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Local Cultural Councils Award 5,900 Grants for Community-Based Projects

Lisa Simmons, Program Manager

Storyteller Diane Edgecomb performing at Hardwick-New Braintree Cultural Council’s program for children and families in June 2021.

The largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, the Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program enriches the cultural life of all cities and towns in Massachusetts. Mass Cultural Council awarded $4.35M in FY21 to its 329 LCCs to regrant locally. LCCs approved 5,900 grants this year for community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences, including everything from murals to lectures, festivals, and performances.

Because the FY21 grant cycle took place amidst the pandemic, the LCC Program deadline was extended to allow applicants more time to assess their needs and apply for funds. The deadline extension also gave LCCs the opportunity to prepare for application review under new guidelines and municipal protocols put into place due to COVID-19.

The LCCs weathered the storm and came together to complete their grant cycle and award 5,900 grants totaling $5.9M – $4.35M from Mass Cultural Council allocations and $1.55M from monies raised locally. Through their efforts, new, local cultural programming will once again be available to every city and town in the Commonwealth.

We are grateful to our 2,500 LCC members, who on a volunteer basis, faced the challenges of 2020-21 head-on and were responsive to the needs of their cultural communities during a difficult time.

A few examples of how LCCs responded to the FY21 grant cycle and COVID-19:

  • Mass Cultural Council’s Communities Initiative team members worked closely with LCCs to prepare and execute the new guidelines and grant cycle shift in timing. New guidelines provided a road map for LCCs to hold grant meetings and distribute their allocations safely.
  • Some LCCs took on Council Programs to provide new cultural offerings they felt were needed in their communities. Others created artist relief funds.
  • LCCs granted extensions and modifications on FY20 projects so that grantees would be able to complete their programs when it was safe to do so.

During this time of uncertainty, the LCC network worked to provide the best possible solutions to their grantees. And those grant recipients have shown creativity and thoughtfulness in responding to this year’s challenges.

Follow our Community Initiative Facebook page to see these incredibly inspiring #MACommunityStories.

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