The Grant Cycle
Denial letters are sent first, before approval letters, in case an applicant presents a legitimate case for reconsideration and the LCC reverses its decision to grant them funds.
Approval letters cannot be sent until the 15-day reconsideration period has passed and the LCC has submitted their annual reporting to Mass Cultural Council.
Following the grant cycle voting meeting, LCCs must notify denied applicants of their decision in writing; the denial letter can be sent via email or hard copy. In the case that an email denial notification is undeliverable, LCCs must follow up by sending a hard copy.
Denial letters must provide applicants with clear reasons based on published state guidelines or council priorities as well as include information on the reconsideration process. “Insufficient funds” does not provide applicants with adequate rationale for disapproval.
Getting unclear or confusing information in a disapproval letter can be very discouraging for applicants. A discouraging experience can prevent an otherwise promising applicant from applying in the future. A sample letter listing the most common reasons for denial can be adapted to give feedback to applicants.
Because these are public dollars, denied applicants are entitled to request reconsideration if they believe the LCC did not follow published state guidelines and/or council priorities.
After sending out denial letters, LCCs must allow for a 15-day reconsideration period before notifying approved applicants. This waiting period is necessary because a request for reconsideration can result in a change in the amount of funding approved grants receive.
An applicant may request reconsideration of an LCC decision on their application if the applicant can demonstrate that the LCC failed to follow published state guidelines and local priorities. Dissatisfaction with the denial of an application or with the amount of an award does not constitute grounds for reconsideration.
Reconsideration requests must be made in writing, via either email or hard copy, and sent to Mass Cultural Council at our mailing address, or at firstname.lastname@example.org within 15 days of the notification date on the disapproval notification (postmarked date on envelope or timestamp on email). The applicant should also send a copy of the request to the LCC.
The request should include:
- The LCC’s disapproval letter to the applicant.
- The applicant’s reason for requesting reconsideration stating how the LCC failed to follow published state guidelines or council priorities.
Mass Cultural Council will determine if the applicant has grounds for reconsideration and will notify both the applicant and LCC of its decision.
If Mass Cultural Council determines that the applicant has grounds for reconsideration, the LCC must convene a quorum of members and review the application, as if for the first time. Following all published state guidelines and council priorities, the LCC must decide whether to approve or deny the grant request and must notify the applicant of the final determination in writing, via email or hard copy. If an email disapproval notification is undeliverable, LCCs should follow up by sending a hard copy.
LCCs notify funded applicants by sending approval letters via email or postal mail. Application decisions must be sent in writing. If an email approval notification is undeliverable, LCCs should follow up by sending postal mail.
Partial vs. Full Funding
Many LCCs receive an abundance of good proposals and try to fund as many as possible by awarding a portion of the original request. Although this is a reasonable way to spread limited funds, there is a danger in making the award so small that the project cannot go forward at all. This results in the LCC repeating their efforts to reallocate the unspent funds in the next cycle and also discourages those applicants from applying again. For this reason, the LCC application form specifically asks applicants to address how they will adjust the project if the LCC cannot fund the entire amount requested. Some LCCs call the applicant to discuss the feasibility of supporting the proposal with a partial award and request a modified budget.
Conditional approvals can allow an LCC to extend the impact of its funding to focus on community needs that are otherwise not being addressed. LCCs must communicate any/all conditions to the applicant in writing and note them in the minutes for voting meeting. The applicant has the right to refuse the condition and forfeit the grant.
Approval Package Contents
You can modify our approval letter template to suit your LCC’s needs. Some LCCs include a calendar of all grantee events or other supplemental material.
Be sure to include:
- Any conditions on the approval.
- Date by which the LCC expects the project to happen.
Credit and Publicity Requirements
Grantees must acknowledge the financial support of the specific Local Cultural Council who granted them funds and Mass Cultural Council. Grant recipients are vital partners in raising the visibility of the role these funds play in the lives the cultural organizations, audiences, and communities across the Commonwealth. For more information about acknowledgement requirements for grantees, please review the credit and publicity kit. There’s also a grantee Credit & Publicity enclosure template.
Be sure to include:
- Any additional publicity requirements your LCC has.
Reimbursement & Direct Grants
Grant recipients do not automatically receive payment if an LCC approves their grant request. The LCC Program is reimbursement-based; recipients need to spend the money and then be reimbursed from LCC funds. Beginning once the LCC completes their reporting to Mass Cultural Council (November – January) and continuing throughout the year, grant recipients can submit their reimbursement requests. To avoid complications, LCCs should specify exactly what kind of documentation a grantee needs to provide to be reimbursed in the approval letter. LCCs should also check with their town/city to see if they have specific requirements.
Be sure to include:
- Documentation needed to receive payment.
- Any additional forms the municipality may require.
Documents of note:
- Reimbursement Form (PDF)
Procedure for Requesting Grant Modifications and/or Extensions
If your LCC has specific protocols for grant modification/extension requests, these policies must be posted on your council profile by September 1. Clearly state your policies so applicants can understand their options.
Be sure to include:
- The procedure for requesting a project extension or modification.
When a modification request is made to an LCC, they must convene a quorum of LCC members and vote. Project modifications must be requested in writing, via email or hard copy. The modification should not significantly alter the original purpose of the approved application. The LCC must inform the applicant of their decision in writing and ensure that the vote is reflected in the meeting minutes.
Grant recipients have one calendar year from the date of their approval letter to request a reimbursement. LCCs can, at their discretion, approve reasonable extensions for projects. An extension should be requested in writing. The LCC must convene a quorum of members to discuss and vote on the request. The LCC must inform the applicant of their decision in writing (hard copy or email) and ensure that the vote is reflected in the meeting minutes.
Mailing and Printing Costs
Costs incurred for printing and mailing throughout the grant cycle can be reimbursed as administrative expenses; LCC members can submit a reimbursement form to the town accountant with proof of expenditures. Each municipality may have additional requirements.