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Lowell Folk Festival

The Grant Cycle

Online Grants Management System

What LCCs Need to Know

As Mass Cultural Council prepares for the FY22 grant cycle here are some things to note:

LCC members can now access the new system – we’ve already created an account for you. Here’s how to access it:

  1. Go to https://massculturalcouncil.smartsimple.com/
  2. Click “Forgot Password”
  3. Once you enter your email address, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
  4. Copy the password to use on the log in page, you will then be prompted to create a new password.

There is also a visual LCC Member login instruction sheet available.
Trouble logging in? Contact Mass Cultural Council staff.

Remember, only one LCC member is required to login to the grants management system on behalf of the council, but all members are welcome to login if they choose.

By August 31, LCCs need to have updated their Local Guidelines and Priorities in the grants management system. Here’s how:

  1. Login at https://massculturalcouncil.smartsimple.com/
  2. Click on “Update Local Guidelines and Priorities”
  3. Click on the “Open” button.
  4. Complete both the “Council Profile” and “LCC Cycle” sections and click “Submit”.

FY22 LCC Program guidelines (and Direct Grant guidelines) are available.

Recorded Webinars about the FY22 Grant Cycle

An overview of the new grants management system:

 

A walk-through of FY22 LCC Program Guidelines and Council Priorities, including Q&A:

 

Overview of the new LCC Annual Reporting Process:

Online Applications

In early September, applicants to the LCC Program will use a new grants management system to complete their online application. (There will be few changes from the FY21 application.)

A walk-through of the online application for LCC applicants:

 

More details on navigating the new grants management system were shared with applicants in mid-October.

The rest of the grant cycle timeline for applicants looks like this:

  • Applicants complete their forms online and upload any required supplemental materials by the application deadline on November 1 at 11:59pm (ET).
  • In early September, LCCs can log-in to the online application system to monitor, print, and download submitted applications.
  • Between November 1 and December 30, LCCs hold grant cycle voting meetings.
  • By January 18, LCCs complete the annual reporting. Once the report is submitted, LCCs may send approval letters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my LCC accept paper applications in addition to online applications?
No. For FY22 and going forward, LCCs will not be able to accept paper applications. Applicants should contact their LCC if they are not able to use or  access to the online grants management system.

Can an applicant now apply to all 329 LCCs at once?
No. An applicant may submit to only one LCC at a time. They are welcome to apply to multiple LCCs but will need to start a new application for each LCC they apply to.

How will we receive the applications that have been submitted online to my LCC?
After the application deadline, online submissions to your LCC will be collated by the grants management system for each LCC and delivered in the form of a PDF panel book by Mass Cultural Council’s Communities Team.

Our council priorities require a letter from the venue or other additional support materials as part of the application process. How will we get these materials from the applicant?
As in the past, applicants must read the LCC’s priorities to determine if any additional support materials are required. If an LCC requires support materials, such as an artist resume, a flyer for the project, or a support letter, the applicant will be instructed to convert the document to a PDF and upload it as part of the online application. These materials will be collated with the application and included in the panel book that is delivered to the LCC.

How will we receive and review the PDF panel book?
Mass Cultural Council will notify LCC members when their panel book is ready. Then, it will be available for download so it can be viewed electronically or printed and reviewed as a hard copy.

I prefer to read from a paper application or have a paper copy of each application in front of me during the voting meeting. Can I still do this?
That’s fine. If you’d like to print the applications from the PDF panel book your LCC receives, remember that you can set aside up to 5% of your allocation for administrative funds, which can be used for this purpose.

Can we work with applicants once we see the panel book to ask questions and get additional information?
Yes, as always, LCCs can decide if they would like to do any follow up to applicants after receiving their application. Since LCCs will be receiving their panel book by November 1, follow up with applicants would need to take place prior to the LCC’s voting meeting. If an LCC chooses to reach out to an applicant, be sure to offer all applicants the same courtesy.

My LCC prepares a spreadsheet of the applications to bring to our voting meeting. Will we still be able to do this?
Yes. you can export all of that information into an Excel spreadsheet and customize it to your liking.

Now that the applications are online, will we be able to discuss them online or vote online too?
No. Under Massachusetts law, Local Cultural Councils must adhere to Open Meeting Law as they are government bodies.

We currently assign a unique identifier to each application to make it easier to review. Will this be possible in the new process?
Yes, but it will be automatically generated by the online application system. All applications submitted online will have an application number. This will appear in the panel book as well as in the annual reporting.

Will I be able to easily export applicant information into an Excel document that will help facilitate creating the approval and denial letters?
Yes. Currently, you can export applicant name and address information into an Excel spreadsheet from the grants management system. Using this spreadsheet, the LCC can create a mail merge Word document to use for approval and denial letters.

Will the reimbursement process be moving online as well?
No. The reimbursement process will stay the same as it has in the past and will not move online this year.

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