Power of Culture Blog
A monthly round-up of grants, technical assistance resources, and opportunities for creative and cultural organizations
2020 Cultural Facilities Fund Awards Announced by Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment
Today the MassDevelopment Board of Directors approved $9,302,400 in new grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), 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.
“We are pleased to once again partner with Mass Cultural Council to award more than $9 million in grants to build, repair, or expand cultural facilities across the Commonwealth,” said MassDevelopment President & CEO Lauren Liss. “These museums, performance venues, and other cultural institutions represent an important piece of Massachusetts’ economy, so we thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for supporting these critical investments.”
“I would like to thank the Governor and Legislature for their continued support of this important program. These grants will boost jobs in the construction industry at a critical time of increased unemployment, while investing in the cultural sector which is critical to the vitality of Main Street businesses,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council.
The 2020 CFF grant round includes 68 capital grants totaling $8,748,000 and another 32 planning grants totaling $554,400. Awards range from $7,000 to $200,000 and must be matched one-to-one from private and/or other public sources. Investments made in this grant round include:
The CFF was created by an act of the Legislature in 2006 to achieve the following goals:
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 $2.8 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.
MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council jointly administer the CFF, and an Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor provides oversight to its operation. The program is funded through $10 million from the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 capital spending plan, authorized by the state Legislature and allocated by the Governor.
Moving forward the CFF is viewed as an important economic revitalization tool for the cultural sector. Cultural organizations have been financially devastated by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19, reporting more than a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue loss and thousands of jobs impacted.
“As Massachusetts moves to reopen and loosen social distancing measures, the cultural sector will require technical assistance from experts to understand public expectations and ensure health and safety during group events, as well as capital assistance to invest in the facilities, retrofit equipment, and allow responsible reopening to proceed,” said Anita Walker. “Massachusetts is fortunate to have the CFF as an existing tool for our post-COVID reopening strategy and plans.”
About Mass Cultural Council
Mass Cultural Council is a 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.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.
Mass Culture Council Contact: Bethann Steiner 617-791-5847
MassDevelopment Contact: Kelsey Schiller 617-694-9695