Notice of Funding Opportunity
2024 AFCP GRANTS PROGRAM
Round 1: Receiving Concept Notes November 10 – December 31, 2023
Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) – 2024, Mongolia
Funding Opportunity Number: PDS-Ulaanbaatar-001/FY2024
Deadline for Applications: December 31, 2023, 11:59 p.m. Ulaanbaatar time
Assistance Listing Number: 19.025
Total Amount, Pending Availability of Funds: $500,000
Award Amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $500,000
Number of Awards Anticipated in Mongolia: 1-3 awards (dependent on amounts)
Length of Performance Period: up to five years
Type of funding: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-256, 102 (b) (5))
Anticipated Program Start Date: September 2024
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Summary: U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar with the Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the start of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2024 Grants Program. The application process involves two rounds. In Round 1, the Center will collect project ideas from embassies in the form of concept notes. In Round 2, the Center will invite embassies with promising ideas to submit full project applications. AFCP is an international program made available for countries based on their rankings in the 2022 U.N. Human Development Index.
Round 1 Concept Notes for projects in Mongolia are due by 11:59pm Sunday, December 31, 2023 to the Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia via firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFCP Program Objectives
The Department of State established the AFCP in 2001 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.” AFCP projects help to preserve cultural heritage, strengthen civil society, encourage good governance, and promote political and economic stability around the world. In Mongolia, AFCP has given 1.8 million USD to implement 22 projects over the years. Recent projects include restoration of the Yadam Temple of the Choijin Lama Temple Museum in Ulaanbaatar, Digitization and Documentation of Tibetan Manuscripts within the National Library of Mongolia, and Preservation of Textile Artifacts throughout Mongolia.
Eligible embassies may propose a maximum of three projects per country for funding. The Center will select from among them using a process with two rounds. In their Round 1 concept notes, embassies will focus on the objectives to be accomplished through the proposed project. Embassies invited to participate in Round 2 will flesh out the technical aspects of the proposed project and submit a full application. Awards will range from $10,000 to $500,000. The Center anticipates funding 20 to 30 projects in 2024 around the world.
The AFCP Grants Program 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:
- Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts)
- Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to an object or site)
- Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of an object or site)
- Documentation (recording in analog or digital format the condition and salient features of an object, site, or tradition)
- Inventory (listing of objects, sites, or traditions by location, feature, age, or other unifying characteristic or state)
- Preventive Conservation (addressing conditions that threaten or damage a site, object, collection, or tradition)
- 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)
- Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance of an object or site).
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 Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy at email@example.com with any questions.
FY 2024, ECA will give preference to projects that do one or more of the following:
- Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations
- Directly support U.S. policies, strategies and objectives in a country as stated in the Integrated Country Strategy or other U.S. government planning documents
- Support risk reduction and resilience for cultural heritage in disaster-prone or politically and economically unstable areas, or post-disaster cultural heritage recovery
- Partner, connect with, or feed into other public diplomacy programs.
Eligible Project Applicants
The AFCP defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that can demonstrate they have the requisite capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage. Eligible implementers may include non-governmental organizations, museums, educational institutions, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations, including U.S.-based organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Potential implementing partners must be registered and active in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management (SAM) to receive U.S. federal assistance. If the project idea is advanced to Round 2 and the anticipated implementing partner has not registered itself in SAM, the embassy will work with them to initiate the registration process immediately so that the registration is active in the event the project is ultimately selected for an award. The U.S. Embassy vets applicants for eligibility, suitability, and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities.
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.
Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline: December 31, 2023)
Eligible embassies, in collaboration with their prospective implementers, will submit concept notes electronically. The embassy will not accept concept notes or applications submitted in hard copies. Concept Notes must be submitted by Sunday, December 31, 2023, 11:59 p.m. EST. Embassies may submit a maximum of three concept notes per country. Each concept note submitted must include:
- Project Basics: including working title, anticipated project length (Note: Applicants may propose project periods of up to 60 months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested from AFCP; in U.S. dollars).
- Project Implementer
- Project Scope of Work: summarizing the preservation goals and any broader host country or community goals (i.e., what they hope to gain from the project beyond the preserved heritage and how they plan to get there; 3,000 characters maximum).
- 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.).
- Budget Estimate using the budget worksheet provided.
Note: Cost Sharing and Other Forms of Cost Participation: There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required. When an implementing partner offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the partner must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the budget of the application and later included in an approved agreement. The implementing partner 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.
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:
- 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.
- Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.) unless the natural heritage has a cultural heritage connection or dimension.
- Preservation of hominid or human remains.
- Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs, etc.).
- Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.).
- Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use.
- Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes.
- Historical research, except in cases where the research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project.
- Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing museums
- Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over archaeological sites, for example)
- Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic development purposes
- Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances
- Creation of replicas or conjectural reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist
- Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another
- Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason
- Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation or documentation effort
- Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies
- 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);
- Costs of fund-raising campaigns
- Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees
- Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award unless allowable per 2 CFR 200.458 and approved by the grants officer
- 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.
- Individual projects costing less than $10,000 or more than $500,000
- Independent U.S. projects overseas
AFCP Review and Selection Process
U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar must receive all proposals by 11:59pm on Sunday, December 31, 2023. Project Concept Notes must be submitted in English via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Embassy’s AFCP Selection Committee will shortlist nominations by January 31, 2024 for reviewers in the Center, ECA, and the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.
Reviewers in Washington, DC will conduct a review in early 2024. In Spring of 2024, Round 1 results will be announced, and a subset will be invited to submit full project proposals for Round 2.
Round 2 full project proposals will be submitted in May 2024. Reviewers will rate full applications using a point-based system. This selection period takes another 3-4 months.
Award announcements for the AFCP 2024 Grants Program will occur July-August 2024.
An implementing partner must be registered in the U.S. government’s 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. The SAM registration process can take weeks or months, especially for non-U.S. applicants. SAM will assign a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) automatically to any entity registering or renewing its record in the system. Registration in SAM is free: https://sam.gov/.
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.