Power of Culture Blog
A monthly round-up of grants, technical assistance resources, and opportunities for creative and cultural organizations
Cultural Facilities Fund supports capital and planning projects for cultural institutions
Today MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council announced a total of over $13 million in awards to 115 recipients through the FY22 Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) grant round. The CFF, which is jointly administered by the two agencies, was established to support investments in cultural facilities and projects throughout the Commonwealth with capital and planning grants for nonprofit organizations, colleges, and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.
“Today’s investments will support our partners in the cultural sector as they build and maintain facilities such as museums, theaters, historic buildings, and more,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “These kinds of attractions foster community, build our creative economy, and bring vibrancy and visitors to Massachusetts. MassDevelopment is proud to co-administer the Cultural Facilities Fund together with the Mass Cultural Council, and we’re grateful for the continued support of the Baker-Polito Administration and Legislature that allows us to invest in our cultural institutions as a critical piece of our state’s economy.”
There are three types of grants available through the CFF:
In FY22, the Cultural Facilities Fund is awarding 94 Capital Grants totaling $12,758,000, 12 Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants totaling $322,500, and 9 Systems Replacement Grants totaling $71,000.
A complete funding list with project descriptions for FY22 CFF grant recipients is available online. Examples of newly funded capital projects include:
Azorean Maritime Heritage Society, New Bedford – $200,000
Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, Florence – $162,000
Cultural Alliance of Medfield – $200,000
Immigrant City Archives, Lawrence – $105,000
While the CFF is primarily funded each year through the Governor’s Capital Spending Plan, in FY22 Mass Cultural Council increased the amount of grant assistance available by transferring $5,180,000 from cultural sector pandemic recovery funds to the program*. This transfer was made possible due to legislative language contained in Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs.
By supplementing available CFF grant funds with cultural sector pandemic monies, MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council were able to fund nearly all eligible applications in this FY22 grant round.
“Over the past year and a half, I have met with leaders of arts organizations in every region of the Commonwealth, and no matter where they are located, I have learned that our cultural facilities are in great need of capital investment and repair,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “I am thrilled to celebrate today’s CFF recipients and am incredibly grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and the state Legislature for their steadfast support of this vital program. We would not have been able to invest in this many eligible recipients today if it were not for funding received from our partners in the State House.”
Of the 115 FY22 CFF grantees, 21 (18%) are first-time CFF grant recipients, while 10 (9%) are first-time Capital Grant recipients. Supporting these 31 organizations helped Mass Cultural Council advance its goal of promoting inclusion and equity in grant making and programmatic opportunities, as outlined in the Agency’s Racial Equity Plan.
About the CFF
The CFF was created by an act of the Legislature in 2006 to achieve the following goals:
Since 2007 the CFF has awarded $152,713,146 to 1,289 projects across the Commonwealth, employing more than 33,410 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. The nonprofit organizations engaged in this work since the inception of the program project adding 2,809 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: prior to the COVID-19 pandemic more than six million people visited these sites, one-third from out of state. The CFF has also spurred private investment, leveraging about $2.5 billion in spending from the funded projects. Finally, CFF grants contribute to cultural preservation by helping to restore and expand many of our nation’s most treasured historical landmarks.
On May 5, the Baker-Polito Administration released its FY23 Capital Spending Plan, which includes $10 million for a CFF grant round in the coming fiscal year. It is anticipated that the FY23 CFF grant round will launch this fall.
*The total amount of cultural sector pandemic recovery funds Mass Cultural Council transferred to the Cultural Facilities Fund is $5,568,500. Of this amount, $5,180,000 was used to support FY22 CFF grant awards, the remainder covered allowable administrative expenses associated with running the program.