AFCP 2019 Small Grants Competition Funding Opportunity

Deadline: Dec 14, 2018.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) is accepting project applications for the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2019 Small Grants Competition.  The deadline for submitting applications to the Center is December 14, 2018.

Full implementation of the AFCP 2019 program is pending the availability of FY 2019 funds and an approved congressional spend plan.

The Department of State established the AFCP at the request of 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.

Award Information:

  1. Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  2. Program Authorization: “Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961” (P.L. 87-256 Sec 102(b)(5), as amended)
  3. CFDA Number: 19.025
  4. Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: US $10,000 per project
  5. Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $200,000 per project

Foreign Policy Areas: AFCP will recommend for funding those projects that address one or more of the following ECA Bureau 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

Funding Areas:  The AFCP 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 purposes
  2. In the case of cultural objects and collections:  conservation treatment for an object or collection of objects from a museum, site, or similar institution—that include, but are not limited to, archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, and general museum conservation needs; needs assessment of a collection with respect to its condition and strategies for improving its state of conservation; inventory of a collection for conservation and protection purposes; the creation of safe environments for storage or display of collections; or specialized training in the care and preservation of collections
  3. Fin 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

Funding Priorities:  Applications for projects that directly support one or more of the following will receive additional consideration in FY 2019:

  1. U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations, such as cultural property agreements
  2. U.S. Embassy Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals
  3. Disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas
  4. Post-disaster cultural heritage recovery
  5. 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.

Eligible Countries:  The AFCP 2019 Competition is open to U.S. ambassadors serving in countries whose eligibility is based on the country’s rank in the 2016 U.N. Human Development Index.

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Congo (Republic of), Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Note: Embassy Antananarivo may apply for Comoros; Bridgetown for Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines; Colombo for Maldives; Dakar for Guinea-Bissau; Libreville for Sao Tome & Principe; New Delhi for Bhutan; Port Louis for Seychelles; Port Moresby for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; Suva for Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Eligible Project Applicants:  The Center defines eligible project applicants as reputable and accountable non-commercial 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 SAM.gov and able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.

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. 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
  25. Independent U.S. projects overseas

Ineligible Project Applicants:  AFCP does not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or past award recipients that have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous AFCP awards.

Project applications must include or address the following (Note: The list includes items required by 2 CFR 200 and State Department federal assistance regulations):

  1. Full and complete Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) (PDF, 265 KB), including Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A) (PDF, 322 KB), Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B) (PDF, 115 KB), and, if applicable, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL) (PDF, 33 KB)
  2. Project basics, including title, project dates, and AFCP focus area
  3. Project applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status
  4. Project location
  5. 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, object, or collection
  6. Project purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results
  7. 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)
  8. 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 be completed no later than September 30, 2024)
  9. Project participant information, including resumes or CVs of the proposed project director and other primary project participants
  10. Statement of importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the site, collection, or form of traditional expression
  11. Statement of urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now
  12. Statement of sustainability 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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.

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 SAM.gov registration unless they meet one of the exemptions specified in the Federal Assistance Directive (http://a.m.state.sbu/sites/OPE/FA/SitePages/Policy.aspx).

The DUNS/NCAGE/SAM.gov 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 http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx. SAM is the official, free on-line registration database for the U.S. government.  SAM.gov replaced the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in July 2012.

SAM.gov collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award mission.  Registration in SAM is free: http://sam.gov

Application Screening Criteria:  The Center will first screen all applications for technical eligibility based on the objectives, priorities, requirements, ineligible activities, and unallowable costs contained in this funding opportunity.  The Center may deem applications ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the criteria stated herein.

Application Rating Criteria:  The Center will rate all technically eligible applications using the following point-based system:

  1. Purpose and Summary, Description, Time Frame, Importance: 25 points max
  2. Urgency: 15 points max
  3. Sustainability: 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

Application Review and Selection: Once the Center has completed its screening and rating, it will forward the technically eligible and favorably rated applications to the Public Diplomacy sections in the respective regional bureaus in the State Department for ranking.  Once the regional bureaus rank the applications, the Center will convene a panel to recommend applications for funding.  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.

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 application budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.