Call for Proposals – Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2020 Small Grants Program

Call for Proposals – Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation: 2020 Small Grants Program
Application Deadline: December 13, 2019

Email application: 

Summary:  The Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is accepting project applications for the 2020 Small Grants Competition of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).  The deadline for submitting applications to the Center is December 13, 2019.

AFCP 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 non-military.”  The projects recommended for funding advance U.S. foreign policy goals and show American respect for cultural heritage.  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.

Award Information:

a) Funding Instrument Type: Grant

b) Program Authorization: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended, Pub. L. No. 87-256, § 102(b)(5)

c) CFDA Number: 19.025

d) Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: US $10,000 per project

e) Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $200,000 per project

f) Anticipated Number of Awards: 25-35

In FY 2019, awards made through this program ranged from US $25,000 to US $200,000.

Eligible Countries: The AFCP 2020 Small Grants Competition is open to U.S. ambassadors serving in countries whose eligibility is based on the country’s rank in the 2018 UN Human Development Index. In the event there is no ambassador present, the chargé d’affaires may apply.  Constituent posts should consult their embassy public affairs section.

Eligible Project Applicants: The Center defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities 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.  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.  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.  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 posts that place their AFCP project in the context of a greater PD programming arc promoting a specific foreign policy goal, and show they continue to monitor and utilize previous AFCP project sites.

Funding Areas: The AFCP 2020 Small Grants Competition supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression.  Appropriate project activities may include:

a) In the case of 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

b) In the case of cultural objects and collections:  conservation needs assessments and treatment, 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

c) In the case of 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: Applications for projects that do one or more of the following will receive additional consideration in FY 2020:

a) Support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations

b) Support U.S. Embassy Integrated Country Strategies

c) Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas

d) Support post-disaster cultural heritage recovery

e) Preserve World Heritage sites

f) Partner, connect with or feed into other ECA programs

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.  ECA encourages embassies considering preservation projects with a religious connection to contact the AFCP Program Director.

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.

Application and Submission Information: U.S. embassies in eligible countries shall submit completed project applications electronically on behalf of applicants through the AFCP application website (  The Center cannot accept applications submitted via cable, fax, e-mail, or pouch.  Embassies may submit more than one project application.  The Center considers each application on its own merit.

Application Closing Date: December 13, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

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.