Card to Culture
Card to Culture makes cultural programming accessible to low-income and working families for whom cost is a barrier to participation.
Organizations that run cultural programming can apply to participate by following the instructions below. Individual EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare cardholders do not need to apply to participate. They are eligible to receive discounts (as listed in the agency partners’ web sites) when they visit a participating organization.
How to Apply
Read the program guidelines (below).
Set up a user account and profile in the grants management system (See details under “Grants Management System” below.)
Complete the online registration form. (Once logged in to the grants management system, click “Current Opportunities” and then “Apply Now” under “Card to Culture”.)
Submit an online application. Organizations may apply to participate in Card to Culture at any time; however, our agency partners update their web sites quarterly.
Questions? Contact Greg Torrales at 617-858-2722.
Card to Culture organizations offer free or steeply discounted access to Massachusetts-issued EBT, WIC, and/or ConnectorCare health insurance cardholders and can:
- Set their own discount amount (if any) and the number of people allowed per card or household for each discount.
- Limit the number of spots available for discounted access if there is limited capacity for a class, performance, event, etc.
- Establish the processes, policies, and protocols for administering their discount.
- Choose which cards to accept.
- Visitors use these cards to identify their discount eligibility only; the cards cannot be used for payment.
To be listed, organizations must have some cultural connection to the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences within their programs. However, we use these terms broadly and welcome all applicants to apply if their access goals align with the program.
Proposed discounts must provide free or steeply discounted access to active and consistent programs in their entirety using accessible and equitable practices.
- Steep Discounts provide free access or at least a 50% discount to an organization’s active/consistent programs.
- Organizations that run free programs can participate only if all their programming is entirely free and publicly available. Otherwise, they would need to offer a discount.
- Active Programs incorporate some level of activity. An outdoor mural/statue in a public space void of an engagement component (e.g., Artist Talk, etc.) would be ineligible since it is passive and static on its own.
- Consistent Programs have set or planned scheduling (e.g., weekly, monthly, annually, etc.), or other continuity. Ad hoc programs (i.e., programs that will run “if funding allows”) are excluded.
- Entirety means every performance or event within your series or seasonal program or every class or workshop within your curriculum or semester.
- Exceptions can include fundraisers, non-self-presented works, and events put on by performing groups that rent your venue.
- Accessible and Equitable Practices include processes, policies, and protocols for how an organization administers its Card to Culture discount. Examples include:
- Discount Availability: If organizations allow other discounted patrons to buy tickets once they are available for purchase, they cannot limit Card to Culture patrons to buying tickets at the door on the day of an event.
- Cardholder Present: Organizations cannot require that the person named on the accepted card be present.
- Photo ID: Organizations cannot ask Card to Culture patrons to see a photo ID in addition to their EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare card.
- Payment Methods: If organizations allow other discounted patrons to purchase tickets via cash or credit card, they cannot require Card to Culture patrons to pay by cash only.
- Online Discount Codes: If other discounted patrons (e.g., students, seniors, etc.) can purchase tickets using online discount codes, Card to Culture patrons should also be able to purchase their discounted tickets online.
- Discount Clarity: Any instructions patrons must follow to receive an organization’s Card to Culture discount must be clearly stated on their website, including any limitations or restrictions (e.g., a capacity on the # of tickets that can be purchased, first-come/first-serve, etc.).
Check out the Create Welcoming, Inclusive Spaces blog post for additional best practices and our Resources for Organizations for specific logistical details to consider when setting your discount(s) and associated policies and protocols.
Organizations that apply to participate in Card to Culture consent to the following:
- Duration: Honor your offered discount(s) from the time of sign-up through the end of the calendar year.
- Organizations do not need to reapply each year. Instead, their applications are automatically renewed unless they respond to the opt-out notification typically sent in late December.
- Listing(s): Have your discount(s) and visitation information listed on our agency partners’ websites and applicable promotional materials.
- Website: Publish your discount offer and any instructions patrons must follow to receive it. Reference and link to the Card to Culture program, its agency partners, and the complete lists of participating organizations.
- Please note that “approved” applicants must fulfill the website requirement before they can be added to the list of participating organizations. Applications will be considered withdrawn if this step is not completed within 30 days of applying and no communication has been made.
- Staff Training: Train box office or admissions staff ahead of implementing your Card to Culture discount(s) to make the overall patron experience as smooth and welcoming as possible.
- Final Report: Keep track of the total number of discounts you applied separately by each card type you accept, and report that data to the Mass Cultural Council annually (generally due in January or February for the previous year).
- Failure to submit final reports can result in being removed from the list(s) of participating organizations.
Grants Management System
Organizations should submit their applications through the online system.
- Check to see if you already have a user profile in the grants management system:
- Go to the online application.
- 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.
- If you do not already have a user profile, complete a registration in the grants management system:
- Register as an Organization. You will select your organization using a search field or add it if it is not listed. The organization is the applicant, and you are the primary contact for the application.