2020 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Small Grant Competition



The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo is accepting project proposals ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 for the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2020 Competition.

U.S. ambassadors in eligible countries may submit proposals for projects to preserve cultural heritage in the host country. This competitive global fund was established to help countries preserve cultural heritage and to demonstrate U.S. respect for other cultures. The projects selected to receive funding under this program will advance U.S. diplomatic goals and demonstrate the depth of U.S. respect for the cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The deadline for submitting proposals to the Embassy is before or on Friday, November 29, 2019.  Completed project proposals must be submitted in English electronically to BHEXC@state.gov with 2020 AFCP Small Grant Competition in the subject line. 

Full implementation of the AFCP 2020 program is pending the availability of FY 2020 funds and an approved financial plan.

COMPETITION FORMAT: Embassies will submit proposals, which are developed in conjunction with an eligible applicant (scroll down for more info). This is an internal competition among embassies for funding, not an open competition.

Applicants are due to submit completed project abstracts in English electronically to BHEXC@state.gov with 2020 AFCP Large Grant Competition in the subject line by Friday, November 29, 2019.


  • Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  • Program Authority: “Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961” (P.L. 87-256 Sec 102 (b) (5), as amended) Pub. L. No. 87-256, § 102(b)(5)
  • CFDA Number: 19.025
  • Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: $10,000 per project
  • Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: $200,000 per project

DISCLAIMER: Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the AFCP program or the U.S. government.

AFCP PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: The U.S. Embassy and ECA’s Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) requests proposals for funding in FY 2020 for projects to preserve cultural heritage in less developed countries through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). The projects recommended by a review panel for funding under this program will advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and demonstrate American leadership in the preservation and protection of cultural heritage around the world.

BACKGROUND: The Department of State (DOS) established the AFCP at the request of the Congress, reflected in the Conference Report on the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2001 (P. L. 106-553). The Senate report on this bill noted that the preservation of cultural heritage offers an opportunity to show a different American face to the world, one that is non-commercial, non-political, and non-military.

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

  • CULTURAL SITES: conservation of an ancient or historic building, preservation of an archaeological site, or documentation of cultural sites in a region for preservation purposes
  • CULTURAL OBJECTS AND COLLECTIONS: conservation treatment for an object or collection of objects from a museum, site, or similar institution—that include, but are not limited to, archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, and general museum conservation needs; needs assessment of a collection with respect to its condition and strategies for improving its state of conservation; inventory of a collection for conservation and protection 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: documentation and audiovisual recording of traditional music, indigenous languages and dance forms for broad dissemination as the means of teaching and further preserving them, or support for training in the preservation of traditional applied arts or crafts in danger of extinction

FUNDING PRIORITIES—SPECIFIC TO THE AFCP 2020 ANNUAL COMPETITION: Proposals for projects that meet one or more of the following criteria will receive consideration in FY 2020:

  • Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations, such as cultural property protection agreements;
  • Preserve World Heritage sites;
  • Support risk reduction and disaster preparedness for cultural sites and collections in seismically active and other disaster-prone areas; and
  • Engage women, youth, or under-served communities.

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 Embassy 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 SAM.gov 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. Embassy must ensure the applicants are able to receive support from the U.S. Government and AFCP grants in accordance with AFCP program policies.
  2. INELIGIBLE ACTIVITIESAND UNALLOWABLE COSTS: AFCP will NOTsupport the following activities or costs, and applications involving any of the activities or costs 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.)
  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 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
  23. Travel or study outside the host country for professional development
  24. Individual projects costing less than $10,000 or more than $200,000
  25. Independent U.S. projects overseas


  1. NON-ELIGIBLE PROJECT APPLICANTS: AFCP does not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or to embassies or past award recipients which have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous AFCP awards.
  2. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: Once potential implementers and projects have been selected by embassies, preferably through an open competition process, embassies will work with the applicants to obtain the items below. All documents must be submitted in English.

Use the Application form with accompanying budget form to present the information required at this stage of the competition.  Supporting documentation can be sent in jpeg and pdf.


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

  • 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);
  • Project Basics, including title, project dates, and AFCP focus area;
  • Project Applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status (see Section 19 below);
  • Project Location;
  • Proof of Official Permission to undertake the project;
  • Project Purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results;
  • Project Activities Description that presents the project tasks in chronological order;
  • 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, 2020, and conclude no later than September 30, 2024);
  • Project Participant Information, specifically an estimated number of non-US and US participants and estimated number of primary and secondary participants, as well as resumes of the proposed project director and other primary project participants;
  • Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural site, collection, or form of traditional expression;
  • Statement of Urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now;
  • Statement of Sustainability 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;
  • Detailed Project Budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2020, 2021, 2022, etc.), that lists all costs in separate categories (Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Travel [including Per Diem], Equipment, Supplies, Contractual, Other Direct Costs, Indirect Costs, Cost Sharing); indicates funds from other sources; and gives a justification for any anticipated international travel costs (templates available upon request from the Center);
  • Budget Narrative explaining line by line how costs are estimated (quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project, etc.) and unique budget line items;
  • Attachments and Supporting Documents including, at a minimum and REQUIRED, five (5) high quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature and condition of the site, object, or form of expression and, in the case of a site or object, show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing wall, water damage, worn fabric, broken handle, etc.), any historic structure reports, conservation needs assessments, and other planning documents compiled in preparation for the proposed project;
  • Media and Outreach Plan, describing how applicant intends to highlight and amplify U.S. government support for AFCP programs through existing print, electronic, and social media platforms;
  • Monitoring Plan, written by the embassy, describing how it intends to monitor project progress and grantee performance (sample templates available upon request from the Center);
  1. COST SHARING AND OTHER FORMS OF COST PARTICIPATION:There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required for this competition. When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal 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.

Applicants requesting $25,000 or more in federal assistance 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 applications.

It is mandatory for applicants to have a DUNS and SAM.gov registration 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 DUNS/NCAGE/SAM.gov 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. Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code here. SAM is the official, free on-line

registration database for the U.S. government. SAM.gov replaced the Central Contractor

Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the

Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in July 2012. SAM.gov collects, validates, stores, and

disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award missions.

Registration in SAM is free: http://sam.gov

  1. AFCP POINT-BASED RATING SYSTEM:U.S. embassy will rate all applications based on the program funding priorities; the quality, soundness, and comprehensiveness of the proposed project and budget; the urgency of the proposed project; the quality and quantity of supporting materials, such as resumes of the key project participants, images of the resource, and notices of official permission from the responsible resource steward, such as a ministry of culture.
  • Proposals will be rated as follows:
  • Purpose and Summary, Description, Time Frame, Importance: 20 points max
  • Urgency: 10 points max
  • Sustainability: 10 points max
  • Rationale for U.S. Support: 15 points max
  • Media and Outreach Plan: 15 points max
  • Budget and Budget Narrative: 15 points max
  • Supporting Materials: 15 points max

DISCLAIMER: Explanatory information provided by the Embassy that contradicts published language is not binding.