CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2020 Small Grants Competition

"Conserving and Preserving Mongolia’s Endangered Textile Traditions and Collections" Project will kickoff this winter with AFCP 2019 winner from Mongolia the American Center for Mongolian Studies. In the picture: Mongolian National Museum staff interweaves stacked, crated garments with a Muslin slin

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2020 Small Grants Competition

The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar is pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2020 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Small Grants Competition.  Proposals for projects in Mongolia must be received by 12:00 (noon) on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.  Proposals must be submitted in English by email to


The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) provides grant support to cultural heritage preservation in developing countries. By assuming a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. government shows its respect for other cultures. The U.S. Embassy oversees the receipt of proposals and implementation of selected projects.


  • Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  • Program Authorization: “Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961” (P.L. 87-256 Sec 102(b)(5), as amended)
  • CFDA Number: 19.025
  • Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: U.S. $10,000 per project
  • Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: U.S. $200,000 per project
  • Anticipated Number of Awards Worldwide: 25-35

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

  1. 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:

1)  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 purposes2)  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 collections3)  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.

3.       FUNDING PRIORITIES: 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 Strategies

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

4)      Support post-disaster cultural heritage recovery

5)      Preserve World Heritage sites

  1. 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. 
  1. Eligible Project Applicants: The 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 vets applicants for eligibility, suitability, and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities.
  2. Ineligible Project Applicants: AFCP does not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or to embassies or past award recipients that have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous AFCP awards.
  3. Ineligible Activities and Unallowable Costs: 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 $10,000 or more than $200,000

25)  Independent U.S. projects overseas


All interested applicants are encouraged to begin the application process early to allow time to address technical difficulties that may arise before the deadline.  Proposals must include the following:

  1. Full and complete Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424), including Budget Information for Non-Construction Program (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, and AFCP focus area
  3. Project Applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status:

Note: 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. Project Location / Site
  1. Proof of Official Permission to undertake the project the project from the office, agency, or organization that either owns or is otherwise responsible for the preservation and protection of the site, object, or collection.
  2. Project Purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results
  3. Project Activities description that presents the project tasks in chronological order (Note: If the proposed project is part of a larger effort involving multiple projects supported by other entities, the plan must present the full scope of the preservation effort and the place of the proposed project within that larger effort)
  4. Project Duration that lists the major project phases and milestones with target dates for achieving them. Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months (5 years).
  5. Project Participant Information, specifically an estimated number of non-U.S. and U.S. participants and estimated number of primary and secondary participants, as well as resumes of the proposed project director and other primary project participants;
  6. Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural site, collection, or form of traditional expression;
  7. Statement of Urgency explaining why the project must take place now;
  8. Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms
  9. Maintenance Plan outlining the steps or measures that will be taken to maintain and sustain 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
  10. 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 provides 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 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.  Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.

  1. Budget Narrative explaining any large budget line items, detailing how costs were estimated (for ex: quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project, etc.) and justifying any proposed international travel costs (Note: Applicants may include narrative within the budget sheet)
  2. 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 walls, 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


The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar must receive all proposals by noon or 12:00 on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. Project proposals are received only in English language via email The U.S. Embassy’s AFCP Selection Committee will shortlist nominations for submission to reviewers in the AFCP office of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in Washington, DC.

Reviewers at ECA will then evaluate all applications using a point-based system (delineated below). ECA will rate all applications based on: AFCP program funding priorities; the quality, soundness, and comprehensiveness of the proposed project and budget; the urgency of the proposed project; the rationale for U.S. support of the project supplied by the applying U.S. Embassy; 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. The selection period takes up to 6-7 months after the applicant’s proposal submission.

AFCP POINT-BASED RATING SYSTEM: Applications will be rated as follows:

  1. Purpose and Summary, Description, Time Frame, Importance: 25 points max
  2. Urgency: 15 points max
  3. Maintenance Plan: 10 points max
  4. Rationale for U.S. Support: 15 points max
  5. Media and Outreach Plan: 10 points max
  6. Budget and Budget Narrative: 15 points max
  7. Supporting Materials: 10 points max

Once the ECA bureau has completed its initial screening and rating of all Embassy-submitted applications, it will forward the technically eligible and favorably rated applications to the Public Diplomacy sections in the respective regional bureaus at the U.S. Department of State in Washington., DC for ranking. Once the applications are ranked, ECA will convene a final review panel to recommend the top-ranked applications for funding. ECA may deem applications ineligible if they do not fully adhere to AFCP 2020 Competition objectives, requirements, and other criteria stated herein.



Explanatory information 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.  AFCP/Cultural Heritage 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 availability of funds.


AFCP_Suggested_Format (PDF 132 KB)

AFCP2020_Budget (Xlsx 19 KB)





AFCP_2019_Glossary (PDF 204 KB)

AFCP_2019_Image_Guidelines (PDF 216 KB)


AFCP_2019_Resources (PDF 152 KB)