenance Plan (10 points max) 
  • Budget and Budget Narrative (20 points max) 
  • Supporting Materials (resumes, assessments, reports, images, etc.; (10 points max) 
  • Innovative integration, collaboration, or coordination with other ECA and public diplomacy programs (10 points max) 

 Award Announcement:  

ECA will announce the results of the AFCP 2024 Grants Program to U.S. Embassies worldwide once the Department’s FY 2024 funding levels are established and a congressional spend plan is approved.  It will also send information describing the process for executing AFCP awards.  Note: These notifications are not authorizations to begin performance.  The period of performance begins once a countersigned DS-1909 is received by the U.S. Embassy from the grantee. 


Concept Note/Application Submission Information: 

 Please submit your Round 1 Concept Note to BelmopanPA@state.gov with the subject “2024 AFCP Concept Note” 


Application Closing Dates: 

1st Round (Concept Note): December 17, 2023. 

2nd Round (if selected, Full Application): March 2024. 

 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. 

 Performance and Deliverables:  

AFCP 2024 award recipients must submit performance progress reports, federal financial status reports, and final reports on time as specified in the Notice of Award.  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 U.S. Congress and other documents. 


SAM Registration: 

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.  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 an NCAGE code athttps://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.  Registration in SAM is free:https://sam.gov/  

 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.