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Is there an information session about the program?
Yes. Watch the recording.

What is in the application?
Download a sample application (PDF).

What do you mean by “arts, humanities, and sciences”?
Arts: The creation of work in the crafts, performing, visual, media, folk, design, literary, and interdisciplinary arts.

Humanities: Types of learning that deal with human values and aspirations, human thought and culture, language, and creativity. Examples include, but are not limited to, history, social studies, philosophy, criticism, and literature.

Sciences: Types of learning that deal with nature, science, and technology in ways that explain how they relate to people’s lives. Some examples of organizations that conduct interpretive science activities are aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, and science and technology centers.

Can I use the same login username/password as last year?
In the new grants management system your email is your username. If you applied in the past, you may have a record in the new system. If you do have a record already in the new system, you will just need to set a new password.

What should I know about filling out a new user profile?

  1. Check to see if you already have a user profile in the grants management system. We moved many user profiles over from our previous system, so before registering, check to see if you are in the system already:
    • Go to our new grants management system.
    • Click “Forgot Password”.
    • Once you submit your email address, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
    • Copy the password to use on the login page, you will then be prompted to create a new password.
  1. If you do not have a user profile already, complete a registration in the grants management system.
    • Go to our new grants management system.
    • Click “Register”.
    • Click “Organization”.
    • Look up your organization/town/group in the search field and select it if you find it. If it is not there you will be able to add it manually.
    • Once you submit your registration, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
    • Copy the password to use on the login page. You will then be prompted to create a new password.

How do I register as an Organization and what does that mean?
As an individual, you can serve as a contact person for an Organization. To do this, when you register you will register as an Organization. Once you are connected to that organization, you are using the system on behalf of the organization and any application you submit is for funding for the organization you are connected to. Whether you are registering on behalf of a school, cultural organization, non-profit, city or town, or unincorporated group, you will register as an Organization.

Can I apply for a festival grant as an individual?
No, individuals cannot receive a festival grant, only the following entities are eligible:

  • A Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in good standing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts municipal entities such as Local Cultural Councils, public libraries, recreational departments, etc.
  • Applicants using a fiscal agent: Massachusetts based unincorporated group/association with a non-profit objective, or a Massachusetts based corporation in the process of obtaining a 501(c)3 designation. Fiscal agents can either be municipal entities or non-profit entities incorporated in Massachusetts or registered as a foreign corporation doing business in Massachusetts.

I’ve forgotten my username and/or password. How do I find out what it is?
If you forget your username and password, from the grants management landing page, click “Forgot Password” and follow the instructions.

What should I know about filling out the narrative questions?
Look at the sample application (PDF) for the questions and character limits – which include spaces.

We recommend that you develop your narrative in word processing software and then copy and paste it in the appropriate narrative boxes once the online application opens.

After you’ve entered the text, be sure to click “Application Summary” at the top of the form to make sure your narrative looks the way you want it to and is complete.

Can I make changes to my application?
You can make changes to your application any time up until you hit “Submit.” After you hit “Submit”, but before the application deadline, you can email Lisa Simmons to ask her to re-open your application for you. After the deadline has passed you cannot make any changes to your application.

Is there an application deadline?
Yes, it is March 1, 2022 at 11:59pm (ET).

How large a grant can we receive?
All grants for this year are $1,500.

Do we need to come up with a match?
No. There is no match required for this grant.

Do I need a fiscal agent to apply?
Only if you are an unincorporated organization. You will need to apply for the grant through a fiscal agent. The funds would go directly to your fiscal agent and then be disbursed from that organization.

Non-profit 501c3 organizations and municipal entities do not need a fiscal agent and grant payments can only be made to the applicant, not a third-party entity.

What are considered General Operating Expenses?
General operating support is anything related to the operations of your organization – i.e. payroll, rent, insurance, cost of development materials and mailings, etc. Your request should be focused on all the costs associated with holding an In-Person or Online Festival OR for a specific Festival Audience Development and Engagement activities.  If you are not holding an In-Person or Online Festival, or you do not have a specific Festival Audience Development and Engagement activities taking place, you cannot request a grant for general, organizational operating costs.

What can we include in our request and spend grant funds on?
Festival grant funding must be used for costs specific to the implementation of the proposed festival or the proposed audience development and engagement activities and incurred during the funding period. You can include administrative, staff, and overhead costs related to these activities. Review the guidelines for a list of examples of eligible expensesThe following expenses are not allowed are:

  • Food and beverages, including alcohol.
  • Non-arts and cultural festival components (such as rides, games, booths, fireworks)

Are we eligible to apply if we have submitted an application for 501c3 status but have not yet received a number /certificate?
Yes, your entity would fall under Unincorporated with non-profit objective and are surely eligible to apply.

Can you sign up for both a festival and apply for grants from Local Cultural Councils?
Yes, you can apply for a grant for your festival from the Mass Cultural Council and from your Local Cultural Council.

Can you apply for a festivals grant and a project grant if your events are different?
Yes, you can apply to both programs as long as these events and projects are different.

If we are presenting at a festival hosted by another org, but we are paying our own performers, would we be eligible?
We would suggest that the organization producing the festival applies or you as a performer, apply to the Local Cultural Council grant program.

I understand that the festival needs to be open to the public. Does it also need to be free to attendees?
There should be at least one aspect of the event that is free to the public.

Can a festival be hybrid? Part of it in person and part virtual?
Yes, you can apply for a hybrid festival (in-person and virtual).

If your organization receives a Festival grant for the Fall/Winter does that impact your eligibility to receive a Spring/Summer Festival grant?
Organizations can apply once for each cycle.

What are examples of creative approaches to programming?

What do you mean by audience development?
Audience development is the process of reaching new audiences and deepening connections with existing ones. It involves finding ways to understand audience behavior (data collection processes), coming up with new ways to promote your program to newly identified audiences, and moving one-time audiences to repeat and engaged audience members. Understanding who is not coming to your festival and developing a plan to reach those audiences.

What do you mean by audience engagement?
Audience engagement is an important measure of how effectively your content (festival) attracts your audience. It is a way for you to understand the interest and involvement of audiences and can help you determine what parts of your festival audiences are most engaged. Audience engagement can be measured in many different ways from surveys, to focus groups, to exit polls, website analytics, with the goal of creating meaningful interactions with your audiences.

What are some examples of audience engagement programs?
Here are few examples of Boston Book Festival’s audience engagement programs that looked at in-person interaction and/or connections to current events:

  • One City One Story – 20,000 copies of a specially commissioned story are handed out for free in locations throughout Boston. At the festival there is a culminating session with the Once City One Story author.
  • BBF Book Hunt – Packages containing a book by festival author and a letter about the author’s session at the festival are hidden all over the city. BBF encourages people to find them and post a photo on social media.
  • At Home Boston – At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown BBF solicited micro-essays (200 words or less) from people in Greater Boston about what they were experiencing; topics shifted as the months passed. These essays were posted on social media and the BBF website and a few were published by the Boston Globe. They will be archived as part of a national project with Northeastern University.

How soon will we hear whether we will receive a grant?
You will receive an email from the grants management system a month after the deadline informing you of the outcome of your application.

If you are awarded a grant, you will receive instructions on how to complete a contract with the Mass Cultural Council. You must return your contract within 30 days of receiving it (or no later than December 30, 2021).

We submitted our contract but have not yet received our payment. Where is the money?
Your grant funds will be electronically transferred within 45 days after we receive your completed contract. The funds will be sent electronically as a direct deposit to the entity listed on your application to receive funds.

Do we have to complete a Final Report? When is it due?
Yes, every grantee must complete the online Final Report on the grant activities and expenditures.

The report is due within 30 days after the completion of the festival or no later than June 24, 2022.

Festivals that fail to submit a Final Report will not be eligible to apply for another Mass Cultural Council grant in a future year until the report has been completed.

Where do I find the Final Report?
The Final Report is accessible from the same site as the application.

Who can I contact for more information?
Please contact Lisa Simmons, Program Manager, at 617-858-2707.

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