The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP)
2023 Grants Program Funding Opportunity
Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand
The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State are pleased to announce the call for proposals for the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2023 Grants Program Funding Opportunity.
Since its inception in 2001, AFCP has helped preserve cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in Thailand and around the world. Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. By taking a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. shows its respect for other cultures. AFCP-supported projects include the restoration of ancient and historic buildings, assessment and conservation of rare manuscripts and museum collections, preservation and protection of important archaeological sites, and the documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques and indigenous languages. AFCP projects strengthen partnerships between U.S. and Thai institutions.
Under the AFCP Grants Program, the minimum funding available for individual projects is US$10,000 per project and the maximum amount is US$500,000 per project. The deadline for submitting concept notes is January 8, 2023.
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)
AFCP will NOT support the following activities or costs, and applications involving any of these activities or costs below will be deemed ineligible:
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;
B) Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations,
paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.);
C) Preservation of hominid or human remains;
D) Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs,
E) Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.);
F) Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use;
G) Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes;
H) Historical research, except in cases where the research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
I) Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing
J) Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over
archaeological sites, for example);
K) Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic
L) Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances;
M) Creation of replicas or conjectural reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
N) Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another;
O) Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason;
P) Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation, documentation, or public diplomacy effort;
Q) Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies;
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);
S) Costs of fund-raising campaigns;
T) Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees;
U) Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award unless allowable per 2 CFR 200.458 and approved by the Grants Officer;
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;
W) Individual projects costing less than US $10,000 or more than $500,000;
X) Independent U.S. projects overseas.
Application Review Process
a) Round 1: Concept note review and selection: ECA will determine which project ideas advance to the Round 2 application stage.
b) Round 2: In early 2023, ECA will notify embassies of the Round 1 results and invites a subset to submit full project proposals to Round 2.
AFCP Grants Program concept notes will be evaluated based on the follow criteria:
- Clarity and completeness of scope of work
- Cultural importance of the proposed project
- Clarity and completeness of the applicant’s public awareness plans
- Post-project plan for site maintenance and upkeep
- Budget and budget narrative
- Supporting materials, as necessary (resumes, assessments, reports, images, etc.)
- Innovative integration, collaboration, and coordination with the U.S. Embassy
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 proposal and later included in an approved agreement. The applicant will be responsible for tracking and reporting on any cost share or outside funding. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.
Eligible project applicants are reputable and accountable non-commercial entities 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. This 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.
SAM Registration: An applicant 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 (https://usdos.sharepoint.com/sites/A-OPE/FA/SitePages/Policy.aspx). The SAM registration process, which requires either a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) or a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code, can take weeks or months, especially for non-U.S. applicants. Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx. SAM will assign a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) automatically to any entity registering or renewing its record in the system http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform Registration in SAM is free: https://sam.gov/.
Suggested guidelines for concept notes to be submitted are below. Each concept note must be in English and should be emailed to Bangkokpd@state.gov with the subject line: “AFCP 2023 GRANTS Program: Project Name – Applicant Name” by midnight January 8, 2023. To determine if your project fits into the AFCP guidelines, interested applicants can email a short one-paragraph description of their project to Bangkokpd@state.gov any time before the deadline for an initial review.
For more information, please contact Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy Bangkok at Tel: 02-205-4151, Email: Bangkokpd@state.gov, or Ms. Kanchalee Jitjang, Senior Cultural Affairs Specialist, at Tel: 02-205-4597. For additional information about the fund, please visit the AFCP website http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation.
SUGGESTED INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN CONCEPT NOTES
All information must be submitted in English
A) Project basics, including working title, anticipated project length (in months, up to 60 months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested from AFCP; in U.S. dollars);
B) Project implementer information, including name and SAM registration status;
C) Project scope of works summarizing:
- the preservation goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; and
- any broader host country or community goals and the activities planned to achieve these 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)
D) Rationale for AFCP support, explaining why it is in the interests of the U.S. government to fund the project:
- how the project relates to specific Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) goals, existing bilateral agreements, or other U.S. foreign policy objectives (1,000 characters maximum); and
- the projected public diplomacy benefits and impacts of the project (1,000 characters maximum)
F) 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.).