Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation

U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation

2023 Grants Competition

  1. Funding Instrument Type: Grant
  2. Funding Opportunity Number: AFCP-2023-GP
  3. Program Authorization: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-256, § 102(b)(5))
  4. CFDA Number: 19.025
  5. Floor on Amount of Individual Awards: US $10,000 per project
  6. Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: US $500,000 per project
  7. Anticipated Number of Awards: 20-30

The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau is pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2023 Grants Competition of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

The U.S. Ambassadors Fund was established by the U.S. Congress in 2001 to help countries preserve their cultural heritage and to demonstrate U.S. respect for different cultures around the world. AFCP projects strengthen civil society, encourage good governance, and promote political and economic stability around the world. The minimum amount of an award is $10,000, and the maximum is $500,000.

The AFCP has provided over 1.5 million dollars in grants to fund projects throughout Moldova over the last two decades. These grants have helped to record traditional forms of Moldovan music and dance, build a Visitors Center and preserve the medieval bath complex in Orhei Vechi, preserve the Treasury Room Objects at the National History Museum of Moldova, preserve old and rare books at the National Library of Moldova, preserve Gagauz folklore, customs and rituals, and currently is helping to preserve the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Causeni.

Competition format:

The application process involves two rounds: In Round 1, eligible project implementers will submit a concept note focused on objectives that may be accomplished through the proposed project. In Round 2 invited embassies will submit a full application, due April 28, 2023.

The deadline for submitting electronically Round 1 concept notes in English to the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau is 5:30pm on Thursday, January 12, 2023. The Round 1 results will be announced on or around February 15, 2023.

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. Anastylosis (reassembling a site from its original parts);
  2. Conservation (addressing damage or deterioration to an object or site);
  3. Consolidation (connecting or reconnecting elements of an object or site);
  4. Documentation (recording in analog or digital format the condition and salient features of an object, site, or tradition);
  5. Inventory (listing of objects, sites, or traditions by location, feature, age, or other unifying characteristic or state);
  6. Preventive Conservation (addressing conditions that threaten or damage a site, object, collection, or tradition);
  7. 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. Stabilization (reducing the physical disturbance of an object or site).

Funding Priorities: 

In 2023, the U.S. Embassy will give preference to projects that do one or more of the following:

  1. Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations;
  2. Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage in disaster-prone areas; cultural heritage recovery;
  3. Partner, connect with, or feed into other ECA or public diplomacy programs.

Ineligible Activities and Unallowable Costs :

The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation does NOT support the following:

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 proposal submission;
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 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 or collections for new or existing museums;

K. Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings (over archaeological sites, for example);
L. Commissions of new works of art or architecture for commemorative or economic development purposes;
M. Creation of new or modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances;

N. Creation of replicas or re-creation of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
O. Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another;
P. Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason;
Q. Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation effort;
R. Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies;
S. Cash reserves, endowments or revolving funds (funds must be expended within the grant period (up to five years) and may not be used to create an endowment or revolving fund);
T. Costs of fund-raising campaigns;
U. Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees;
V. Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award;
W. International travel, except in cases where travel is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;

X. Individual projects costing less than $10,000 or more than $500,000;
Y. Independent U.S. projects overseas.

Eligible project implementers:
Eligible project implementers must be 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, 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. The AFCP Program strongly encourages cost-sharing, in-kind contributions, and other forms of cost participation.

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.

Round 1 Concept Note Requirements (Deadline: January 12, 2023):

The Concept Note should be written in a free form following the bullet points below:

  • Project basics, title, anticipated project length (applicants may propose projects of up to 60 months), location/site, and project cost estimate in U.S. dollars;
  • Project implementer information, including name and SAM registration status, if registered;
  • Scope of work summarizing: (1) the preservation goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; and (2) any broader host country or community goals and the activities planned to achieve those goals; (i.e., what is hoped to gain from the project beyond the preserved heritage and what is the plan to get there;) 3,000 characters maximum.
  • 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.).

Round 2 Full Application Requirements (Deadline: April 28, 2023): 

Only applicants selected in Round 1 will be invited to submit full applications. The applications must fully satisfy the program objectives, funding areas and priorities, and eligibility requirements. To be considered complete, they must include:

  1. a) Project Activities Description and Timeframe that present the project tasks in chronological order and list the major milestones with target dates for achieving them.
  2. b) Statement of Importance highlighting the historical, architectural, artistic, or cultural (non-religious) values of the cultural heritage.
  3. c) Proof of Official Permission to undertake the project from the Ministry of Culture of Moldova.
  4. d) Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify AFCP-supported activities through print, electronic, social media, and other means.
  5. e) 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.
  6. f) Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants.
  7. g) Detailed Project Budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods (2023, 2024, 2025, 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;
  8. h) 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.
  9. i) 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.
  10. k) High-quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature and condition of the heritage and show the urgency or need for the proposed project (collapsing walls, extensive water damage, etc.).

The deadline for concept note submission is close of business (5:30pm) on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Concept notes must clearly address the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity, must be written in English and submitted electronically to the e-mail leancaai@state.gov. Please include in the subject line: AFCP 2023 Concept note + organization name. If unsure of the project eligibility, please call the program coordinator. Incomplete concept notes will not be reviewed.

The program coordinator of this program is Alexandru Leanca, e-mail: leancaai@state.gov;

tel: 069126372


ONGOING PROJECTS

On September 27 the U.S. Embassy announced a new and final grant of $290,000 for the preservation of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation project. In 2016, 2017, and 2019 the AFCP awarded $150,000, $200,000, and $380,000 grants respectively for preventive conservation, stabilization, and restoration, of one of the oldest medieval churches in the area. Up until now the grantee, the Archaeological Research Center of the Republic of Moldova, conducted archaeological excavations, built a new sewage and electricity system, replaced the church masonry, replaced the roof with a sturdy and historically appropriate brick one, built an aeration system around the church foundation, and consolidated and preserved the frescos in church’s altar and naos areas. In 2021/2022 the interior frescos consolidation and conservation in naos and pre-naos areas will continue and the project is expected to be finalized in October, 2022. The total project cost is estimated at $1.6 million.

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary church is among the oldest churches in Moldova. It is the only church in Moldova that has all of its interior walls covered with frescoes. The frescoes were painted by Wallachian artists in 1763. Wallachia was a historical and geographical region of Romania that existed from the 15th to 19th centuries. These particular frescoes are considered the only remaining example of the Byzantine-Romanian style paintings of the 18th century in the easternmost part of Europe.