Ambassadors Fund For Cultural Preservation 2020 (AFCP)

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Mission to Nigeria: Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation
CFDA Number: 19.025 – Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation
Contact: Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Abuja

Funding Opportunity Description

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria is is accepting project applications for the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2021 Grants Program. Administration of this program will be subject to the availability of funds for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The deadline for submitting project abstracts to the U.S Mission in Nigeria is November 23, 2020. For abstracts that advance to Round 2, the submission deadline for full project applications is March 19, 2021.

Purpose of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and Background:  The AFCP 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.

The Department of State established the AFCP in 2001 at the request of the Congress, reflected in the Conference Report on the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2001 (P. L. 106-553).

Competition Format: Beginning with FY 2021, the AFCP Grants Program will select from among the projects proposed by U.S embassies worldwide using a process with two rounds. During Round 1, embassies will submit concept notes for both small and large projects that focus on the public diplomacy objectives that may 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.

Award Information

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Floor on Amount of Individual Awards:  US $10,000 per project

Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $500,000 per project

Funding Areas: 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:

  1. a) Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts);
  2. b) Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to an object or site);
  3. c) Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of an object or site);
  4. d) Documentation (recording in analog or digital format the condition and salient features of an object, site, or tradition);
  5. e) Inventory (listing of objects, sites, or traditions by location, feature, age, or other unifying characteristic or state);
  6. f) Preventive Conservation (addressing conditions that threaten or damage a site, object, collection, or tradition);
  7. g) 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. h) Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance of an object or site).

Funding Priorities:  The AFCP will recommend for funding those proposals that include project activities that promote specific U.S. policy goals and host-country or community objectives. Accordingly, in FY 2021, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S Department of State (ECA) will give preference to projects that do one or more of the following:

  1. a) Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations;
  2. b) 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;
  3. c) Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas or post-disaster cultural heritage recovery;
  4. d) Support conflict resolution and help communities bridge differences;
  5. e) Partner, connect with, or feed into other ECA or public diplomacy 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.

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.

Eligibility Information:

Eligible Project Implementers: ECA defines eligible project implementers as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that are able to 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 educational institutions and organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. 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 awards.

Potential implementers must have a unique entity identifier, such as a DUNS number, and be registered and active in to receive U.S. federal assistance. The registration process can take several weeks to complete so it is important to avoid any delay.

DUNS Number assignment is free for organizations required to register with the federal government for grants. Begin the process here:  Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) is also required:

If a project is selected for an award and the registration is not completed, the award could be delayed to the next FY, pending the availability of funding.

Ineligible Activities and Unallowable Costs: AFCP does not support the following activities or costs, and the Center will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:

  1. a) 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. b) Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.);
  3. c) Preservation of hominid or human remains;
  4. d) Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs, etc.);
  5. e) Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.);
  6. f) Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use;
  7. g) Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes;
  8. h) Historical research, except in cases where the research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  9. i) Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing museums;
  10. j) Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over archaeological sites, for example);
  11. k) Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic development purposes;
  12. l) Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances;
  13. m) Creation of replicas or conjectural reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
  14. n) Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another;
  15. o) Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason;
  16. p) Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation, documentation, or public diplomacy effort;
  17. q) Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies;
  18. r) 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. s) Costs of fund-raising campaigns;
  20. t) Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees;
  21. u) Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award unless allowable per 2 CFR 200.458 and approved by the Grants Officer;
  22. v) 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. w) Individual projects costing less than US $10,000 or more than $500,000;
  24. x) Independent U.S. projects overseas.

Application Submission and Deadline

The application process for the AFCP Grants Program takes place in two rounds: Project Abstract (Round 1) and Full Application (Round 2). Applicants shall submit completed Round 1 abstracts electronically.

All Round 1 project abstracts must be submitted electronically via e-mail on or before November 23, 2020, 11:59p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST).  Applications submitted after 11:59p.m. will be ineligible for consideration.

Proposals should be submitted online to the U.S. Mission to Nigeria at the following email address:  Applications are accepted in English only.  Final grant agreements will be concluded in English.

 ROUND ONE CONCEPT NOTE REQUIREMENTS (DEADLINE: November 23, 2020): The project abstract must include the following items:

  1. a) 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) – all available at The Mission cannot accept concept notes or applications submitted via cable, fax, e-mail, or pouch. Concept notes must be submitted by Monday, November 23, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST. 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) Rationale for AFCP support, explaining:

  1. why it is in the interests of the U.S. government to fund the project;
  2. how the project relates to Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals, existing bilateral agreements, or other U.S. foreign policy objectives;
  3. the projected public diplomacy benefits and impacts of the project;
  4. whether it contributes to broader host country or community aims or objectives;

5) Embassy Front Office (FO) clearance;

6) 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 TWO FULL APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS (DEADLINE: March 19, 2021): The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and the eligibility requirements specified above. Furthermore, to be considered complete, applicants must include:

  1. a) Project dates;
  2. b) 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. c) 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. d) Statement of importance highlighting the historical, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural heritage;
  5. e) 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. f) Implementer public awareness plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms;
  7. g) 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. h) Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants;
  9. i) 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. j) 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. k) 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. l) 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. m) As requested by ECA 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.).

Review and Selection Process

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria will assess all applications based on the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, ineligible activities and unallowable costs, and other application requirements. The Mission 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. The Mission will then make a recommendaedtion to the ECA Cultural Heritage Center.

The Center will conduct a review process in late 2020 and early 2021.  It will review and select Round 1 project abstracts and full project applications (Round 2) in consultation with the regional bureaus by considering the following:

  1. a) 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 on the following criteria:
  2. anticipated preservation and public diplomacy impacts;
  3. potential contributions to U.S. foreign policy;

iii. potential contributions to host-country or community objectives and aims.

  1. b) 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 of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full project proposals to Round 2.
  2. c) 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. d) Full application rating schema: The Center will rate full applications using the following point-based system:
  4. Purpose, Description, and Importance (20 points max)
  5. Rationale for U.S. Support (20 points max)

iii. Embassy Media and Applicant Outreach Plans (15 points max)

  1. Support for wider host country or community objectives (5 points max)
  2. Maintenance Plan (15 points max)
  3. Budget and Budget Narrative (15 points max)

vii. Supporting Materials (resumes, images, etc.; 10 points max)

viii. Innovative integration, collaboration, or coordination with other ECA and public diplomacy programs (additional 10 points max)

Award Administration

 Award Announcement  ECA will announce the results of the AFCP 2021 Grants Program

via cables 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.

Award Administration Information:  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.  Only a warranted Grants Officer can negotiate and sign AFCP awards.  If the proposed project budget exceeds the Post Grants Officer’s warrant level, A/OPE/AQM/IP can provide a Grants Officer.  A/OPE/AQM/IP charges the embassy a fee of 1.25 percent of the total award amount for this service.  Embassies should include the 1.25 percent fee in its Statement of Assurance if it chooses to use A/OPE/AQM/IP’s services.  Embassies must obligate the AFCP project funds by the end of FY 2021, September 30, 2021.

Administrative and National Policy Requirements:  Notices of Award for AFCP projects incorporate terms and conditions subject to OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200): Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et al.).  All applicants should familiarize themselves with these requirements.  Other requirements and guidance will appear as program-specific provisions or be incorporated by reference in the Notice of Award.

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 Deliverable:  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 (

The DUNS, NCAGE, and 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 Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at

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: