Call for Proposals for the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Small Grants 2020

Small Grants Program


The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is currently accepting proposals for the 2020 Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). Deadline for submitting proposals: December 9, 2019.

The AFCP supports projects to preserve cultural heritage in the following three categories:

  • CULTURAL SITE: includes (but is not limited to) historic buildings and archaeological sites. Restoration or conservation of an ancient or historic building, preservation of an archaeological site, or documentation of cultural sites in a region for preservation purposes
  • CULTURAL OBJECTS AND COLLECTIONS: from a museum, site, or similar institution – includes archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, and general museum conservation activities. Conservation treatment for an object or collection of objects; needs assessment of a collection with respect to its condition and strategies for improving its state of conservation; inventory of a collection for conservation purposes; the creation of safe environments for storage or display of collections; or specialized training in the care and preservation of collections.
  • FORMS OF TRADITIONAL CULTURAL EXPRESSION: includes traditional music, ceremony, rituals, knowledge, indigenous languages, dance, drama, and ancient crafts. Documentation and audiovisual recording of traditional music and dance forms for preservation and eventual dissemination, indigenous languages or support for training in the preservation of traditional arts or crafts that are threatened by extinction.

Note: An appropriate preservation activity is one that protects the values of the site, object or collection, or form of traditional cultural expression as they are understood by stakeholders. Stakeholders may include national, regional, or local cultural authorities, the local community, and others with vested interests in the site and the outcome of a project.

The amount of each individual award must be no less than US $10,000 per project and no greater than US $200,000 per project. Last year’s project awards ranged from US $25,000 to US $200,000.

ELIGIBLE PROJECT APPLICANTS:  Eligible project applicants are defined as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities, such as non-governmental organizations, museums, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations, able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.   SCHEDULE: Applicants may propose performance periods of up to 24 months (two years) with two budget periods of one year each. Projects must begin before September 30, 2020, and conclude no later than September 30, 2022.

 AFCP does NOT support the following:

  • 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 proposal submission;
  • Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.);
  • 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 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 two 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;
  • International travel, except in cases where travel is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  • Travel or study outside of the host country for professional development;
  • Individual projects costing less than $10,000 or more than $200,000;
  • Independent U.S. projects overseas.

INELIGIBLE PROJECT APPLICANTS: AFCP does not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or to embassies or past award recipients, which have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of previous AFCP awards.

PROPOSAL FORMAT: to be completed in a Word document, in English. All attached photographs must be in JPG. format. Project proposals must include or address the following:

  • Project Basics, including title, project dates, AFCP focus area;
  • Project Applicant information, including contact information
  • Project location;
  • 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;
  • Project purpose that briefly summarizes the project objectives and desired results;
  • Project Activities Description that presents the project tasks in chronological order;
  • Project Time Frame or Schedule that lists the major project phases and milestones with target dates for achieving them. (NOTE: projects must begin before September 30, 2020 and end before that same date within one or two years);
  • Project Participant Information, specifically an estimated number of non-US and US participants and estimated number of primary and secondary participants, as well as resumes (CV’s) of the proposed project director and other primary project participants;
  • Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural site, collection, or form of traditional expression;
  • Statement of Urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now;
  • 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 and sustain 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;
  • Detailed Project Budget in U.S. Dollars, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2020, 2021, etc.), that lists all costs in approved cost categories and identifies funds from other sources.
  • Budget Narrative explaining any large budget line items, detailing how costs were estimated (e.g., quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project), (Note: Applicants may include narrative within the budget sheet)
  • 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 wall, 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 required for this competition. However, AFCP encourages cost sharing, in-kind contributions, and other forms of cost participation.

Deadline for submitting proposals: December 9, 2019.  Please send all proposals in English and electronically to:  PLEASE SPECIFY IN THE SUBJECT LINE THAT YOU ARE APPLYING FOR THE AFCP 2020 SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM.  If necessary to compress very large files, please send only ZIP files. RAR files will not be accepted!

PLEASE NOTE: Only short-listed applicants will be contacted individually.