Ambassadors Fund For Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2021

The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce that we are now accepting project proposals for the 2021 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) – (US $10,000 to US $500,000) program. The AFCP is one of many ways that we partner with Albania to preserve its unique cultural heritage.  Project proposals should be submitted to

Project proposals are due on November 29, 2019 and must strictly comply with the requirements and guidelines described below.  If you have questions about this program, please contact us at

This year the application process is divided into two rounds, reducing the amount of information required up front.  The first streamlined round will collect project ideas from applicants in the form of concept notes, due November 29, 2020.  In Round 2, the Embassy will invite applicants with promising ideas to submit full project applications, due February 22, 2021.


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:

  • Preventive conservation (addressing conditions that damage or threaten the site)
  • Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance [e.g., settling, collapse] of a site)
  • Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to a collection or sites)
  • Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of a site)
  • Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts)
  • Restoration (replacing missing elements to recreate the original appearance of a site, usually appropriate only with fine arts, decorative arts, and historic buildings)

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

  • Support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations
  • Support U.S. Embassy Integrated Country Strategies
  • Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas
  • Support post-disaster cultural heritage recovery
  • Preserve World Heritage sites
  • Partner, connect with or feed into other ECA programs

Sites and Objects Having 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.  ECA encourages embassies considering preservation projects with a religious connection to contact the AFCP Program Director (see para 16).

Funding Priorities:  Some of the most impactful AFCP projects have been designed as part of a greater PD programming arc promoting specific U.S. policy goals and host-country or community objectives.  Accordingly, in FY 2021, ECA and the Centre will give preference to projects that do one or more of the following:

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

Eligible Project Implementers:  The Center 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, or similar institutions and organizations, including U.S.-based education 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.

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:

  • 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 (e.g., physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils)
  • Preservation of hominid or human remains
  • Preservation of news media (e.g., newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs)
  • 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
  • Travel or study outside the host country for professional development
  • Individual projects costing less than US $10,000 or more than $500,000
  • Independent U.S. projects overseas

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.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION: The application process for the AFCP Grants Program consists of two rounds: Round 1 (project abstract) and Round 2 (full application). U.S. embassies in eligible countries shall submit completed Round 1 abstracts electronically on behalf of applicants through the AFCP application website. The Center considers each abstract on its own merit. If invited to submit full applications to Round 2, the AFCP Program Office will include detailed instructions on how to do so in the Round 2 invitations.

Application Closing Dates:
Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline: November 29, 2020):
  • Eligible embassies, in collaboration with their prospective implementers, will submit completed concept notes electronically via e-mail in the format here. The Embassy cannot accept concept notes or applications submitted via drop box, wetransfer, or google files.  Concept notes must be submitted by Wednesday, November 29, 2020, 11:00 a.m. CET.
Round 2 Full Application Requirements (Deadline:  February 22, 2021):
  • On or around mid-January, 2021, the Embassy will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invite a subset to submit full applications by no later than February 22, 2021, 11:59 p.m. CET, using the AFCP application website.  The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and eligibility requirements.

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 unless they meet one of the exemptions specified in the Federal Assistance Directive. 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 here. Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code here. 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: 


(Deadline: Wednesday, November 29, 2020, 11:00 a.m): Project abstracts and all required submitted documents must be in English. Project abstracts must include or address the following (Note: The list includes items required by 2 CFR 200 and State Department federal assistance regulations):

  • 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)
  • Project basics, including title, project dates, location, and site
  • Project applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status
  • Project location and Special designations (national monument, World Heritage Site, etc.)
  • Law(s) protecting the site or collection (citations only)
  • Project purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results
  • Project activities description and time-frame 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])
  • Resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and other primary project participants
  • Statement of importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (nonreligious) values of the site or collection
  • Statement of urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now
  • 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.)

(Deadline: February 22, 2021): The Embassy will invite applicants to submit full project applications upon favourable review of their abstracts. The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and the eligibility requirements specified above. Furthermore, to be considered complete, they must include:

  • Revised project abstract, if needed
  • Revised SF-424, if needed
  • 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
  • Project activities description and time-frame 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])
  • Resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants
  • 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
  • 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 h) Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, and social media platforms
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)

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 DELIVERABLES: 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. The Center will also ask embassies to respond once per year to an online success story survey on the impact of AFCP projects on their diplomatic efforts.

DISCLAIMER: Issuance of this funding opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the AFCP program or the U.S. government. The Center reserves the right to waive program formalities and to reduce, revise, or increase project scopes and budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.