CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2019 LARGE Grants Competition


Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 2019 LARGE Grants Competition

The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaataris pleased to announce a call for ABSTRACTS for the 2019 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) LARGE Grants Competition. ABSTRACTS for projects in Mongolia must be received by 12:00 (noon) on Monday, November 26, 2018. 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 mid-January, 2019.


U.S. Government’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center (the Center) requests project abstracts from interested applicants to preserve significant cultural heritage sites in less developed countries through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). If selected to advance to Round 2, applicants then submit full proposals for large-scale, partnership-based projects. Past recipients of awards through the AFCP Large Grants Program may submit applications for continuation funds.


The Department of State established the AFCP at the request of the Congress in Conference Report 106-1005 accompanying H.R. 4942 (October 26, 2000).  The Senate report on this bill 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 under this program shall advance U.S. foreign policy goals and demonstrate American leadership in the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in support of prosperity and stability around the world. Past recipients of awards through the AFCP Large Grants Program may submit applications for continuation funds under this Opportunity.


This Opportunity consists of two application rounds: Round 1 (Project Abstract) and Round 2 (Full Application). During Round 1, project abstracts are submitted. If, after the technical review, rating, and ranking of abstracts, embassies and applicants are invited to advance to Round 2, embassies and the applicants must submit full project applications.

  • 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

In FY 2018, awards made through this program ranged from US $200,000 to US $600,000.


The AFCP Large Grants Program for funding those projects that address one or more of the following strategic goals:

  1. Promote American leadership
  2. Renew America’s competitive advantage for sustained economic growth by increasing the global skills of Americans and expanding the reach of U.S. businesses and institutions
  3. Counter foreign government disinformation and foster alternatives to radicalization through international exchange programs
  4. Promote American values, such as tolerance and respect for cultural diversity

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 [settling, collapse, etc.] of a site)
  3. Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to a collection or sites)
  4. Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of a site)
  5. Analysis (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 directly support one or more of the following will receive additional consideration in FY 2019:

  • U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations, such as cultural property agreements;
  • U.S. Mission Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals;
  • Disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas;
  • Post-disaster cultural heritage recovery; and
  • Preservation of inscribed World Heritage sites.

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. 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
  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.



Complete submission of the “Project Abstract – Submission Form” that includes:

  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.
  4. Special Designations (national monument, World Heritage Site, etc.).
  5. Law/s Protecting the Site or Collection (citations only).
  6. Project Purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results.
  7. Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the site or collection.
  8. 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 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)
  5. 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, 2019, and conclude no later than September 30, 2024)
  6. Project participant information, including resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants
  7. Statement of urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now
  8. Statement of sustainability outlining the steps or measures that will be taken to maintain the site or collection in good condition after the AFCP-supported project is complete
  9. Detailed project budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2019, 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
  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. 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 (collapsing walls, extensive water damage, etc.)
  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


AFCP welcomes innovative ideas on how embassies and other missions plan to use mobile and online technologies strategically to amplify AFCP support for cultural heritage preservation locally and to share compelling project-related content with both targeted and broad audiences.


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 full applications. NOTE: This 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 mission. Registration in SAM is free:



PROJECT SELECTION CRITERIA: U.S. Embassy in Mongolia and the Center 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 2019 Large Grants Program objectives, requirements, and other neutral criteria stated herein.

PROJECT ABSTRACT REVIEW AND SELECTION (ROUND 1): The Center will screen and rate all project abstracts received by the December deadline and forward the favorably rated abstracts to the relevant regional bureaus for ranking. The project abstracts may be forwarded for advisory peer review to other federal agency personnel with relevant experience as well as to other State offices. On or around January, 2019, the Center will invite Embassies whose project abstracts received a favorable rating and ranking to submit full project applications.

FULL APPLICATION REVIEW AND SELECTION (ROUND 2): The Center will review full project applications and provide a comprehensive funding recommendation to the Department of State’s Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP). All eligible applications are subject to compliance with Federal regulations and guidelines. The full project applications may be forwarded for advisory peer review to other federal agency personnel with relevant experience as well as to other State offices. The Center 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_2019_Resources (PDF 301 KB)
AFCP_2019_Glossary (PDF 370 KB)
AFCP_2019_Image_Guidelines (PDF 643 KB)


AFCP_2019_Budget (Xlsx 18 KB)