Power of Culture Blog
Mass Cultural Council is prioritizing five action items to help the cultural sector manage financial disruption associated with Coronavirus.
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Creating ‘Safe Harbor’ for Massachusetts Cultural Nonprofits
In rapid succession over the last few weeks, the Federal Government passed and signed into law two far-reaching pieces of legislation designed to provide relief to the American people and businesses – including nonprofits.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new workplace obligations for employers and expanded support for individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) authorized more than $2 trillion in spending to inject cash into the economy, businesses, and nonprofits.
With these two new laws in place, Mass Cultural Council is providing a 3-pronged package of support for our cultural nonprofit sector to not only understand and access assistance offered through these new Federal Acts, but to also deliver broad and high-touch capacity building services to help organizations in understanding their current financial challenges and crafting a strategy forward.
Note: Fully launching the Safe Harbors Program requires the pending approval of our governing Council, which is scheduled to meet on April 7, 2020. If approved, application information will be available shortly thereafter.
The Safe Harbors Program seeks to provide broad assistance to Massachusetts arts and cultural nonprofit organizations in the form of webinars and online tools, empowering leaders to assess their organization’s current financial situation, create an actionable roadmap for the future, and determine their eligibility and the appropriateness for accessing resources through various COVID-19 funds. To deliver on this work, we are partnering with the Nonprofit Finance Fund to provide a powerful assortment of webinars and online resources, coupled with capacity-building coaching services, to assist leaders in preparing plans and making decisions.
A financial supplement to operating support grants will be paid to existing Mass Cultural Council CIP Portfolio and Gateway grantees.
The Safe Harbors Webinar Instructional Series, an expansion of the Capacity Accelerator Network, is a series of four individual webinar modules that provide technical training on understanding both the CARES and Family First Acts, using data for day-to-day management, and tools for strategic decision-making in the wake of closures, programming suspensions, and mounting debt/significant liabilities. Each webinar module includes take-home tools that participants can use to help apply concepts to their daily operations, and are designed for specific audiences, including organizations with or without paid staff, facilities, and existing debt/significant liabilities.
Module 1: Reviewing Federal Programs and Eligibility
Navigating Policy Change
Module 2: Cash Flow Projections
Assessing Immediate and Forthcoming Cash Needs
Module 3: Scenarios and Budgets
Adjusting the Operating Plan
Module 4: Decision Making Amid Crisis
Pulling It All Together
In addition to The Safe Harbors Webinar Instructional Series, we are proud to offer a series of capacity building coaching services for our CIP Portfolio and Gateway grantees. This work supports organizations by:
In a group or individual setting, organizations will have direct access to a Nonprofit Finance Fund advisor, helping nonprofit leaders who are at critical decision points. These advisors will help organizations develop financial strategies to support programmatic goals, craft financial narratives to support conversations with key stakeholders, ask relevant and timely questions to arrive at critical decisions, set short- and long-term goals, and create consensus among senior leadership, board members, and staff.