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New Round of Cultural Facilities Fund Grants Available

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Program administered by Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment supports capital projects within the cultural sector

House of Seven Gables Settlement Association

The MassDevelopment Board of Directors has approved the launch of the 2021 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) grant round, a state program that provides capital and planning grants to nonprofits, colleges, and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and sciences. CFF awards invest in the acquisition, design, repair, renovation, expansion, and construction of nonprofit and municipal cultural facilities.

“MassDevelopment is pleased to approve the opening of another round of the Cultural Facilities Fund, a critical resource for helping cultural organizations across the Commonwealth build, renovate, and improve their facilities – including through upgrades that address COVID-19-related health and safety infrastructure needs,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We appreciate Mass Cultural Council’s continued partnership in jointly administering the fund over the past 13 years and encourage eligible organizations to apply for funding.”

“The Cultural Facilities Fund is an important economic revitalization tool for Massachusetts’ cultural sector,” said David T. Slatery, Acting Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “Cultural nonprofits have been financially devastated by COVID-related closures and have issued an urgent call for public assistance to get back on their feet. In addition to providing general support for the Commonwealth’s creative infrastructure, CFF awards can also support capital improvements to help organizations safely reengage with the public. This program is an essential investment in the cultural sector and will create and support jobs statewide.”

Applications for the 2021 CFF grant round are due Friday, January 15, 2021 at 11:59pm (ET). Interested parties can read the program guidelines, register to attend an information session on October 21 from 10:30am-12pm, and contact CFF program staff directly.

MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council jointly administer the CFF, and an Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor provides oversight to its operation. The CFF is funded by the Commonwealth’s capital budget. In June, the Baker/Polito Administration continued its investment in the cultural sector by authorizing $10 million for the CFF in the FY21 capital spending plan.

The CFF was created by an act of the Legislature in 2006 to achieve the following goals:

  • Enhance Massachusetts’ creative economy through financing for acquisition, construction, expansion, renovation, and repair of cultural facilities.
  • Increase employment, entrepreneurialism, and tourism in the regions where these facilities are located, especially drawing new visitors from outside the Commonwealth.
  • Stimulate further investment in the arts, heritage, and sciences by preserving cultural resources.

Over 13 years the CFF has awarded $129 million to 1,063 projects across the Commonwealth, employing more than 29,350 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. The nonprofit organizations engaged in this work expect to add 2,500 new permanent jobs after completing their projects.

The CFF’s impact extends beyond the nonprofit cultural sector in ways that benefit Massachusetts’ broader economy. The organizations awarded grants generate millions in annual economic activity through direct spending on everything from supplies to energy and advertising. They are popular tourist destinations: more than six million people visited these sites in the past year, one-third from out of state. The CFF has also spurred private investment, leveraging about $2.3 billion in spending on their building projects. Finally, CFF grants contribute to cultural preservation by helping to restore and expand many of our nation’s most treasured historical landmarks.

About Mass Cultural Council
Mass Cultural Council is an independent state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

About MassDevelopment
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.

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