Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation

What is the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation?

“Cultural preservation offers an opportunity to show a different American face to other countries, one that is non-commercial, non-political and non-military. By taking a leading role in the efforts to preserve cultural heritage, we show our respect for other cultures.” U.S. Congress (2001)

Since 2001, the U.S. government through the Department of State has provided direct small grant support to developing countries in all regions of the world for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression, such as music, dance and language under the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

Project Categories: 

AFCP supports preservation projects in the following three categories:

Cultural Objects and Collections from a museum, site or similar institution:

This includes archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, photographic and film collections and general museum conservation activities. Proposals in this category may involve, for example:

  • Conservation treatment for an object or collection of objects;
  • Needs assessment of a collection with respect to its condition and strategies for
  • improving its conservation purposes;
  • The creation of safe environments for storage or display of collections;
  • Specialized training in the care and preservation of collections;

Cultural Sites:

This includes (but is not limited to) historical buildings and sites, sacred places, monuments, and archaeological sites. Proposals in this category may involve for example:

  • Restoration of an historic building;
  • An archaeological survey as a component of a preservation plan;
  • Preservation management planning for a site;
  • Documentation of sites in a region for preservation purposes;

Forms of Traditional Cultural Expression:

This includes traditional music, rituals, knowledge, languages, dance, drama and crafts. Proposals in this category may involve for example:

  • Documenting and audiovisual recording of traditional music and dance forms as part of a traditional expression and making the information and recordings available
  • Support for training in the preservation of traditional arts or crafts that are threatened by extinction;

Project Size:

AFCP supports small, medium and large scale projects.

AFCP may also support phased and pilot projects whose methods and outcomes will advance long-term cultural preservation objectives, lay the groundwork for subsequent AFCP-supported activities, or encourage the continued or expanded application of proven methods at the project site or elsewhere.


AFCP does not support the following:

  • Preservation or purchase of privately or commercially owned cultural objects, collections or real property;
  • Conservation of natural heritage (physical, biological and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants fossils etc);
  • Preservation of news media (newspaper, newsreels etc);
  • Archaeological excavations or surveys for research purposes
  • Historical research, except in cases where historical research is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project;
  • Construction of new buildings
  • Commissions of new works of arts or performances for commemorative or economic development purposes;
  • Acquisition or creation of new collections for new or existing museums;
  • Creation of replicas or re-creation of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
  • Relocation of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation effort;
  • Remove of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the county for any reason;
  • Cash reserves, endowments or revolving funds – funds must be expected within the award period and may not be used to create an endowment or revolving fund or otherwise spent over many years;
  • Costs of fund-raising campaigns for preservation;
  • Costs for administrative time or materials not directly related to performing project work;
  • Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award;
  • Contingency or miscellaneous fees;
  • Administrative staff or administrative fees greater than 5% of the overall project costs;
  • International travel, except in cases where travel for outside specialists is justifiable and integral to the success of the proposed project (international travel will be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • Awards to individuals;

Proposal Requirements:

All project proposals must include or address the following:

  1. Purpose and summary
  2. Description
  3. Time frame
  4. Statement of significance
  5. Statement of urgency
  6. Statement of sustainability
  7. Rationale for U.S. support
  8. Detailed description of direct and indirect beneficiaries: number, gender, age, location
  9. Detailed project budget – itemized, “no miscellaneous,” add cost-share of other donors (quantify in-kind contributions if not cash contribution)
  10. Recipient information
  11. Resumes of the project coordinator and professional staff
  12. Official permission to undertake the project
  13. Other funding sources (if any)
  14. At least three digital images (JPEGS) or audiovisual files of the site, object, or form of expression to be addressed in the proposed project.

Who Can Apply:

Project proposals will be accepted from among the following:

  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Museums
  • Government Ministries of Culture or similar institutions

Application Deadline:

Small grants between US $10,000 and US $200,000
Large grants between US $200,000 and US $800,000

Review and Selection Process

The U.S. Embassy in Namibia will conduct a preliminary review all submitted project proposals and vet all prospective recipients for suitability and reputable performance in cultural preservation or similar activities and submit them to the Department of State for further and final review.

The Cultural Heritage Center in Washington will administer the proposal review and selection process. Awards will be announced as soon as possible through the U.S. Embassy in Namibia.

Reporting requirements

All awards recipients must submit progress and final reports as specified in the award documents.