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2023 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation
November 21, 2022

Application Process for the 2023 AFCP

The Cultural Heritage Center (“the Center”) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce the start of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2023 Grants Program.

IMPORTANT DATES:  For Guatemala, the 2023 AFCP call for applications will be open from December 5, 2022, to January 5, 2023.

Each year, there are discrete changes in the program.  For the 2023 AFCP program, the Center is introducing several important changes to the program:

  1. The Center is combining the small and large grant programs into a single program.  Pending availability of funds, awards will range from $10,000 to $500,000.
  2. The Center is dividing the application process into two (2) rounds and reducing the amount of information required up front. The streamlined Round 1 will collect project ideas from embassies in the form of concept notes, which are due January 5, 2023.  For Round 2, the Center will invite embassies with promising ideas to submit full project applications, due in April 2023.

NOTE:  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Project design tips available here: Project Design Tips. (PDF – 346KB)

Funding Priorities:  AFCP projects promote specific U.S. policy goals. The Center will give preference to projects that do at least one or more of the following:

  1. a) Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations;
    b) Directly support U.S. policies, strategies, and objectives in Guatemala;
    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;
    e) Partner, connect with, or feed into other diplomacy programs of the U.S. Mission in Guatemala.

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).

AFCP Glossary available here: AFCP Glossary  (PDF – 802KB)

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 based on architectural, artistic, historical, or other cultural (not religious) criteria.

Eligible Project Implementers:  The Center defines “eligible project implementers” as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that can 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 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: be registered and active in SAM.gov to receive U.S. federal assistance.

IMPORTANT:  The registration process can take weeks or even months to complete, especially for non-U.S. applicants, so it is essential to begin the process immediately if you plan to apply for consideration, following the steps outlined below:


  • NCAGE: Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx.
  • SAM.gov is the official, free online registration database for the U.S. Government. SAM.gov collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award missions. 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. Registration in SAM is free: http://sam.gov.
Round 1

Concept Note Requirements (Deadline: January 5, 2023):

Applicants must submit the following information in a single (1) email to this address: GTM-PASGrants@state.gov. Please use the following format for the “Subject” line of the email: AFCP 2023 Application– Name of the project


  1. Application form (docx – 66KB)
  2. Budget Worksheet (in U.S. dollars) (Excel) Budget Worksheet   (PDF – 28KB)
  3. Five (5) high-resolution images (JPEG)

The 2023 AFCP call for applications is open from December 5, 2022, to January 5, 2023Applications submitted after January 5, 2023, will not be reviewed. The application must be completed in English.

Information required:

a) Project basics, including working title, anticipated project length (in months), location/site, and project cost estimate (amount requested in U.S. dollars). Applicants may propose project periodss of up to 60 months (five years).

b) Project implementer information, including name and SAM registration status.

c) Scope of work, summarizing (1) the preservation goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; and (2) any broader goals of the Government of Guatemala or community goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals, i.e., what they hope to gain from the project beyond the preserved heritage and how the project plans to get there. (2,000 characters maximum)

d) Rationale for AFCP support, which includes and explains why it is in the interest of the U.S. government to fund the project; how the project relates to existing bilateral agreements or other U.S. foreign policy objectives; and the projected benefits and impacts of the project. (1,000 characters maximum)

f) Five (5) high-quality digital images (JPEG) or audiovisual files that faithfully convey the nature and condition of the site, collection, or tradition and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (for example, collapsing walls, water damage, etc.).

Cost Sharing and Other Forms of Cost Participation

There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required.  When an implementing partner offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the partner must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the budget of the application and later included in an approved agreement.  Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.

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 automatically 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, etc.);

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 museums;

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 development purposes;

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 USD $10,000 or more than USD $500,000;

x)  Independent U.S. projects overseas.

Projects selected for Round 2 will receive further information in February 2023.

The Center will rate full applications using the following point-based system:

  1. Purpose, importance (10 points max)
  2. Rationale for U.S. Support (10 points max)
  3. Clarity and completeness of activity description for preservation work (15 points)
  4. Clarity and completeness of activity description for work to achieve broader goals (10 points)
  5. Clarity and completeness of applicant public awareness plans (5 points)
  6. Clarity and completeness of embassy outreach plans (5 points)
  7. Maintenance Plan (10 points max)
  8. Budget and Budget Narrative (15 points max)
  9. Supporting Materials (resumes, images, etc. 10 points max)
  10. Innovative integration, collaboration, or coordination with other ECA and public diplomacy programs (10 points max)