CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2020 Large Grants Competition

2010 Recipient of AFCP Large Grant, the Arts Council of Mongolia, secured the fire prevention, theft security, and electrical systems within one of oldest cultural sites in Mongolia, the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. For more information:


Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2020 Large Grants Competition

The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the 2020 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Large Grants Competition.  Abstracts for projects in Mongolia must be received by 12:00 (noon) on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.  Abstracts must be submitted in English by email to If abstracts advance to Round 2, the deadline for submitting full project proposals will be in late – February, 2020. Past recipients of awards through the AFCP Large Grants Program may submit applications for continuation funds.




Since its inception in 2001, AFCP has helped preserve cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in Mongolia and around the world. Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. By taking a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. shows its respect for other cultures. AFCP-supported projects include the restoration of ancient and historic buildings, assessment and conservation of rare manuscripts and museum collections, preservation and protection of important archaeological sites, and the documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques and indigenous languages.


This opportunity consists of two application rounds: Round 1 (Project Abstract) and Round 2 (Full Application). During Round 1, embassies shall submit project abstracts developed in conjunction with eligible applicants. If, after the technical review, rating, and ranking of abstracts, ECA invites an applicant to advance to Round 2, the Embassy in coordination with the applicant shall submit a full project application on the applicant’s behalf.


  • Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  • Program Authorization: “Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961” P.L. 87-256 Sec 102(b)(5)
  • CFDA Number: 19.025
  • Floor on Amount of Awards: US $200,000 per project
  • Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $800,000 per project
  • Anticipated Number of Awards Worldwide: 5-10

In FY 2019, awards made through this program ranged from US $245,000 to US $500,000. 


The AFCP Large Grants Program supports the preservation of major ancient archaeological sites, historic buildings and monuments, and major museum collections that are accessible to the public and protected by law in the host country.  Appropriate project activities may include:

1)      Preventive conservation (addressing conditions that damage or threaten the site)

2)      Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance [e.g., settling, collapse] of a site)

3)      Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to a collection or sites)

4)      Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of a site)

5)      Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts)

6)      Restoration (replacing missing elements to recreate the original appearance of a site, usually appropriate only with fine arts, decorative arts, and historic buildings)


Applications for projects that do one or more of the following will receive additional consideration in FY 2020.

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

2)      Support U.S. Embassy Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals

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

4)      Support post-disaster cultural heritage recovery

5)      Preserve World Heritage sites

6)      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. Applicants considering preservation projects with a religious connection are encouraged to contact the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy at with any questions.

ELIGIBLE PROJECT APPLICANTS:  AFCP defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable noncommercial 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 and able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.  The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia vets applicants for eligibility, suitability, and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities.


AFCP will not support 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 $200,000 or more than $800,000

25)  Independent U.S. projects overseas

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.


  1. 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)
  2. Project Basics, including title, project dates, location, and site.
  3. Project Applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status.

Note on DUNS Number and SAM Registration: Applicants 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 full applications. It is mandatory for applicants to have a DUNS and registration. The DUNS/NCAGE/ 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 at Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at SAM is the official, free on-line registration database for the U.S. government. replaced the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in July 2012. collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award missions. Registration in SAM is free:

  1. Special Designations (national monument, World Heritage Site, etc.).
  2. Law/s Protecting the Site or Collection (citations only).
  3. Project Purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results.
  4. Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the site or collection.
  5. Statement of Urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now
  6. At a minimum and required, five (5) high quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature and condition of the site or collection and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, water damage, etc.)


  1. Revised project abstract, if needed
  2. Revised SF-424, if needed
  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. 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])
  5. Resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants

Project participant information, including resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants

  1. Detailed project budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2020, 2020, 2021, 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.

Note on 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.

  1. Budget narrative explaining how the costs were estimated (e.g., quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project) and any large budget line items
  2. Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. As requested by the AFCP Program Office 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 (e.g., collapsing walls, extensive water damage)


PROJECT SELECTION CRITERIA: U.S. Embassy in Mongolia and the Cultural Heritage Center (The Center) at ECA will review and select Round 1 project abstracts and full project applications (Round 2) in consultation with the regional bureaus according to the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, ineligible activities and unallowable costs, and other application requirements. The Center may deem applications ineligible if the project abstracts or the full project applications do not fully adhere to AFCP 2020 Large Grants Program objectives, requirements, and other neutral criteria stated herein.

PROJECT ABSTRACT REVIEW AND SELECTION (ROUND 1): The Center will screen all project abstracts for technical eligibility based on the objectives, priorities, requirements, ineligible activities, and unallowable costs contained in this funding opportunity. It will forward the technically eligible abstracts to the relevant regional bureaus for comment. The Center may forward project abstracts for advisory peer review to other federal agency personnel with relevant experience. On or around January 10, 2020, the Center will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full applications.

FULL APPLICATION REVIEW AND SELCTION (ROUND 2): The Center will convene a technical

advisory panel of subject matter experts from elsewhere within the U.S. government to review the applications and provide comment. It will also forward the applications to the relevant regional bureaus for comment. ECA will submit a comprehensive funding recommendation to the Department’s Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP) and request that BP make funds available to the embassies through the Department’s regional bureaus for the recommended AFCP projects. ECA may consult with the Senate Committee on Appropriations prior to making the funding recommendation. 


Explanatory information provided by the Center that contradicts published language is not binding. Issuance of this Notice of Funding Opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. Government. The Center reserves the right to waive program formalities and to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements as specified above and in the Notice of Award.



AFCP_Suggested Format_Large Grants (PDF 132 KB)

AFCP_2020_Budget (Xlsx 19 KB)





AFCP_2019_Glossary (PDF 370 KB)

AFCP_2019_Image_Guidelines (PDF 643 KB)


AFCP_2019_Resources (PDF 301 KB)