U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation

NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The 2021 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

Award Information: 

  1. Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  2. Program Authorization: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-256, § 102(b)(5))c)CFDA Number: 19.025
  3. Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: US $10,000 per project
  4. Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $500,000 per project
  5. Anticipated Number of Awards: 30-40 (worldwide)

The U.S. Embassy to Malawi is now accepting project applications for grants for the 2021 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).  The deadline for submitting applications is November 20, 2020.  The grants awards will range from USD $10,000 to $500,000 per project.

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

Eligible Project Applicants:  Eligible project applicants include reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that are 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.  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.

Funding Areas:  The AFCP 2021 Grants Competition  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 additional consideration:

  1. Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations;
  2. Directly support U.S. policies, strategies and objectives in Malawi
  3. Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas or post-disastercultural heritage recovery;
  4. Support conflict resolution and help communities bridge differences;
  5. 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: 

  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, 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. projects overseas.

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

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 Review Process:

This year, there are two stages of project approval: a preliminary, simple concept note; and for those concept notes approved for the next step, followed later by a full application

Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline to the Embassy: November 20, 2020):

Each concept note submitted must include:

  1. Project basics, including working title, anticipated project length (in months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested from AFCP; in U.S. dollars);
  2. Project implementer information, including name and SAM registration status;
  3. Project purpose that summarizes the objectives, proposed activities, and desired results
  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 (Deadline to the Embassy: March 8, 2021):

The Center will invite embassies 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 dates;
  2. Project activities description and timeframe that present the project tasks in chronological order and list the major milestones with target dates for achieving them (Note: Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months [five years]);
  3. Theory of change that describes how the project activities and outputs will help achieve any broader host country or community aims or objectives(For example, if a broader goal is economic development, how will the activities and outputs directly contribute towards achieving that goal?);
  4. Statement of importance highlighting the historical, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural heritage;
  5. 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;
  6. Implementer public awareness plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms;
  7. 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;
  8. Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and keyproject participants;
  9. Detailed project budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2021, 2022, 2023, 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. 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);
  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;
  13. 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 site or museum collection and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, extensive water damage, etc.)

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

The Center will conduct its review process in late 2020 and early 2021. It will review and select Round 1 project concept notes 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 concept notes and full applications ineligible if they do not fully adhere to AFCP 2021 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 onthe following criteria:
  • anticipated preservation and public diplomacy impacts;
  • Potential contributions to U.S. foreign policy;
  • Potential contributions to host-country or community objectives and aims.
  1. 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. On or around January 13, 2021, the Center will notify embassies ofthe Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full project proposals to Round 2.
  2. Full application review and selection (Round 2): The Center will review and rate the full project proposals 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.
  3. Full application rating schema: The Center will rate full applications using the following point-based system:
  • Purpose, Description, and Importance (20 points max)
  • Rationale for U.S. Support (20 points max)
  • Embassy Media and Applicant Outreach Plans (15 points max)
  • Support for wider host country or community objectives (5 points max)
  • Maintenance Plan (15 points max)
  • Budget and Budget Narrative (15 points max)
  • Supporting Materials (resumes, images, etc.; 10 points max)
  • Innovative integration, collaboration, or coordination with other ECA and public diplomacy programs (additional 10 points max)

Award Announcement: ECA will announce the results of the AFCP 2021 Grants Program via cable once the Department’s FY 2021 funding levels are known and a congressional spend plan is approved. It will send a second cable describing the process for executing AFCP awards. Note: These cables are not authorization to begin performance. The period of performance begins once a countersigned DS-1909 is in hand

Application and Submission Information:  Contact the Cultural Affairs Section of the Public Affairs Office via email at LilongwePAS@State.gov, with the subject line: “Submission for the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.”

Application Closing Dates:

1st Round (Concept Note):Thursday, November 20, 2020, 17:00 Malawi time.

2nd Round Full Application March 8, 2021, 17:00 Malawi time.

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 2021 award recipients must submit performance progress reports, federal financial status reports, and final reports on time as specified in the Notice of Award. Upon completion of an AFCP project, the Center will also ask implementers to respond to an online survey about their project and experience with the AFCP program. 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 Congress and other documents.

DUNS Number and SAM Registration: An implementing partner must have a unique entity identifier (UEI), such as 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 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 DUNS, NCAGE, and SAM.gov processes can take weeks or 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 http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx. SAM.gov  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 July2012. 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.

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.